Sonke Gender Justice calls for a political settlement to end Ukraine and Russia conflict

Sonke Gender Justice calls for an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and encourages a peaceful settlement between the two countries.

Russia launched its invasion on Ukraine on 24 February 2022 following the Russian President, Vladimir Putin announcement of “a special military operation” against Ukraine. The decision was based on the recognition of the two breakaway states, Donetsk People’s Republic, and Luhansk People’s Republic by Russia. 

Russia has launched a devasting attack on Ukraine with warplanes bombing major cities. According to the Ukrainian Healthcare ministry, there has been 352 deaths and 14 of them children. Nearly 2 thousand people have also been wounded. Within few days of this invasion of Ukraine, thousands of innocent citizens are fleeing into exile in bordering countries with barely a few essentials that they could manage to carry. 

Sonke is deeply concerned about the innocent human lives affected by the conflict and human suffering this is causing. We call for all human rights to be upheld by all parties and encourages that no effort be spared  to work towards peacebuilding in the region. 

As the founding principles in the United Nations charter state that “the obligation of member countries to obey the Charter, to cooperate with the UN Security Council and to use peaceful means to resolve conflict,” we propose a constructive peace-talks between the two countries. 

We also note with concern the ill-treatment of African nationals in Ukraine seeking to leave the country. African governments have been trying to evacuate their citizens from Ukraine since the Russian invasion last week however it is reported that Africans have been maltreated and racially discriminated by Ukrainian security forces and are being refused to board trains to flee to safety. It is also noted that some border officials in receiving countries are also discriminating against Africans. This is not acceptable and is in contravention of established protocols. 

Sonke urges these governments to allow African nationals to cross borders without restrictions and work with African governments to ensure their safe transfer. 

We call on the UN to redouble their efforts in facilitating a peaceful negotiated settlement and ensure that no more lives are lost needlessly.