Stop the military aggression! – Open appeal from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

The conflict between Georgia and Russia over the self-declared Republic of South Ossetia has already led to large-scale human rights abuse and is threatening fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of any country in the region and, in fact, stability in the entire world.

We cannot support "the constitutional measures for establishing peace and law and order" – the attempt made by Georgia to re-establish territorial integrity through force. Complex political problems can only be resolved through peaceful means however difficult this may be.

Russia began military action, it claims, to carry out its peacekeeping mission and defend Russian nationals in South Ossetia after Georgian forces entered Tsinvali. Yet bombing Georgian territory can in no way be considered part of a peacekeeping mission, moreover after Georgian forces had stopped fighting. On Monday evening Russian forces invaded Georgia from Abkhazia, and meeting no resistance, they advanced 40 kilometres taking the cities of Gori, Zugdidi and Senaki.

We totally condemn Russia’s military actions against Georgia on the latter’s territory and call on Russia to halt them immediately. We also demand that they put an end to the new chauvinistic anti-Georgian campaign within Russia. Such behaviour will inevitably lead to an increase in anti-Russian sentiments in the world. Does Russia really want this?

There is every reason to expect still further human rights violations, as well as grave consequences to territorial integrity, sovereignty and stability in the whole regions if Russia is encouraged in such aggressive destabilization through the world’s failure to respond adequately.

The complex history of the Soviet period has not only led to tension between former Soviet republics. It has also brought about a situation whereby very many of these republics have citizens originally from other republics.

We call on the UN Security Council, OSCE, NATO, the Council of Europe, the European Union and other international bodies to impress upon the Russian authorities that the world cannot allow such unwarranted aggression.  Russian forces must be withdrawn from Georgian territory and South Ossetia through the mediation of international organizations and independent peacekeeping forces brought in. 

We also believe it vital to create an international committee to investigate the events in South Ossetia and establish who was responsible for the death of civilians.


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