OPEN LETTER: Appeal to Arm Ukraine – from the Human Rights Defenders to the Governments & Civil Societies of Free & Democratic Nations

Arm Ukraine!

An Open Letter from Human Rights Defenders to the Governments and Civil Societies of Free and Democratic Nations


Vienna, 10 December 2023 – Numerous human rights activists, some long active in the former Soviet Union, have signed an open letter urging free and democratic nations to provide Ukraine with military assistance it needs to resist Russian aggression.

The letter states, in part:

“If any part, or all of Ukraine falls under Russian dominion, citizens will lose their fundamental rights and freedoms.  In those parts of Ukraine now occupied by Russia, some since 2014, people are not free:  They cannot exercise religious and political freedom.  Like Russian citizens today, they live in a fake democracy, a one party, essentially fascist state, where the Rule of Law does not exist.

 


“It is absolutely and morally unacceptable, and at variance with the United Nations Charter, to allow this aggression to stand.

 


“To do so would be a shameful, shortsighted capitulation, revealing indifference to the people of a European neighbor, that would put human rights and security in all of Europe at risk. It would reveal an ignorance of history’s enduring lesson that appeasing tyrants leads inevitably to disaster.”

 


Excellencies and Fellow Citizens,

We are independent, civil society human rights defenders, some with long-standing work in Post-Soviet states.

We are writing to appeal for military assistance to the government of Ukraine, to prevent parts or all of the country from being conquered by the Russian Federation.

If any part, or all of Ukraine falls under Russian dominion, citizens will lose their fundamental rights and freedoms.  In those parts of Ukraine now occupied by Russia, some since 2014, people are not free:  They cannot exercise religious and political freedom.  Like Russian citizens today, they live in a fake democracy, a one party, essentially fascist state, where the Rule of Law does not exist.

It is absolutely and morally unacceptable, and at variance with the United Nations Charter, to allow this aggression to stand.

To do so would be a shameful, shortsighted capitulation, revealing indifference to the people of a European neighbor, that would put human rights and security in all of Europe at risk. It would reveal an ignorance of history’s enduring lesson that appeasing tyrants leads inevitably to disaster.

People in Russian-occupied Ukraine cannot enjoy their national culture, something they have cultivates but have often been deprived of by Imperial Russia and Nazi Germany, for centuries.

If Ukraine falls to Russia, or becomes victim to another “frozen conflict,” there will be no peace for Ukraine’s neighbors.

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Taking on the attack of a very powerful, totalitarian country, Ukraine protects not only itself, but also the countries of Western and, in any case, Central Europe. After all, in the event (God forbid) of the victory of the aggressor, European countries will be in danger of being the next targets of attack. As it is known from history, States with invasive intentions will continue their aggressive actions until they are stopped.

Therefore, assistance to Ukraine by European countries is necessary to their own protection from a potential aggressor.  What is more, if Russian aggression succeeds, aggressors and revanchists around the world will take notice.  More wars of aggression will follow.

Now, after years of ambivalence, free and democratic nations should stand unequivocally with Ukraine.  Ukraine desperately needs weapons and ammunition with which to fight a war of national survival, a war in which Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are dying so that all Europeans can live in peace.

We respectfully ask all governments who value human rights and freedoms to arm Ukraine.

Signatories:

  • Vera Ammer, MEMORIAL Deutschland e. V.
  • Igor Arbatov,Chairman of the Board, Future Development Agency, NGO, (Ukraine)
  • Tim Bohse, expert and activist, Berlin/Ivano-Frankivsk
  • Eileen Barker, Professor Emerita, London School of Economics
  • Vytautas Budnikas, Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  • Sonja Biserko
  • Tatiana Dettmer, Lew Kopelew Forum, Cologne, Germany
  • Sergei Davidis, Head of “Political Prisoners Support. Memorial” Independent Human Rights Project
  • Ramazan Dyryldaev
  • Massimo Introvigne, Editor-in-chief Bitter Winter
  • Dr. Jianli Yang, President of Citizen Power Initiatives for China
  • Aurelija Kuzmaitė, Lithuanian Helsinki Group
  • Stasys Kaušinis,Citizens Defence Support Fund
  • Liia Kotiash, Director of the Charity Organization, Foundation “Redut” (Ukraine)Igor Arbatov,Chairman of the Board, Future Development Agency, NGO (Ukraine)
  • Aurelija Kuzmaitė, Lithuanian Helsinki Group Stasys Kaušinis,Citizens Defence Support Fund
  • Lyudmyla Kozlovska, Open Dialogue Foundation
  • Nataliia Murashyna,Head of the Charity Organization «International Development Foundation» (Ukraine)
  • Hans Noot, Gerard Noodt Foundation
  • Romualdas Povilaitis,Lithuanian Association for the Defence of Human Rights
  • Sasha Romantsova, Executive director “Center for Civil Liberties”
  • Aaron Rhodes, President of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe
  • Marco Respinti, Journalist, Italy
  • Antonio Stango, President, Italian Federation for Human Rights / Italian Helsinki Committee, Rome
  • Amb. Andrei Sannikov, Chairman of European Belarus Foundation.
  • Henriette E. Schroeder, freelance journalist
  • Rosita Šorytė, President International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees 
  • Denis Shedov, Human Rights Defender, Ukraine
  • Anki Wetterhall, Swedish OSCE-network
  • Thierry Valle, Coordination des Associations et des Particuliers pour la Liberté de Conscience
  • Dr. Jianli Yang, President of Citizen Power Initiatives for China
  • Yevgeniy Zakharov, Member of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
  • Peter Zalmayev, Eurasia Democracy Initiative (Kyiv/New York)

 


For more information:

Aaron Rhodes, President of the Forum for Religious Freedom Europe and former Executive Director, International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights: Aaronarhodes@gmail.com

Yevgeniy Zakharov, Member of the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union: zakharove@gmail.com

Peter Zoehrer, Secretary General of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe: zoehrer@gmail.com

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