2022 Right Livelihood Laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk.

Five ways to join Right Livelihood Laureates in standing up against Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine

News 22.02.2023

On the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we spotlight some brave and creative ways you can join Right Livelihood Laureates in actively standing against the aggression.

Are you doubting whether your actions or support can change anything? 2022 Right Livelihood Laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk from Ukraine shared some thoughts on this in her acceptance speech. “Common people have a much greater impact than they can even imagine,” she said. “Massive mobilisation of common people all around the world can change world history quicker than UN intervention.”

Help to ensure accountability for war crimes in Ukraine

2022 Right Livelihood Laureates Oleksandra Matviichuk and the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) from Ukraine are at the forefront of ground-breaking international efforts to ensure accountability for war crimes and other human rights violations in Ukraine.

Since the full-scale Russian invasion began on February 24, 2022, Matviichuk and CCL have been documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine. They aim to use this evidence to make Russian authorities and military personnel accountable before the International Criminal Court and ensure justice for all victims of crimes committed during this war. Documenting war crimes on the ground during the ongoing war is difficult and dangerous work, but you can join CCL in this vital mission by donating to the organisation.

Learn more about CCL’s work in Ukraine from their website and our interview with Matviichuk.

Demand that businesses and governments stop dealing with Russian energy companies

2021 Right Livelihood Laureate Vladimir Slivyak from Russia has been calling on the European Union to sanction Russia’s nuclear industry, which finances Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In this eye-opening op-ed, Slivyak explains that the Kremlin has earned several hundred billions of dollars in 2022 by selling fossil fuels to Europe, “a financial cushion that has allowed Moscow to fund its horrific war in Ukraine,” he wrote. He calls out a number of European countries for not moving to limit their cooperation with the Russian state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom.

Slivyak has also been exposing businesses that continue to work with Rosatom. In a recent initiative, Slivyak and Ecodefense, a Russian environmental organisation he co-chairs, joined advocacy efforts with a number of other NGO partners to urge Siemens Energy to stop all its business with Rosatom. “Any kind of business with Russian companies, especially in the energy sector, mean additional money for the regime and the war,” explained Slivyak in his address to Siemens Energy.

Are your government or businesses from your country still dealing with Russian energy companies? Follow the work of Vladimir Slivyak, get informed and demand an end to Russian energy dependency.

Support Ukrainian women and girls

During times of war and conflict, women and girls become particularly vulnerable to human rights violations and require targeted help that is sensitive to their needs. 2008 Laureate Monika Hauser and 2002 Laureate Kvinna till Kvinna are doing just that – responding to the war in Ukraine through a gender-sensitive lens.

Kvinna till Kvinna has supported women’s rights in Ukraine since 2014. The organisation headquartered in Sweden actively works with Ukrainian women because “horrifying testimonies of sexual abuse, assaults and rape show that we have not done enough, not by far, to prevent these war crimes from happening.” According to the organisation, survivors of rape and sexual abuse in Ukraine urgently need proper medical and phycological support , including access to abortion and contraception. Kvinna till Kvinna is trying to meet the needs of Ukrainian women and girls by increasing support to Ukrainian women’s rights NGOs working on the ground. So far, a number of organisations and individuals from Ukraine have received support from Kvinna till Kvinna’s emergency fund. You can also directly contribute to this fund.

Monika Hauser, a Germany-based gynaecologist who has treated thousands of survivors of wartime sexual violence, and her organisation medica mondiale are also providing essential support to female survivors of sexualized violence in Ukraine. One of their projects consists of providing coaching to activists and counsellors in Ukraine and neighbouring countries who work with survivors of gender-based violence. You can make a financial contribution, so they can continue providing this essential help and adapt it to current needs.

Do you work on your own project supporting the people of Ukraine? Make sure that you read the policy brief “A feminist response to Russia’s war in Ukraine” elaborated by Kvinna till Kvinna and include the particular needs of women and girls in your strategy!

Amplify the voices of the people of Ukraine

In January 2023, the 2004 Right Livelihood Laureate Memorial announced a new project titled “Voices of the War”, launched by Memorial Ukraine, also known as the Kharkiv Human Rights Group. Since the war started, hundreds of stories of Ukrainians have been video recorded and published in Ukrainian, English and Russian by Memorial Ukraine. With the support of Memorial branches in other European countries, these stories are being made available in Czech, Polish, French, Italian and Spanish languages.

“These are the stories of personal tragedies, losses, suffering from hunger and cold, from the loss of a home. At the same time, they are stories of resilience, brotherhood, mercy and humanity. It is often as important for these people to be heard as it is for us to hear them. After the interviews were recorded, their protagonists often expressed relief,” wrote Memorial when announcing the project on their social media.

Watch the stories, share them further and follow Memorial for more updates.

Send a support message to the detained Belarusian “railway partisans”

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 2020 Right Livelihood Laureate Viasna has been documenting cases of detention and ill-treatment of the so-called “Belarusian railway partisans.” As Viasna explains this act of civil disobedience, since the onset of the full scale invasion of Ukraine, including by Russian troops entering from Belarusian territory, a so-called “Rail War” has been unfolding in Belarus: to slow down and prevent the movement of Russian military equipment into Ukraine, Belarusians are disrupting the railway network. Despite the state considering such actions as acts of terrorism, sabotage of the railroad has continued to this day.

More than 11 “railway partisans” have been detained in Belarus since the war on Ukraine started. Viasna reports that in some cases, the security forces used lethal weapons during the arrest. A number of “railway partisans” have been already sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Thus, in a recent ruling, the court sentenced two young men to 22 years in prison.

Viasna, together with a number of other Belarusian human rights groups, classifies the detained “railway partisans” as political prisoners. In a joint statement, they argue that “by providing territory for the deployment and passage of Russian troops and thus participating in Russia’s illegal use of force against Ukraine Belarus violates international legal obligations.” They believe that Belarusian citizens, deprived of the opportunity to influence the decisions of the authorities by conventional means, are forced to seek effective means of influence, including measures of extreme necessity.

Viasna keeps record of all political prisoners in Belarus, including the “railway partisans”. You can send them a parcel as a message of support, even from abroad.

Media contacts

Emoke Bebiak

English, French & International Media

E-mail: emoke.bebiak@rightlivelihood.org
Phone: +41 (0)78 333 84 84

Nayla Azzinnari

Spanish Media

E-mail: nayla@rightlivelihood.org
Phone: +54 9 11 5460 9860

Nina Tesenfitz

German Media

E-mail: presse@rightlivelihood.org
Phone: +49 (0)170 5763 663

Sydney Nelson

Swedish Media

E-mail: sydney.nelson@rightlivelihood.org
Phone: +46 (0)73 043 13 01