HRN Releases Statement Protesting the Russian Government’s Illegal Invasion of Ukraine and Serious Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

HRN has released a statement protesting the Russian government’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops. In the statement, we express particular concern with Russian attacks on nuclear plants and threats indicating a willingness to use nuclear weapons, which must never occur under any circumstances.

You can read the statement below and from the following link in pdf format: Ukraine Statement 2 (English).pdf

The statement is also available in Japanese on our Japanese-language website:

Human Rights Now Protests the Russian Government’s Invasion of Ukraine and Serious Violations of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law and Calls for the Immediate Withdrawal of Troops

1. Human Rights Now, a Tokyo-based international human rights NGO, strongly protests the illegal invasion of Ukraine by the Russian government and its attacks on civilians and civilian facilities that constitute serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

2. Despite protests and calls for immediate withdrawal by the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council, and citizens around the world, the Russian government has continued its military invasion of Ukraine and has escalated its military actions. The Russian government has demanded demilitarization and neutrality from Ukraine as a condition of peace, threatening to continue military action if it does not comply, but such a request clearly violates Ukrainian’s sovereignty and right to self-determination.

3. Civilian casualties are increasing due to the military actions of the Russian army following its illegal aggression. The Russian army has not only attacked military facilities, but has also conducted strikes on residential areas and attacks against civilians and civilian facilities. It has been reported that more than 2,000 civilians have been killed, including children, according to an announcement by the Ukrainian government. In addition, the Russian army’s attacks on nuclear power plants are an extremely serious issue. When we consider the long-standing suffering inflicted on nearby residents by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident and the devastating impact it had on life, health and the environment, it is obvious that the current attacks are inhumane and completely unacceptable. Attacks on civilians and civilian facilities violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, and attacks on nuclear power plants violate Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. Both constitute serious violations of international humanitarian law.

4. In addition, we are gravely concerned about threatening statements and actions by the Russian government indicating its willingness to use nuclear weapons. Using nuclear weapons will not only cause a tremendous number of deaths and have extremely inhumane consequences for the region, but will endanger humanity with the risk of a total nuclear war. Nuclear weapons must never be used in any circumstances.

5. Based on the above:

First, Human Rights Now, as an international human rights NGO based in Japan, a country which has suffered nuclear attack and has experienced the disaster at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, severely protests the Russian government’s series of civilian killings, attacks on nuclear facilities, and threats regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

Second, Human Rights Now once again calls on the Russian government to immediately cease its military aggression and all military operations, to withdraw its troops, and to desist from further attacks on civilians, civilian facilities, and nuclear facilities. We emphasize that the use of nuclear weapons should never occur. There can be no winners in a nuclear war.

Third, Human Rights Now calls for the resolution of the dispute by legal means, and we support the dispatch of an investigation team by the UN Human Rights Council and the initiation of an investigation by the International Criminal Court. We emphasize the urgent need to investigate Mr. Putin for the crime of aggression and for war crimes.

Fourth, Human Rights Now stands in solidarity with citizens around the world who speak out against the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine and its serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including all Russian speakers inside and outside Russia. We call on the Russian and all governments to respect their voices and to take non-military action to build peace.