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Geneva Call Humanitarian Response in Ukraine amid Escalation of Hostilities

Geneva, 01 March 2022


Amid the rapid escalation of hostilities in Ukraine, Geneva Call expresses its deepest concern for the safety of civilians impacted by the armed conflict and remains firmly committed to supporting the affected population in Ukraine and in the region.

The recent intensification of hostilities in eastern Ukraine is exposing the civilian population and essential services to the highest risk. In less than a week nearly 550 civilians, including 15 children and 4’000 to 5’000 combatants’ casualties have been reported. Moreover, at least 680.000 people have already crossed into neighbouring countries and hundreds of thousands more are trying to leave the country. Moreover, numerous international humanitarian laws’ (IHL) violations have been reported including the targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructures, the use of indiscriminate weapons, the obstruction of safe passage and the resort to perfidy. Under these circumstances, it is important to recall that all four of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, Additional Protocol I of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and Customary IHL apply to the current situation and bind both parties to the armed conflict. Geneva Call urges all weapons bearers to abide by IHL and ensure at all times the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructures, especially schools, hospitals, and water and power systems.

Geneva Call has been working on the promotion of humanitarian norms in Ukraine since 2017. The programme’s main foci are: (i) building the capacity of local CSOs and armed entities to increase space to discuss humanitarian norms; (ii) raising awareness on IHL focusing on the protection of children among communities, activists, and fighters; and (iii) influencing decision-makers and armed entities commanders in favour of better civilian protection through advocacy instruments. Geneva Call has invested time and resources in building trust with communities affected by armed conflict in eastern Ukraine and established reliable contact with a wide range of armed entities and succeeded in developing sustainable humanitarian engagement with respect to IHL/IHRL applicable in times of armed conflict.

Geneva Call will continue to work in good faith with all parties to the conflict and will rapidly scale up its humanitarian engagement with weapon bearers and their constituencies during this time of crisis. As the situation evolves, Geneva Call is ready to deploy an emergency team in-country to enhance humanitarian engagement on the protection of civilians and the respect of IHL to ensure a continued humanitarian response during the ongoing crisis.


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