Good Neighbors Statement on the Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis: URGE GLOBAL COMMUNITY SOLIDARITY TO PROTECT WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Good Neighbors deplores the escalation of violence in Ukraine. We call for an immediate ceasefire and a complete cessation of hostilities. We encourage opposing forces to pursue a peaceful solution by means of dialogue and diplomacy.

We urge all parties involved in the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law. This includes an immediate end to the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure including residential areas, schools, and hospitals that has been widely reported and independently verified.

As a child rights and child protection organization, Good Neighbors is especially concerned about physical and psychological harm to children. At least 17 children have been killed and 30 injured as of March 3rd, according to UNICEF. Reported violations of the Children and Armed Conflict Mandate constitute heinous acts that duty bearers will behold to account for. No child should fear for their life nor see their future at risk. They should not see their family torn apart by war nor their house destroyed by shelling.

UNHCR’s refugee count as of March 3rd is of around 1.2 million people. The agency has also reported growing numbers of unaccompanied minors entering bordering countries, having left their parents or guardians behind in Ukraine. We are greatly concerned by the protection risks faced by children traveling on their own. We welcome the Blue Dot approach adopted by UNICEF and UNHCR, that offers tailored services, support, and information to individuals, including children, based on their status and needs.

Children, girls, unaccompanied minors, women, elderly people, and people with disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups suffering from this war. Regardless of whether they are staying in their place of origin, on the move within Ukraine or crossing international borders, these categories are at the most risk of harm. Good Neighbors praises the efforts of local and international communities to ensure their basic needs are met and that adequate protection services are made available wherever they are.

We view favorably the recent agreement between belligerents to establish humanitarian and evacuation corridors. However, observers will judge based on actions, not mere words. Therefore, we demand immediate fulfillment of this agreement, ensuring the safety of civilians and of vulnerable groups in particular. We urge parties to guarantee full, unimpeded, and safe access to humanitarian agencies and their staff, taking all necessary measures to guarantee their security.

We urge neighboring states to maintain an open border policy and admit everyone fleeing from Ukraine regardless of their nationality, status, ethnicity, race, gender, age, religion, sexuality, ability, or any other factor. Every individual has an equal right in terms of access to safe territory. We condemn the episodes of discrimination that have occurred at some border points, trusting that protection agencies on the ground and authorities in charge will ensure this does not happen again.

Good Neighbors is profoundly concerned about growing humanitarian needs. People in Ukraine and crossing borders are running short of water, food, fuel, medicines, clothes, personal items, basic services, and shelter options. Freezing winter temperatures and the additional risks brought by the COVID-19 pandemic pose an additional threat to people’s health and well-being. The current nationwide humanitarian crisis overlaps with the protracted situation in Eastern Ukraine, where ongoing hostilities have been causing significant human suffering over a span of years.

Good Neighbors commits to taking immediate action in support of internally displaced persons in Ukraine and refugees seeking safety in bordering countries where help is most needed. As of March 3rd Good Neighbors, humanitarian response team has been dispatched to Romania with the goal of supporting refugees in collaboration with local communities and authorities.

We pledge to support local actors to build up their response capacity and guarantee the safeguarding of the refugee we assist. We will coordinate with national and local authorities responsible for persons of concern and with other relevant entities on the ground, including the UN and other humanitarian agencies. Our thoughts go out to every person suffering in this war.

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