On the first anniversary of the Ukraine conflict, ADRA-UK joins with members of the ADRA network to advocate for a peaceful end to the conflict.
"To some men, peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others, peace means the freedom to rob brothers without interruption. To still others, it means the leisure to devour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving. And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetites for comfort and pleasure."
The Bible states, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God" to "seek peace and pursue it" and live "with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."
As the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, through responding to emergencies and implementing development projects, building capacity in local communities, and advocating for the rights of those unable to defend themselves, peace is embedded into our organisational DNA.
On the anniversary of the Ukraine conflict, we join other ADRA European offices with the position statement below:
A CALL FOR PEACE
ADRA's plea to the international community on the anniversary of the Ukraine conflict
Since 24 February, 2022, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has continued to cause severe human suffering – even one year after the initial attack. We condemn the attack in violation of international law. We call for consistent compliance with international law, an immediate end to the war, and an immediate halt to all hostilities, bombings, attacks, and any violence against civilians and civilian infrastructure. All actors must ensure adequate protection for humanitarian personnel at once.
Over the past 12 months, approximately 7,000 civilians have died in Ukraine due to the war of aggression; approximately 8 million people have fled the country, while around 6 million people are internally displaced. In total, about 18 million people in Ukraine need humanitarian assistance. The reports of international organisations demonstrate the multiple violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights in the war zone. Therefore, reliable humanitarian assistance on both sides of the conflict line is impossible.
As of October 2022, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that more than a quarter of people in need of humanitarian assistance live in areas with minimal humanitarian access. Direct or indirect attacks on humanitarian workers have also been documented.
Armed conflict in Eastern and Southern Ukraine remains fierce. Shelling of residential areas continues, and civilians are injured or killed daily. Infrastructure, such as water and energy supply, is also under fire in large parts of the country.
Humanitarian principles and imperative – remembering all people affected by crises worldwide.
Until the conflict comes to a peaceful end, humanitarian assistance will continue to be needed, and access to affected people is key. All humanitarian activities are guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence. On this basis, we affirm the primacy of the humanitarian imperative, which guarantees equal access to aid for people affected by the war. This form of assistance is our duty. Adherence to humanitarian principles, access to occupied and conflict areas, and (safety) guarantees for humanitarian workers are necessary to ensure support towards the people in Ukraine.
We expect compliance with international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles by all parties to the conflict and for the creation of access precisely to people in contested areas on both sides of the frontline.
The conflict has exposed structural inequalities and dependencies in the world. Together with the economic and social consequences of the Corona pandemic and the increasingly obvious consequences of the climate crisis, it is worsening the living conditions of many vulnerable people worldwide. Prices for staple foods, energy and fertilisers have continued to rise since February 2022, and global supply chains have collapsed. International humanitarian law applies in Ukraine and many other tragic situations in our world, dependent and independent of the conflict. We should keep this in mind during this difficult time. Therefore, we call for a moral, humanitarian response in Ukraine and other humanitarian crises worldwide with the same aim: Life, dignity and safety – ensuring support for people on the ground.
As a global, federally organised network, ADRA builds on sustainable partnerships. Our long-term and strategic engagement in Ukraine and worldwide ensures close cooperation with the communities on the ground; therefore, we know and understand the challenges the affected population faces. As our work is rooted in local communities, our network can build responses on these established structures and capacities, as well as staff and volunteers. Despite the systematic destruction of the most important infrastructure in the middle of the cold winter, we drew on this solid point to provide the needed aid. We will continue our work in Ukraine as long as the conflict persists, standing by the side of those affected by the atrocities and loss of armed conflict. But we appeal for more work to be done to achieve peace in this hopeless situation.
As we join with our colleagues across the ADRA network, we encourage you to pray for those affected by the crisis in Ukraine and those affected by the other conflicts around the world.
ADRA-UK works throughout the world, helping the most vulnerable people. If you want to support our work, you can do so on our website, www.adra.org.uk/donate, or through the QR code below: