New York, NY, March 9, 2022 — In response to Russia’s bombing of a children’s hospital and maternity ward in besieged Mariupol today, David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said: “The targeting and bombing of he children’s hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine, is a horrifying testimony to lawlessness and impunity as well as inhumanity. The IRC condemns this attack in the strongest possible terms, alongside the widely reported targeting of evacuation corridors, ceasefire violations and sieges of urban areas. This conduct testifies to a global syndrome where the era of impunity reigns supreme.
“Obligations under international humanitarian law are absolute when it comes to ensuring that civilian life and civilian infrastructure such as hospitals are protected and that humanitarian workers have unhindered access to those in need of assistance. . It is also clear that any violation of IHL must be investigated and held accountable. The vote of the United Nations Human Rights Council in favor of the creation of a commission of inquiry to monitor and investigate violations of international humanitarian law is important, but it must be set up quickly and endowed with significant resources. And with the UN Security Council tied in knots, it is vitally important that UN bodies like the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly fill the void. of responsibility.
IRC’s response activities target displaced people in Ukraine and Poland. Due to the fluid situation, the IRC has identified partners with various geographic response capabilities in Ukraine and Poland. Initial sites will be Lublin, Poland and the western oblasts of Ukraine which we believe are currently hosting the largest numbers of displaced people. With these donations, through our partners, the IRC is reaching many of the groups most affected by the conflict, including: people unable to leave areas of acute fighting, people who have been displaced west from Ukraine, people displaced to Poland without formal assistance, and people whose only option is to seek refuge in government reception centres.
In the initial stages of our response, through partners, IRC is providing information services through an existing hotline, offering legal advice and psychological support, and will facilitate access to services (through social workers, interpreters and cultural assistants) to displaced persons. The IRC is also looking to provide essential items to those who have been displaced based on individual needs. This includes blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing, and access to groceries, basic necessities, and cash whenever possible.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore the health, safety, education, economic well-being and power of people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC works in more than 40 countries and more than 20 American cities to help people survive, regain control of their future and strengthen their communities. . Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC at Twitter & Facebook.