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The Advocates Calls for Cessation of Hostilities, Respect for Human Rights in Ukraine

February 24, 2022

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Press Release:

February 24, 2022 (Minneapolis, MN) The Advocates for Human Rights condemns Russia's attack on Ukraine as a violation of international law and direct harm to untold numbers of people. As UN Secretary-General Guterres states, "The decision of the Russian Federation to recognize the so-called 'independence' of Donetsk and Luhansk regions - and the follow-up - are violations of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations."

The Advocates calls for an immediate stop to the military invasion and until that cessation, respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians and civilian objects-such as homes, businesses, hospitals, and schools-as guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions and its 1977 Protocol I. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet states, "This military action clearly violates international law and puts at risk countless civilian lives. It must be immediately halted. The protection of the civilian population must be a priority." In addition, international human rights law applies at all times, during times of both peace and armed conflict. The Advocates calls for all parties to respect the human rights of all, including the right to life, freedom of movement, freedom from torture, and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention.

The Advocates for Human Rights fears for the safety of our human rights defender colleagues in Ukraine, Russia, and throughout the region. Armed conflict brings human rights violations. Human rights defenders must be free to speak. Civilians must be free from violence. People forced to flee must be given refuge. We are all responsible for creating a world where human rights are a reality, and where all people can live in safety.