7 March 2022

Call for a Humanitarian Corridor for Ukraine

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Advocacy for a supply chain of humanitarian assistance to the affected populations within Ukraine, and to establish safe humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.

Harm Reduction International, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association and 45 organisations called for an urgent response to ensure humanitarian supplies reached Ukraine in March 2022.

We, the undersigned organisations, call on the United Nations, the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to jointly support and set up, as a matter of urgency, an uninterrupted supply chain of humanitarian assistance to the affected populations within the country, and to establish safe humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians from Ukraine.

On 24 February 2022, the Russian Federation launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, targeting several large cities including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Meriupol and Zhitomir, and bombing neighbourhoods within those areas, inevitably resulting in countless civilian deaths. The escalating war actions are causing tremendous humanitarian crises affecting millions of people. Those staying in cities and villages in Ukraine are in urgent need of warm shelter, food, water, basic medicine and other essential supplies. Additionally, more than 100,000 people have been internally displaced since the invasion began, and the number of displaced people will continue to grow. At the moment, meeting the essential needs of internally displaced people is extremely difficult in Ukraine due to martial law, curfews and threats to the lives of volunteers.

In line with this, we call on your organisations to:

Urgently establish safe, open and uninterrupted corridors for humanitarian workers and supplies, including essential food and medicine, to reach people in need throughout Ukraine (particularly in cities in eastern, southern and central Ukraine currently under attack).

Create a coordinated and agile system for assessing needs and tracking available services and supplies’ shortages and organising coordinated international response to address it. Urgently support
the establishment of inter-agency safe corridors for the evacuation of all people wishing to leave Ukraine, regardless of nationality, to neighbouring countries.

Organise transport of lifesaving cargo both for internally displaced people in Ukraine and refugees outside the country.

Engage in a sustained and coordinated manner with local and national authorities of neighbouring countries, and of expected destination countries, to ensure:

  • Continued safe entry and passage of people fleeing Ukraine (without the need for visas or other burdensome administrative requirements).
  • Distribution of food, COVID-19 personal protective equipment and medicine, including antiretroviral therapy (ARV) and/or opioid agonist treatment, without discrimination.
  • Safe and uninterrupted circulation of essential food and medicines — including utilisation of the simplified control procedures for the export, transportation and provision of medicinal products containing controlled substances, as recommended by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
  • Help to ensure the parties to the conflict take the necessary measures to account for protected people, including prisoners of war and detainees.
  • Apply all efforts to negotiate this issue with both Russian and Ukrainian authorities through all possible channels, to ensure safe and effective humanitarian corridors are established as quickly as possible.

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