Ukraine: a statement of concern, suggested actions toward stable peace, and an appeal to students

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Ukraine: A Statement of Concern, Suggested Actions Toward  Stable Peace, and an Appeal to Students

This statement and appeal from the Teachers Columbia Afghanistan Advocacy Team has been sent to US Congress’ Foreign Affairs Committees, reminding them of the world’s multiple humanitarian crises, and the need to address them from the perspective of our common humanity, valuing equally all members of the human family.

In the hope that this aggression against Ukraine will be recognized as an assault on all humanity, and that the lessons learned from it will help lead us toward the goal of lasting global peace, the statement includes suggested strategies to resist the assault while moving toward the systemic changes needed to achieve the goal.

They appeal to their fellow students to engage with this and all such crises in a similar manner, looking toward a future of peace while advocating for concrete steps to meet the present crises.

We, the TCCU Afghan Advocacy Team, in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, assert that a humanitarian crisis striking one people strikes all people. As we strive to contend with the disasters that decades of war have visited on the people of Afghanistan, we lament the human disasters now suffered in Ukraine and denounce the aggression that impose them.

Pres. Putin’s assault on Ukraine is a crime against humanity and a humanitarian tragedy of enormous proportion. This ruinous and blatant violation of international humanitarian law has thrust conflict and suffering upon the Ukrainian and Russian people, while escalating the potential risk of nuclear devastation for the entire world community.

As a global society, we are closer than ever before. Our interconnectedness, evinced through social media held in the palm of our hands, brings us into each other’s lives in profound and immediate ways. We are with the Ukrainian and Russian people as they endure a fate imposed by a greedy few. We are with the Ukrainian and Russian people as they suffer atrocities for the sake of consolidating power in the hands of a corrupt and sclerotic government.

Putin’s actions have already led to a catastrophic humanitarian emergency in Ukraine and Russia. If the international community allows the present armed conflict to continue, the peace and stability of the world will remain perilously in the balance. With exigent issues such as the climate crisis and extreme poverty threatening our continued existence, the redirection of our energies toward the abatement of a vacuous war, detracts precious time and resources from our collective efforts at building a sustainable future.

For these reasons, we call on the international community to support and intensify peace negotiations and humanitarian aid to use all non-military means possible to bring an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and to hold President Putin – along with other Russian officials who are complicit – criminally responsible for these acts of violence against humanity.

With the purpose of ending the current human suffering in Ukraine and Russia, and with the long-term goals of overcoming climate change, building legal foundations for maintaining just peace, strengthening institutions charged with making the conditions of peace, the abolition of nuclear weapons and bringing an end to all war, we propose and appeal for support for the following:

  1. Widen embargos on Russian oil to weaken the war-making capacity of Russia, and as a step toward abating climate change through development of alternatives to fossil fuels.
  2. Support efforts to establish criminal responsibility under international law; to bring criminal charges of genocide against President Vladimir Putin in the International Criminal Court and charges of aggression against the present Russian state in the International Court of Justice, thus strengthening international law as an instrument of global justice and an alternative to war.
  3. Call upon the US, Russia and all nuclear states to declare “No First Use” as a means to defuse the present nuclear threat and as a step toward the abolition of nuclear weapons, with a call for the ratification of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibitions of Nuclear Weapons by all nuclear states so as to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons.
  4. Call upon the United Nations, under the leadership of the Secretary General to intervene to end the hostilities calling for an immediate cease-fire; to invoke the implementation of the 1962 McCloy-Zorin agreements, committing the US and the then USSR to the achievement of general and complete disarmament under international law; further, to take the relevant steps toward the abolition of war enumerated in the Hague Agenda for Peace and Justice in the 21st Century, adopted by the UN in 1998, such actions intended to restore the world body to the vigorous pursuit of its primary mission “to avoid the scourge of war.”
  5. Convene negotiations between women representing civil society in Russia and Ukraine to develop peace proposals from peoples’ perspectives, providing non-state views for the practical planning of peace; Insist on equal representation of women in formal inter-state negotiations in fulfillment of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security; Recognize the vital roles of women in the present security situation in Ukraine. Such actions are intended to establish gender equality as the norm as a foundation for the achievement and maintenance of a just and stable peace.

We call upon our fellow students and all global citizens to work toward these and other steps to transform threats of nuclear annihilation and world war into an opportunity to initiate processes to save our planet and deliver us from the devastation wrought by war and weaponry. We can no longer allow the anachronistic modes of war and violence to dominate the political landscape for the benefit of a few, inflicting an immense burden upon the many.

In the name of the common humanity we share with all people, we beseech national leaders to use every means open to them, to end the hostilities and to negotiate a just and viable peace. We urge the United Nations to face down current obstacles, taking measures to assure that all relevant charter provisions for peaceful settlements are invoked. We call upon all in global civil society, in fulfillment of our responsibilities as world citizens to support these and other steps toward peace, joining in efforts to relieve the humanitarian crises of Ukraine and Afghanistan and all such crises now endured by millions of our human family.

In solidarity,

Stella Hwang
Ye Huang
Jessica B. Terbrueggen
Betty Reardon

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