The All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and the Ombudsman call for the return of all prisoners and deportees to Ukraine
The statement was accepted after 215 prisoners were freed from the rashist captivity. More than 700 "Azov" fighters still remain in captivity, as well as thousands of other prisoners. The document was shared by the Institute for Religious Freedom.
of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations and
the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights
It has been almost 7 months since the full-scale invasion of Russia on the territory of Ukraine. Almost 7 months of the Ukrainian people fighting for their right to life. After the unprovoked attack on February 24, 12 million Ukrainians were forced to leave their homes and more than 5 million – to leave their country. War is a threat to the utmost value - human life, and in our case, it is also an encroachment on the life of an entire nation, that is, genocide.
According to the UN, 5,587 people, including 362 children, died in the period between the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and August 22. 7,890 people have been injured. And these are only fully confirmed and identified cases. The actual civilian death toll is much higher as there are delays in receiving information from areas of intense fighting, and many reports of civilian deaths are still being verified. In addition, as of mid-August, more than three million Ukrainian citizens were deported voluntarily or forcibly to the territory of Russia from the occupied territories of eastern and southern Ukraine.
Thousands of our defenders and civilians are held captive by the Russian invaders. In most cases, Russia does not provide any information about their fate, ignoring all norms of international humanitarian law. Information coming from various sources indicates that our people are subjected to brutal torture and physical and psychological pressure. They are kept in inhumane conditions, often left without water and food.
In the conditions of the aggressor state's non-compliance with the provisions of the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of prisoners of war and illegally detained civilians, and the absence of a reliable mechanism of interaction with the Russian side regarding the decision of the future fate of the specified categories of persons, we, members of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations and the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, consider the search for all possible ways to liberate our prisoners to be our main mission.
We appeal to the world community and all international organizations that are meant to protect people's rights and be guarantors of world security, to assist in the safe return of victims of Russian aggression, POWs, civilian hostages and all those who were forcibly taken to the aggressor country or are held in temporarily occupied territories!
We pray for peace and speedy victory!
Kyiv, September 23, 2022