Statement of the PERC Women’s Committee on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The PERC Women‘s Committee stands in solidarity with all our sisters who are affected by the attacks on Ukraine.

We stand with Ukrainian women who participate in their country´s fight against the brutal and unlawful invasion inflicted on them by Russia. We stand in solidarity with all women and their children fleeing their home-country, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. PERC Women Committee joins the statement made by ETUC and ITUC on Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

We firmly condemn the military aggression and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. We call for an end of the attacks, peace, dialogue, and justice.

In response to the devasting images and stories that reach us from Ukraine, the PERC Women’s Committee stresses that armed conflict and humanitarian crisis have a gender aspect in their impacts. It is well documented and unanimously agreed by the international community that sexual violence against women and girls in all their diversity is used as a common tactic in armed conflict and as a war weapon. In addition, domestic violence, trafficking is exacerbated during war and humanitarian crisis.

An overwhelming majority of Ukrainian refugees that seek safety in European neighboring countries are women and children. Among refugees and people displaced from their homes, women and girls are particularly exposed to sexual violence, including rape, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual exploitation. Women and girls refugees often face severe infringements of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, such as a lack of available and responsive reproductive health care services, facilities or health products.

It is of outmost importance to secure a gender-sensitive response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine that respects fundamental human rights of Ukrainian women and girls in all their diversity. PERC Women’s Committee demands that EU Member states and neighboring countries must be offered financial and logistical support to provide to the needs of women and girls refugees in all their diversity, for example to provide proper accommodation, access to health care, access to child care, access to specialized services, including gender-responsive psycho-social care, and, at least legal advice; establish humanitarian corridors to allow refugees to leave the country safely and to set up reception and relocation plans within the EU; ensure security and protection to the borders and the populations of the EU and neighbouring countries which are most exposed to current and potential Russian military operations; calls on European Institutions and national governments to work as a matter of urgency for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and ILO Convention 190; calls on EU Member states and neighboring countries to ensure that Ukrainian women in all their diversity fleeing from the war are granted work permits and are enabled to fully participate in the labor market of their hosting country; no person fleeing from Ukraine to be refused safe passage and entry at the borders on the basis of their gender, their ethnicity or color; expects the EU countries and all EU leaders to adopt a gender-responsive perspective in any forms of crisis response to the war in Ukraine.

The role of women and girls in all their diversity is key in in the prevention of armed conflict situations as well as in the resolution of armed conflict situations, and in peacebuilding and, in this regard, to stress the importance of full, effective and meaningfull participation of women and girls in all their diversity , including by increasing their role in peace processes and post-conflict situations, as well as in decisions-making in efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security.