War in Ukraine: Statement of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

15/04/2022
Statement
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Aris Messinis / AFP

All wars violate human rights. This is also the case in the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. During wars, States fail to protect their citizens and both international humanitarian law and international human rights law are violated. The crimes perpetrated within the context of the war in Ukraine require a full investigation, including both individual and State responsibility for their commission.

The rule of law should be universally applied, but this has not been the case for all people living in Ukraine. Due to bombings and attacks on civilian populations, as well as summary executions, rape and torture, many have been victims of war crimes and other violations of human rights, including racial discrimination.

In spite of the all-but-disappeared civil society space in Russia and Belarus, and the life-threatening work in Ukraine, frontline civil society organisations are conducting their work bravely as they continue to take on the crises in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. FIDH member organisations – the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine; the Kharkov Human Rights Protection Group and the Human Rights Protection Center in Belarus; and Memorial Human Rights Center, Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial, and the human rights protection organisation Citizens Watch – continue to protect and defend the human dignity as human rights defenders during this crisis.

FIDH cannot be indifferent and stands in solidarity with those who are universally calling for an end to war and for the respect of human rights under challenging conditions everywhere in the world.

Thus, FIDH urges the Government of the Russian Federation to:
- effect an immediate ceasefire and seek peace;
- establish corridors of safe and unobstructed passage and authorise, without restriction, access to independent humanitarian aid and monitoring of human rights, provide humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the conflict and protection to civilians in danger;
- withdraw its troops and the armed groups that it supports from all internationally recognised Ukrainian territory;
- immediately put an end to any violation of international human rights and humanitarian law in Ukraine;
- immediately put an end to harassment, including judicial harassment of journalists and human rights defenders and proceed to the immediate release of those who have been arbitrarily detained;
- realise its duty to guarantee, under all circumstances, the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, such as they are enshrined in international human rights law, and namely in Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

FIDH calls upon the Ukrainian Government to:
- ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and to align its domestic law with international criminal law, by finalizing the procedure to pass Bill No. 1164-IX;
- protect and universally respect international humanitarian and human rights law.

FIDH calls upon all States to:
- apply international human rights law and international humanitarian law under all circumstances;
- facilitate safe and unobstructed passage to destinations within and outside Ukraine and access to international protection for all people fleeing the conflict, without distinction or discrimination based on national or ethnic origin, religion, language, gender or color of skin;
- open investigations with a view to prosecuting perpetrators of international crimes in national courts on the basis of universal jurisdiction – for States that do not have universal jurisdiction, FIDH calls upon them to amend their criminal legislation so that it includes this possibility;
- support both politically and financially, the freedoms and liberties of civil society organizations and human rights defenders in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and in the countries affected by the conflict, to guarantee them access to the resources needed to face the humanitarian emergency, including by circumventing those national administrations, which are responsible for violations, for not working to prevent and punish such violations, or for not managing the crisis.

FIDH calls upon the States parties to the Rome Statute of the International Crime Court to cooperate with the ICC and support it financially for all situations of international crimes, by contributing to its general budget rather than allocating funds for specific situations.

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