Partnership for Legal Empowerment in Eastern Europe and Central Asia Statement on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
March 17, 2022
Since February 24, 2022, our colleagues in Ukraine have found themselves in a war zone. Russia brutally invaded Ukraine, launching an illegal war upon a peaceful neighbor. The Russian unprovoked aggression reached a terrible scale. Putin and his cronies are personally responsible for this crime – the shelling of civilian areas, destruction of social infrastructure facilities, killings of civilians, and imprisonment of pro-Ukrainian activists.
But as a result of Russian aggression, Ukrainian society has become more cohesive, stronger, and more efficient. And we, as legal empowerment organizations, have to play our role.
Our Ukrainian brothers and sisters are mobilizing all of their grassroots networks and resources to help their communities. People come to their paralegals and lawyers for legal assistance on documents for crossing the border, rights under martial law, temporary housing and resettlement, support for small businesses, and other matters. Our Ukrainian colleagues are providing logistical support for the distribution of humanitarian aid, including food, clothing, and medicines. They are assisting with crisis management, helping to improve communication between local governments, residents, volunteers, and internally displaced persons.
They are staying strong for Ukrainian communities. Even those who are in Russian-occupied territories continue to work. They are often the only ones who provide legal assistance to people in these areas now.
Stand with Ukraine. Stand with Ukrainian justice defenders.
Our colleagues are forming a coalition of Ukrainian organizations and activists – Solidarity&Justice Coalition – who are strengthening the legal capacity of communities throughout the country. They will coordinate grassroots initiatives, share effective experiences, connect legal aid requests with a wider web of lawyers, and create humanitarian supply chains and safe evacuation routes. The Partnership for Legal Empowerment in Eastern Europe and Central Asia calls on to support Ukrainian communities and the work of Ukrainian justice defenders. Even in wartime, legal empowerment is essential.
To all of our friends and allies in the Legal Empowerment Network and beyond, we thank you for your solidarity. The struggle of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters is not only for the future of Ukraine but for all who are defending justice at the frontiers of democracy.
The Core Team
of the Partnership for Legal Empowerment
in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
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