On 27 February, UNA-UK joined United Nations Associations from across the world at a special summit convened to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the developing humanitarian crisis.
Convened by UNA Poland, representatives from 18 national UN Associations and the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA) came together to discuss how the international community can advocate for peace and support the people of Ukraine. Each UNA delivered remarks, all condemning the Russian invasion and the unacceptable human suffering caused as a result.
Representing UNA-UK, Outreach & Campaigns Coordinator Chris Wallace, reiterated the need for the international community to stand with Ukraine, to pursue an immediate end to this violence and to mobilise a full humanitarian response. While noting that Russia’s actions not only constitute an egregious assault on the innocent citizens of Ukraine, but also on the founding principles of the United Nations, UNA-UK used the opportunity to highlight the role of UN Associations in speaking up for adherence to the principles of the UN Charter, our universal values and the international rules-based order.
The summit concluded with approval of a joint statement, signed by those UN Associations in attendance. UN Associations were unanimous in calling for donations to humanitarian organisations - especially those organisations with a longstanding and embedded presence. UNA-UK is asking our members and supporters to make donations directly the OCHA, IOM, or the UNHCR to demonstrate our solidarity and provide much needed support to those in need.
You can read the full joint statement below:
Joint statement following special United Nations Associations Summit concerning the war in Ukraine
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the utterly unacceptable and inhumane war raged by the leaders of the Russian Federation on Ukraine and its people. This act of aggression is a blatant violation of human rights, international humanitarian law and the United Nations Charter. We echo the words of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: “There is no space for such completely unjustified and unprovoked actions.” We hereby call upon the leaders of the Russian Federation to withdraw troops from Ukrainian territory and restore peace and stability.
We strongly urge the global community to not be overcome by hatred, and we remain convinced that the Russian people want peace. In light of that, we reaffirm that radicalism, violence and aggressive nationalism shall not overshadow the goal of peaceful, as well as respectful coexistence of the whole humanity. De-escalation, diplomacy, and a people-centred peace process are urgently required.
We emphasise the necessity for guaranteeing safe passage and shelter to the victims of the war and urge donating funds to humanitarian organizations, delivering aid to the zones of conflict. We also underline the crucial role of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, International Organisation for Migration and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in particular their field teams. We express our gratitude to the neighbouring countries of Ukraine for receiving civilians fleeing war, and we call on all countries to assist them. We pledge to seek additional funds among our organisations and our members.
In this difficult time, what provides real consolation is the united worldwide response in condemnation of violence and autocracy. It shows that even though one person chose war, the world wants peace.
Photo: A panel view of the attendees of the International Summit of United Nations Associations on the situation in Ukraine. Credit: Chris Wallace via Zoom