9th April 2022
The World Officers of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women (WFMUCW) are appalled at the news coming from Ukraine over recent weeks. They wish to echo the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, in his condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in violation of the international U N charter. Like him, we deplore the atrocities against the people of that country, including widespread violence against women and children. WFMUCW leaders also affirm UN Women, who have issued a statement attributed to Ms. Pramila Patten, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and Ms. Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women. This statement (7 April 2022) highlights the increasing allegations of sexual violence against women and girls during this conflict and calls for the Russian leaders to make it clear to their soldiers that such behaviour is totally unacceptable.
Sexual violence is criminal and should never be tolerated. It is unlawful to use it as a weapon of war.
News coverage from Ukraine, especially since the retreat of the Russian military from areas they once held, are revealing horrific accounts of torture and inhumane treatment of innocent citizens which may be used as evidence of war crimes. The destruction of cities and towns in Ukraine is a mindless act of devastation. Holding people hostage and using them as a human shield is sheer brutality. And yet it seems that the leaders of the Russian Federation deny the destructive activity of their military.
The World Federation includes in its membership women from several countries in Eastern Europe, including Russia. We are thankful for many in Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland and further afield who are offering hospitality and sanctuary to those Ukrainians fleeing this devastating violence and destruction. We urge the authorities to provide suitable support for those suffering from trauma and the effects of violence and rape. We are aware that some Russians have courageously spoken out publically against this aggression at great risk to themselves. We give thanks for those who show courage in entering war zones in order to provide emergency supplies and bring innocent and vulnerable people to safety.
As Christian women of faith, we commit to continue in prayer for all those who suffer through violent aggression, wherever this is perpetrated. We pray that God will protect the vulnerable, change the hearts and minds of those who practise violence, and bring peace with justice to a damaged and wounded world.
(World President WFMUCW 2016-2022)