Statement of the Catalan Ombudsman on the Russian armed attack against Ukraine


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In light of the armed aggression against Ukraine led by Russia, with the support of Belarus, the Catalan Ombudsman has issued a number of considerations.

  1. This armed attack violates the prohibition on the use of force, violates the principle of sovereign equality and violates the respect for the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine, protected by the UN Charter. Continued attacks on targets and non-military personnel are violations of the Geneva Conventions and other instruments of international humanitarian law. For these reasons, those responsible for the aggression and its military development may have committed war and anti-peace crimes, which may be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court.
  2.  The international society, and in particular the European society, through its cooperation institutions (Council of Europe, European Union), has the responsibility to promote all the necessary actions to channel a dialogue between the parties involved that allows a ceasefire and a peaceful solution to their differences.
  3. States and European institutions also have the duty to receive the refugees fleeing from the armed conflict and to protect their rights under the terms of the 1951 Geneva Convention.
  4. The Catalan Government must continue to develop reception policies and to promote a culture of peace.

The Catalan Ombudsman also addressed his Ukrainian and Russian counterparts and offered them cooperation in all matters of protection of fundamental rights. And it has appealed to the European ombudsmen community to promote actions by their governments to encourage dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, and to ensure the protection of the rights of refugees within the borders of their states.

On the other hand, the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) has issued a statement condemning strongly and unequivocally the use of force in settling international disputes, which urges all parties involved to fully respect their international obligations. The IOI has called for the immediate provision of emergency services and the development of appropriate and fully operational reception centres for refugees and displaced people, offering medical and health services, psychological support and adequate housing and meals; services aiming to reunite families; and the monitoring of detention conditions and treatment of both civilians and combatants, in accordance with the UN (CAT and OPCAT) and Council of Europe (CPT) standards and international law. The statement expresses a deep solidarity with the ombudsman institutions in Ukraine and their teams.

The European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) issued, on 28 February 2022, a statement to which the Catalan Ombudsman has adhered. In this statement, the ENOC, after recalling that both Russia and Ukraine have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, calls on Russia to immediately halt its invasion to protect the lives, safety and well-being of children. It also calls for ensuring support and humanitarian assistance to vulnerable children and young people, and for the need to accept and protect refugees.