Boris Altshuler: Stop the humanitarian catastrophe. A ceasefire is a precondition for successful peace talks.

3 March 2022

by Boris Altshuler, chair of the Board of the NGO Right of the Child, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Among Boris Altshuler’s awards are: Person of the Year – 5769 of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (2009). Andrei Sakharov Prize of the American Physical Society For many years struggle in defense of democracy in Russia and for work in defense of the rights of children (2014); the Parental Thanks award of the All-Russian Organization of Parents of Disabled Children (2019)

The right to life is among the fundamental human rights. The 10-day-long special operation of the Russian army in Ukraine has led to the violation of this right on a massive scale. Russian and Ukrainian military service personnel are dying, civilians are dying, including children, hospitals are overflowing with wounded.

More than a million refugees have left Ukraine, millions are seeking refuge in bomb shelters. There is a large-scale humanitarian catastrophe. “Most civilian casualties were caused by the use of heavy artillery, multi-launch rocket systems and air strikes in populated areas, with concerning reports of use of cluster munitions striking civilian targets,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, speaking at an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council. The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Karim Khan said 38 countries have asked the ICC to launch an investigation into “possible war crimes committed by Russia.”

I do not want our country, Russia, to become a pariah state. And I call on the leadership of the Russian Federation to show political will, to stop this humanitarian catastrophe and to declare an immediate ceasefire as a measure to ensure the success of the ongoing peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

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