The world is in intense turmoil. Day after day, the Ukraine crisis sends shocking reminders that peace and stability cannot be taken for granted. We must work collectively to uphold peace, democracy and human rights. Cooperation Canada urges Canada to continue to deploy its feminist leadership in its response to the crisis resulting from the attack on the sovereign territory of Ukraine. We call on Canada to continue to address humanitarian needs, contribute to peace processes, and stand up for democracy and human rights.  

As casualties, suffering, and destruction increase, upholding the principles of International Humanitarian Law remains a top priority. This encompasses safeguarding all civilians, regardless of race, colour, religion or national origin, who are forced to flee or remain in Ukraine, protecting civilian infrastructure, and guaranteeing that humanitarian organizations have unobstructed access to people at risk. With mainly women, children, and the elderly on the move, the needs of those escaping the horrors of war are diverse. There are already distressing reports of human trafficking and Russian soldiers using sexual violence as a weapon of war. Canada must stand firm in its condemnation of such acts and take appropriate action to ensure safety for all.  

The needs of Ukrainians are here and now, but the effects of the crisis are spreading and will be felt in the years to come. Conversely, the dividends of peacebuilding are long-lasting. As Canada articulates its feminist foreign policy, the approach must be comprehensive, coherent, and robust. Humanitarian assistance, peace-building efforts and long-term development funding should draw on Canada’s legacy of championing women as rightful leaders with proper representation at political tables and in consolidating peace and security. Supporting Ukrainian national and local civil society – who are on the frontlines of the humanitarian response to this crisis – is critical.   

The ripple effects of the war in Ukraine are hitting those in precarious socio-economic situations harder. As these impacts increase, our attention and financial commitments to alleviating human suffering and addressing other crises cannot decrease. We welcome Budget 2022’s significant support for Ukraine. Nevertheless, it is imperative that resources are not diverted from other global hotspots. Canada must remain steadfast in its support for countries such as Afghanistan and Yemen, among others, and for the crises resulting from conflict, the global COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Canada can lead the way and use its global voice to encourage the international community to do the same.