Let's all unite under the blue and yellow flag
March 17, 2022
We, the undersigned members of the International Coalition for Democratic Renewal, call on Russian authorities to stop their aggression against Ukraine that has been ongoing since February 24, 2022. We demand that the Russian invasion forces cease fire and leave the territory of Ukraine, including the occupied territories of Donbas and Crimea, immediately. Since the beginning of this war, Russia has carried out repeated attacks on civilians and civilian targets, including hospitals and schools, forcing millions of refugees to flee the country. This is morally reprehensible and a flagrant violation of the most fundamental tenets of international law.
We therefore follow up on our previous statement from February 26, 2022, and call for the following:
1. Support EU membership ambitions of Ukraine. Ukraine is Europe. This is a fact that no longer needs to be proven. The European and South Caucasian states that are vitally threatened by Putin's expansionism should be given the prospect of joining entities such as the European Union and NATO, which could prevent further aggressions by Russia.
2. Expel Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council. By using police force against its own population to strip away basic human rights such as freedom of association and assembly or freedom of expression, Russia has bluntly violated the spirit of UN Charter.
3. Any civilian areas must be off limits for military action. Strikes on hospitals, schools and civilian houses, the use of indiscriminate weapons such as ballistic missiles and cluster bombs were documented. These are war crimes and those responsible for them must be brought to justice.
4. Stop financing Putin’s war machine. We call on all democratic states, especially European ones, to stop buying gas and oil from Russia immediately. If this is not immediately possible, we urge the Western governments to at least limit their purchases of Russian energies to an absolute minimum and to expedite the search for alternatives. We ask the government of Germany to stop the gas imports via Nord stream 1. We also emphatically urge all those private companies that are still operating in Russia and in Belarus to promptly initiate their withdrawal from these markets to prevent financing Russian war actions. Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus must be sanctioned as co-aggressor to the same extent as Putin’s.
5. A major emergency funding and post-war reconstruction program for Ukraine needs to be created. Ukrainians are not fighting only for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe. The Russian attack on Ukraine has resulted not only in a growing number of civilian deaths, but also destroyed infrastructure and decimated economy. To avoid Ukraine’s economic collapse, the international community, including the European Union, must urgently provide Ukraine with emergency funding. This must be followed by a massive post-war reconstruction program that will enable Ukraine to join the European family of nations as a strong and prosperous member and allow the smooth return of the Ukrainian refugees to their homeland.
6. We admire the courage of people in Russia and Belarus who protest the aggression and war against Ukraine despite high risks. What really threatens Putin are freedom fighters and the liberal-minded people in his own country. After the independent media in Russia have been forced to limit their activities, new methods need to be found and financed, and existing methods to be augmented, to give the Russian population access to objective information about the war and the Putin regime.
7. Put pressure on China. Bilateral relations between Russia and China are the closest they have been in seven decades. However, at this critical moment, if China sees itself as a responsible part of the global rules-based order and an economic partner of Western countries, it needs to refrain from supporting Russia’s bloody aggression against Ukraine and it should join the international community in its efforts to stop it.
8. We commend Ukraine for not allowing its defence to be driven by hatred. Despite the horrendous tactics of the Russian forces, the Ukrainian people do not base the mobilisation of their defence on hatred. This stands in a sharp contrast to the Balkan wars in the 1990s, which proved once again that stirring hatred is extremely toxic and dangerous.
The people of Ukraine are waging a historic struggle for freedom. We must all unite under the blue and yellow flag to support them.
Signatories as of March 31, 2022:
Ladan Boroumand, Co-founder and Senior Fellow, Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran
Adem Carroll, UN Programs Director, Justice for All/Burma Task Force
Srdjan Darmanovic, University Professor, Faculty of Political Science, University of Montenegro
Carlos Alberto Fara, Secretary, CADAL
Tomáš Halík, President, Czech Christian Academy
Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress
Tinatin Khidasheli, Chairperson, Civic IDEA
Jakub Klepal, Executive Director, Forum 2000 Foundation
Myroslav Marynovych, a former prisoner of GULAG (1977-1987)
Markus Meckel, German Chairman Council, Foundation German-Polish Cooperation
Joshua Muravchik, Author and Foreign Policy Expert
Andrea Ngombet, Founder, Sassoufit Collective
Martin Palouš, Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy, FIU
Pavel Pšeja, Former Chair of the Board in DEMAS, University Lecturer
Iveta Radičová, Former Prime Minister of Slovakia
Mykola Riabchuk, Honorary President of PEN Ukraine
Andrei Sannikov, European Belarus Civil Campaign
Hugh D Segal, Mathews Fellow, Global Public Policy, Queen's University
Gulnara Shahinian, Chair, Democracy Today
Zamira Sydykova, Editor in Chief, Res Publica
Kenneth Wollack, Chairman, National Endowment for Democracy
Liao Yiwu, Writer in Exile, 2018 Disturbing the Peace Recipient
Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Director, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law
Michael Žantovský, Executive Director, Václav Havel Library