IAFLL statement on Ukraine

The Executive Committee of the International Association for Forensic and Legal Linguistics strongly condemns President Putin’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. Despite international pleas for Russia to cease their hostilities, Russia’s indiscriminate bombardment and shelling of Ukraine continues to cause loss of innocent lives and the massive destruction of civilian infrastructure. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and raise our voice as a part of the international chorus of condemnation of this invasion and urge its immediate end.

As an organization specifically dedicated to the centrality of language to justice, we further deplore the Russian government’s recent enactment of a law that provides prison sentences for up to 15 years simply for speaking or writing anything that contradicts the Russian government’s official version of events in Ukraine. To silence the voices of the Russian people in whose name this invasion is ostensibly being carried out is yet another violation by the Russian government of basic principles of human rights.

Watching the immense suffering of the Ukrainian people under this invasion, we may feel helpless to do something. But this is not so. We can join the international community in speaking out forcefully to add our voices to the chorus of protest.  We also can take individual and collective action to address the suffering of the population of Ukraine, both within their nation and in countries that have welcomed refugees from the invasion. At the bottom of this statement, we have provided links to international organizations with longstanding records of successfully delivering humanitarian aid to those affected by or fleeing from war, violence, and natural disasters. They are all currently delivering medical aid, food, and emergency shelter to Ukrainian victims of this invasion both within Ukraine’s borders and to those sheltering as refugees in neighboring states. Tragically, war and violence throughout the world have created the largest number of displaced persons and refugees in human history—now over 80 million people. Contributing to these international organizations that provide desperately needed relief to victims of war, violence, and environmental catastrophe around the world is one concrete act that we can take to relieve the suffering both of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters and to our brothers and sisters worldwide.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (coordinating efforts of national Red Cross and Red Crescent chapters to provide refugee relief)

UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund, targeting relief to children impacted by war, displacement, and violence)

Doctors without Borders (providing direct medical care and medical relief supplies)

The International Rescue Committee (providing refugee aid and support)

CARE (providing resources for emergency food, medical care, and shelter in more than 100 countries)

All of these agencies are highly rated by Charity Navigator which assesses charities for transparency, logistical effectiveness, and in ensuring that the highest possible amount from donations go directly to help those in need.

We join in solidarity with those worldwide urging an immediate end to the bloodshed and destruction in Ukraine and to the promotion of peace and stability throughout the world.

IAFLL Executive Committee