War Resisters’ International Statement
On Preparations for War in Ukraine
War Resisters’ International Executive Committee
(February 2022) — War Resisters’ International condemns the preparations for war by NATO and Russia, who are currently considering military responses to the current political crisis in Ukraine. If war does start it will bring death, destruction, suffering, mass displacement, economic crisis, and many other consequences.
We also want to express our solidarity and support to peace movements in Ukraine and Russia as they resist the move to war.
We call upon the people of Ukraine and Russia in the first place, but also people around the globe, to say “No!” to war in Ukraine. There is no alternative to negotiations, no matter how difficult they might seem.
As war resisters, we strongly oppose the current war preparations, massive movements of weapons and soldiers to the region and its bordering areas, as well as the media manipulation around the Ukrainian crisis, both from Russia’s and NATO’s side.
Encouragement of war and polarization of the minds and hearts of the people is a path that leads to a disaster. The tactics of information overload and hot-and-cold information creates confusion and is intended to reduce the opposition to war by presenting it as inevitable.
The only winners in such a war would be arm manufacturers and dealers and other war profiteers, whose interests don’t have a nationality or a homeland, while the people of Ukraine and Russia would be on the losing side, no matter how the conflict ends.
Only a few months ago, when NATO troops retreated from Afghanistan, it was obvious that the war, in any of its forms, cannot provide a solution to any conflict. Even the 20-years long presence of foreign troops with unlimited budget and immunity against the crimes they committed over the civilian population could not lead to an end of the conflict in Afghanistan.
The consequences of the NATO intervention in that country are horrifying and, unfortunately, will continue for decades.
War Resisters’ International has spent more than 100 years providing support to anyone who refuses to be a part of war preparations or to participate in armed conflict, and will unconditionally continue to do so. Refusing to participate in war and war preparations is a fundamental human right and it must be treated as such anywhere in the world.
We call upon the recruits and soldiers, both conscripted and professional, in Russia, Ukraine and NATO countries to reject their participation in war by declaring their conscientious objection and/or deserting from the military units. War cannot happen if everyone refuses to participate in it.
With a Legal Disclaimer
By Ukrainian Pacifist Movement:
“The Ukrainian Pacifist Movement emphasizes that desertion can only be the last resort of nonviolent rebellion against military tyranny, an extreme manifestation of civil disobedience if the state does not fulfill its universally recognized and (even in wartime) non-derogable human right to conscientious objection to military service.
“We advise not to resort to desertion before the exhaustion of all effective legal means of exercising the human right to refuse military service on the grounds of conscience guaranteed by the legislation of Ukraine and international agreements, which are part of the legislation of Ukraine under Article 9 of the Constitution of Ukraine, including Paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (prohibition of coercion against religion or belief) in the official interpretation of paragraphs 2, 11 of the General Comment No. 22 of the UN Human Rights Committee (“Article 18 protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief).
“The terms ‘belief’ and ‘religion’ are to be broadly construed. Article 18 is not limited in its application to traditional religions or to religions and beliefs with institutional characteristics or practices analogous to those of traditional religions; ‘the obligation to use lethal force may seriously conflict with the freedom of conscience and the right to manifest one’s religion or belief.
“When this right is recognized by law or practice, there shall be no differentiation among conscientious objectors on the basis of the nature of their particular beliefs; likewise, there shall be no discrimination against conscientious objectors because they have failed to perform military service).
“We do not call for breaking the law nor support illegal actions, but we strongly recall the universally recognized principle of law enshrined in the preamble to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights: it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.”
- Statement in Ukrainian and Russian
- Statement in Italian: L’appello della War Resisters’ International per fermare i preparativi di guerra in Ucraina