Youth Initiative for Human Rights Regional Network, working in the post-war countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia, having lived the effects of war and still suffering the consequences of actions such as those of the Russian Federation towards Ukraine, strongly condemns such occurrences and deeply feel for the people in Ukraine and the suffering they are going through at such a difficult time.

The government of the Russian Federation by use of aggression and military advances has moved its troops into a sovereign and independent country, by doing so, violating international agreements set in place to prevent such situations. Acts of invasion against peaceful cities of Ukraine show violations of the most fundamental and important rules of international order. We consider this situation extremely worrying and unacceptable as it endangers the lives of civilians.

Through this statement, we call on Russia to immediately cease all attacks and withdraw its troops from the territory of Ukraine. We also call on all international actors, civil society organizations, peacekeeping organizations, and all democratic countries to commit to peace and stability. Such unjustifiable conduct of the Russian government poses threats to countless civilians’ fundamental human rights. The enforcement of all possible measures must be imposed to prevent further de-escalation of the situation, which also puts at risk global security and peace.

As a region, having lived through so many wars, we are aware of the severe consequences that wars have in society. Now more than ever, we must stand united and have a clear stance towards the government of the Russian Federation and any other warmongers. War has never shown to be a solution. We must look forward to peace and longstanding stability for which humanity as a whole has long suffered to achieve.

As young people from the Western Balkans, we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and peace-demanding people of Russia, and we offer our support to pass through these difficult times. We will continue to advocate and stand strongly not only for the absence of war but for peace as a long-term process, and most importantly the protection of the #HumanRights of every citizen of the world.