March 14, 2022
We stand in solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine and condemn the use of aggression and force by Russian forces against a sovereign and independent nation. Clearly, the U.N. Charter as well as international law was violated, as was Ukraine’s right to self-government. The images and news from Ukraine are horrifying and saddening to us. Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine was unjustified, unprovoked, and unlawful. The Russian people who are able to see the true facts—whatever their prior political allegiances—are not in favor of this war; it is Vladimir Putin who is driving it, and with false propaganda, he is telling the Russian people that Ukraine violently started the conflict.
We understand that political and ideological conflict is an ordinary part of human life. Realizing this, we have formed organizations that promote civic friendship between nations as a way of channeling the negativity of conflict into positive respectful diplomacy that eschews anger and coersion. However, no honest diplomacy is involved in the Russian invasion. Russia is violating universal humanitarian law and human rights standards by invading Ukraine and attacking cities throughout the country. In addition, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a serious threat to global peace, freedom and democracy. As Vladimir Putin continues and accelerates his violations of international peace and law, the international community must respond in a manner commensurate with the gravity of this violation and the urgency of the situation.
Our organizations call on all civil society organizations to strongly condemn the actions of the Russian government and support the sanctions taken by the international community and the measures that will force Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine immediately. Additionally, the international community must create internationally monitored safe zones as soon as possible in Ukraine so that civilians can be protected from Russian military attacks.
Bahman Baktiari, Executive Director