As a recent ceasefire has been declared, the UNHCR reports reduction of hostiles in the east of Ukraine. However, the protracted armed conflict continues and civilians continue to face a wide range of problems – including serious human rights violations. Those civilians unable to flee the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for various reasons – including lack of means – have difficulties surviving, due to inability to access health care, receive pensions, exercise their civil as well as voting rights and, most of all, fear for their lives. Over the span of 21-months, as UN reports, approximately 9,000 people have died, over 1.4 million of have fled the separatist-controlled areas as IDPs and many have left to find refuge in the neighbouring countries.
Due to the economic unrest and conflict in the Eastern part of the country, the Ukrainian government is unable to adequately address the looming humanitarian crisis. Efforts to help residents from the areas affected by armed strife, from both sides – in Ukraine and in separatist controlled areas – largely come from local and international NGOs, churches, volunteer-based organization as well as generous people who are lending a helping hand in times of need.
To mark the Human Rights Day, which is observed annually on December 10th, we have an opportunity to honour the day when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Palais de Challoit in Paris in the aftermath of World War II. On this day, we can collectively contribute to preventing human rights abuses and use the Human Rights Day as an opportunity to take steps to end the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
Here are several things we can do:
- Research and familiarize yourself with the current situation.
- Donate to groups dedicated to advocating and assisting the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and aid organizations working on the ground like the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which is one of the most effective agencies, although far from the only one. The Canadian Red Cross, Oxfam Canada, CARE Canada, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, Doctors Without Borders and World Vision, and Mennonite Central Committee and UNICEF are all meritorious and in need of financial help.
- Spread the word. Use social media to raise awareness.
- Contact your local MPs and the federal government; alert the media.
- If you represent a humanitarian organization, partner with a fellow organization or service (like Highway Liberty) to intensify the humanitarian efforts.
- You may volunteer with our organization or your local organization helping the internally displaced.
- Encourage your company to get involved.
As winter looms, aid organizations are seeking extra assistance for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to address the current situation in Ukraine. Right now, you have the opportunity to help families and children in need. There is a dire need of clothing, shoes, food, hygiene items, blankets and folding cots. Contact us today and join our conference to find out about ways of landing a hand to those in need and promote the protection of IDPs.
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