1 March 2022
Te Ao o Rongomaraeroa | the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We stand with the Ukrainian people, we deplore the violence, and we acknowledge that there is never any excuse for such acts of aggression. We know that it will be civilians who bear the brunt of this war, as they bear the brunt of all wars. And we acknowledge that this will continue long after our media cycle has moved on.
But so too do we acknowledge the many Russian people who are risking themselves to express their opposition to this war. We know that this is not a war from the Russian people – indeed, we acknowledge the strong connections between the people of both nations. We will not buy into the narrative of “East vs. West” that is being manipulated and used to fuel this invasion and violence.
We express our concern that in this time, our very international order is under threat along with Ukraine. We cannot afford to be waiting until a crisis such as this occurs before we start to take peace seriously. Not only have the threats faced by Ukraine not been taken seriously enough until now, but this crisis is all the more dangerous for our neglect of the global peace architecture. We need to increase our support for both the prevention of and non-violent resolutions to violent-conflict, and we need to strengthen our international laws and systems so that we are more readily and rapidly able to respond to such blatant acts of aggression in the future. Furthermore, we lament how much more dangerous this situation is because of the presence of nuclear weapons in our world, and we continue our call for global nuclear disarmament.
We hear much talk of sanctions. We wish to emphasise that nations need to look past their own, short-term wealth, in-order to ensure that sanctions are both meaningful and effective. We cannot afford to send would-be aggressors the message that we will turn a blind-eye to violence as long as it doesn’t affect “our” patch and pockets. And neither should we only protect the wealthy or resource-rich nations. Peace must belong to all people, not only to those who have something to offer us.
We call on the following actions to be considered to support the people of Ukraine:
- That humanitarian assistance be provided to those affected by the violence
- That support be provided to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), both in terms of humanitarian assistance and safe haven.
- To ensure that such assistance and safe-haven is also given to communities of colour and other minority communities in Ukraine – we are concerned to hear reports of their exclusion.
- That there is an immediate cease-fire and that genuine, honest peace talks take place. We hope that behind-the-scenes efforts are currently occurring to secure these.
- That we commit to re-building long after the physical attack has ended. We acknowledge that it takes much longer to re-build than it does to destroy.
- That there are efforts to heal the harm caused by this violence, as well as past harm that may have contributed to this situation.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their time of trial. This world must stand for peace. We must strengthen our international systems for peace, and we call on the New Zealand government to contribute towards this. And finally, we must continue our work for and support of peace, long after the images of violence have left our TV screens.
Te Ao o Rongomaraeroa | The National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (NCPACS)
NCPACS Student and Community Development Organisation