One Year On, February 24 Marks the Anniversary of Russia’s War in Ukraine
It has been a year since Russia invaded Ukraine and its war against the Ukrainian people continues. From the beginning, Russia's aggression violated international humanitarian law and human rights standards. We set out to document war crimes. Now we are doing so much more.
Since the war in Ukraine began, The Advocates documented war crimes, crimes against humanity, and human rights abuses committed by Russian forces. As U.S. Vice President Harris stated, "[T]here is no doubt: these are crimes against humanity." Courageous individuals affected by the war have come forward to share their stories with us about what they have seen, heard, or experienced. We have submitted their information to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, detailing violations against civilians to help build the case against Russian perpetrators.
We also heard multiple accounts of abuses committed against persons with disabilities and the unique challenges they face, including disruption of their medications and rehabilitation, forcible transfers of ill or disabled persons to "filtration camps," and their inability to evacuate or seek shelter during bombing. Given the UN's specific attention on persons with disabilities in humanitarian contexts, we shared their firsthand information with the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UN Special Rapporteur on Persons Living with Disabilities.
Our work pales in comparison to the front line human rights defenders in Ukraine. Our longtime partner, Center "Women's Perspectives" in Lviv, serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Since the war began, Center "Women's Perspectives" has expanded its work to serve internally displaced persons and those impacted by the war. Thank you for your commitment, courage, and dedication to human rights.
We will continue this work as long as it is needed, because we know armed conflict brings human rights violations. Human rights defenders and civilians must be free from violence and able to live their lives with dignity and respect. 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.
On the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, The Advocates reiterates its condemnation of the war in Ukraine and calls for its immediate end. Until that cessation, The Advocates urges all parties to respect human rights and 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.