Statement on the Ukraine crisis

The Mir Centre for Peace strongly condemns Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. It is a dangerous and blatant violation of the UN Charter. We stand with the people of Ukraine, who have already suffered great losses and are demonstrating even greater courage as they endure violence and resist occupation.

As peacemakers, we do not believe that violent escalation is the only way forward. There must be a political solution. There is a basis for negotiations in the Minsk Agreements.

Nonviolent civil resistance is also a source of great power and has been successful in displacing authoritarian leaders and resisting occupying forces before. Thousands of nonviolent resistors are engaging in widespread protest and political noncooperation right now, both in Ukraine and in Russia. This is under-reported. Let us support and amplify their brave actions.

In the name of human dignity, let us reject the use of dehumanizing language to refer to the “other” and refuse the demonization of any ethnic group. We remember that many within Russia—and Russians abroad—also oppose this war, as do people around the world. The actions of any nation’s government do not necessarily represent the will of its people.

Let us remember that soldiers are not the cause of the conflict, nor should they be excluded from our sentiments of care. Many have become instruments of violence—not always by choice but sometimes simply by virtue of gender, age or decree—but they are also victims of violence. Too often, wars benefitting the rich exploit the poor to fight.

We acknowledge that there are complex historical and political roots to this crisis, and that coming to consensus about its underlying causes and possible resolution is not easy. As we engage in dialogue, let us resist over-simplified narratives that reduce the conflict to a single cause or frame it in binary terms. There are many forces and failures that have brought us to this terrible place. To point out one is not to deny the others. Let us practice humility and openness in our quest to learn more.

We decry the tremendous loss of life, waste of resources and risks to humanity that the arms trade—and especially nuclear proliferation—represents. All states and all people have valid security interests and needs that must be recognized if any are to be safe. Ultimately, our common security depends not on threats of mutually assured destruction but on our ability to co-exist on one shared and finite planet.

We, therefore, call on all parties to respect international law and uphold their commitments to treaties and conventions that safeguard human rights, democratic institutions and humanitarian principles, including assistance to refugees.

We are at a very dangerous point in time when thousands of nuclear weapons stand ready to be deployed. The intentional, accidental or terrorist use of such weapons jeopardizes the safety, well-being and security of each and every one of us. We urge all countries—including Canada—to sign on to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which has already made nuclear weapons illegal under international law.

War is an abomination. How easily we forget that. Let us unite instead in our common wish for peace.