Emmaus International

Statement of the Emmaus International Board - 18 March 2022

Over the past three weeks, an unjustified invasion of Ukrainian territory by the President of Russia has driven more than 3 million people into exile and led to an appalling loss of life every day.

As members of the Emmaus International Board, meeting in Paris from 14 - 18 March 2022, we express our full support for all the victims of this war and we commend the solidarity demonstrated tirelessly by our groups in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.

With its presence in 41 countries, our movement has been working with the most excluded populations, and particularly war victims, since its origins. We know that it is essential to take immediate and practical action, but we have also learned from experience that we must remain vigilant to ensure we provide help that is truly useful. Therefore, we must implement our solidarity actions with those directly affected by the conflict.

We call on States to shoulder their responsibilities. They cannot rely solely on the solidarity of civil society and must make the necessary resources available to open their arms to anyone fleeing this conflict, without discrimination. The acceptance of Ukrainian refugees does not diminish the duty of governments to provide a dignified welcome to all exiled populations. This must be reiterated.

Moreover, the impact of this war is already being felt in several countries beyond Europe and will, once again, lead to drastic consequences for the poorest people. Our international solidarity should make it possible to support the most vulnerable populations worldwide, and the spirit of welcoming and solidarity shown by our groups during this war should be the norm in all crises.

There are never any winners in war. In addition to responding to emergencies, it is our duty to work towards building a world of peace and solidarity with all civil society actors.

"In reality, a victory achieved through war is always a failure, even for those who achieved victory by freeing the victim from the aggressor. It remains a failure of humanity. It has not been possible to achieve this justice through reason or dialogue, or by means of those in authority. (…) The only true value is peace."
Abbé Pierre, Emmaus International Information Letter, special issue, February 1991

Photo: Ken Fitzpatrick