Nonviolent Peaceforce in Ukraine
In April 2022 NP began an assessment on the ground in Ukraine. Assessments are the first step before a full program begins. During assessments we build relationships with local people, get a deeper understanding of the conflict, and evaluate whether there is a need for Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP).
The team has been meeting with key people on the ground around the country—such as women’s shelters, student groups, and humanitarian partners—to collaborate on how and what way these groups would welcome UCP strategies. In violent conflict, there are a lot of unknown factors, but the strength of NP is we adapt to context and needs by listening to local people. The assessment team has identified key protection needs in Ukraine (detailed below) and is now in the second stage of assessment - seeking funding for this work.
“My husband broke his hip before the war. He can’t walk.
Tatiana and Konstantin, an elderly couple in Kharkiv
WE NEED YOU URGENTLY
The need for protection
Although the headlines are dominated by news of heavy shelling and of Russian troop movement, the conflict has created multi-faceted crises and widespread needs. Within these spaces, a need for protection is clear:
- Protection of children. There are reports of children being forced to move to Russia. Children are traveling through the country alone because they do not have parents who can accompany them to safety. The children's caretakers made a choice that, even though they would be vulnerable on their journey, it was safer than staying in a war zone. Finally, there are children who are institutionalized in orphanages or with disabilities who are stuck in active war zones and unable to flee.
- Protection of women and girls. There was already high incidence of sex trafficking in the region. But now, as women move through the country, while men stay behind to fight, they are at greater risk of sexual and gender-based violence and trafficking, especially when trying to cross the border and find safety.
- Protection of people with disabilities and illnesses and the elderly. There are many who are unable or unwilling to evacuate, especially those who are living in institutions or hospitals. Not only are they at risk of injury or death from the war, but also are struggling to find food or the medicine they need to survive.
- Protection within communities. Ukrainians have shared with us their concern over tensions rising within communities as the war drags on - especially the longer host communities in the West maintain support for millions of displaced families from the East. Without proactive relationships building and protection now, tensions rising in the future, coupled with the wide availability of weapons could lead to violence within local communities.
- Protection of the environment. War degrades the environment and the harm only worsens with the proliferation of weapons and militarization. In Ukraine, the harm to the environment could be catastrophic with the risk of attacks on nuclear and chemical facilities, use of cluster munitions, and unexploded ordnance (e.g. mines).
While every conflict and context is unique, these are protection needs that are familiar to NP and our work in violent areas around the world. Organizations in Ukraine are ready to work with NP when the funding is secured and begin providing protection together. We cannot stop a war alone, but we can stop harm to civilians where we are able to work in community.
We Support Civilians
Startup Director: Felicity Grey
Current Assessment Start: February 2022
First NP Presence: 2014
(June 1, OHCHR).
(June 2, UNHCR).
Supporting local efforts is essential
This summary of preliminary findings presents key conclusions from the assessment conducted in April 2022 by NP and makes recommendations on emergency and future protection programming in Ukraine.
This snapshot presents key conclusions from a rapid protection assessment
conducted in Kharkiv and Chuhuiv in May 2022 by NP. It
builds on analysis and recommendations published earlier in May 2022 as part of a
broader assessment of protection needs and responses in Ukraine.