Statement of the Canadian Association of Human Rights Institutes*
on the Russian Aggression against Ukraine
We are appalled by the unashamed violations of the foundational principles of the United Nations Charter and of basic tenets of international law by President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation.
In total contempt for the principles of non-use of force to settle disputes and of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another State, Russia has breached cardinal rules of the UN Charter-based system in a naked act of aggression. As an individual, Mr Putin’s decision to wage aggressive war incurs criminal responsibility.
Subsequent acts of use of force against civilian targets, including civilian residences and non-military targets, constitute breaches of International Humanitarian Law and are war crimes.
As a guarantor of the post Second World War rules-based international order, Russia was conferred a privileged position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council with a veto in trust of UN Member States and the international community. This veto is to be used for the purpose of contributing to and upholding global peace and security and the related purposes and principles of the United Nations including social and economic development and respect for human rights. Willful acts of aggression coupled with abusive use of the veto manifestly repudiate that trust. As such, Russia no longer merits and cannot reasonably hold this privileged position in the UN system.
We thus call upon UN Member States, subsequent to UN Security Resolution 2623 of 27 February 2022, to unite for peace and vote on 2 March 2022, in the present Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, to disregard Russia’s illegitimate diplomatic positions, including its veto, and, instead, to support Ukraine in defense of its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the protection and well-being of all persons within Ukraine.
We call upon the UN General Assembly to remove Russia from its membership of the UN Human Rights Council.
We call upon the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to disregard Russia in any decision of consensus using the rule of consensus minus one “in cases of clear, gross, and uncorrected violations of relevant OSCE commitments”.
We commend the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for invoking Article 8 of its Statute and suspending Russia for its gross violations of the stipulated aims of the Council and we call upon the Committee of Ministers to consider expelling Russia as the evolving situation may warrant.
We call upon Canada to stand with Ukraine and for the Government of Canada to extend every facility and means of support to the Government and people of Ukraine in defense of their inherent individual and collective rights to self-determination and all other human rights.
We commend Ukraine for its persistence in calling by all means for a peaceful resolution of the situation notwithstanding extreme threats and, now, attacks against it.
We commit to honest and unreserved testament to the violations we are now witnessing and to support for the full restoration of the independence and development of Ukraine and of the Ukrainian people under the rule of law, according to the genuine will of the people, and with full respect for human rights.
*Members of CAHRI supporting this statement:
Atlantic Human Rights Centre, St. Thomas University
Professor Nandini Ramanujam, Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism, McGill University
Centre for Human Rights Research, University of Manitoba
Professor Anna Purkey, Human Rights Program, St-Paul's University College, University of Waterloo
Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa
Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child, University of Ottawa
International Justice & Human Rights Clinic, University of British Columbia
Landon Pearson Centre for the Study of Childhood and Children’s Rights, Carleton University
Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Concordia University
Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, York University
The University of Winnipeg Global College, University of Winnipeg