What had seemed unthinkable in Europe in the 21st century has just happened. Our continent is today once more being drawn into an armed conflict. The Russian military attack on Ukraine has already resulted in the loss of human life and dire human suffering. It exposes millions of people in Ukraine and beyond to the risk of senseless violence, displacement and other serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. People are already fleeing in high numbers in search of safety, away from the hostilities. Many others, such as elderly people, people with disabilities, the sick, and families with young children, may be unable to leave and are therefore particularly vulnerable.
I urge the authorities of the Russian Federation to prevent the further unfolding of this human rights disaster by immediately putting a stop to all military actions in Ukraine and adhering strictly to international humanitarian and human rights law. I further call on all Council of Europe member states to stand in unity and solidarity with Ukraine and to receive people fleeing Ukraine with open arms to help protect their dignity, safety and human rights. My thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and all those affected by these terrible events and as Commissioner for Human Rights, I will do my utmost to address the human rights violations resulting from this situation.