Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity denounces the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine and launch violent attacks in the country. The only certainty of this decision is that civilians will pay the ultimate price with their livelihoods and, tragically, their lives.
Our Pan-African movement is keenly aware that the African Diaspora community in Ukraine now finds itself in an unfamiliar and unpredictable conflict. Reports show that Africans make up more than 20 percent of Ukraine’s international student population and many of them see no way out of the country at the moment. On the African continent, the Russia-Ukraine conflict poses a potential threat to African economies, too many of which are already afflicted by instabilities of their own.
This is a terrible reminder that a humanitarian crisis anywhere is a humanitarian crisis everywhere. In this globalised world, we must all realise that we are one political disaster away from the situation in which our comrades in Ukraine find themselves. Weapons flow too freely across borders where the passage of people is heavily policed. Guns are too readily available in communities where potable water and quality health care are not. This does not make sense in the 21st century, an era in which technologies allow virtually anyone, anywhere to watch (in real-time) the violent devastation of a country on their smartphone screen or home TV.
As a movement built on ideals of justice, peace and dignity, it is our duty to call on President Putin and Russian authorities to end the assault against Ukraine. We call on international humanitarian agencies to lend their power and resources to supporting the evacuation of Africans and civilians seeking to escape the violence. We call on African governments to resist the pressure to take sides in this war, instead, dedicate your human and financial resources to the safe return of the Africans stranded overseas in this conflict. We call on our members to use their social media platforms to condemn this war and let the world know we are watching. Our collective vigilance is our greatest tool against escalating fear and isolation.
This is a moment to take action, not of violence, but of empathy and solidarity. As we speak out against this conflict and connect with those in need, we build communities of support – both virtually and offline – that take us one step closer to ending this war and preventing the possibility of others like it. Africans and allies, we must not remain silent, we have a moral responsibility to call for the protection of lives and sovereignty in Ukraine.