25 February 2022
South Africa: Take action against the Russian Federation. An unjust aggressor
This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15
The aggressive and immoral attack on Ukraine by The Russian Federation must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It is an outright affront on human dignity and morally reprehensible. War always causes a devastating loss of life, livelihoods, displacement, and destroys infrastructure. The peace of the whole continent of Europe is under threat, and the entire world will be poorer and affected by this imperialist invasion. This is not just an act of readjusting neighbourly borders to some previous state imagined by the Russian President or assuring Moscow’s protection of Russian ethnic citizens within Ukraine. It is an affront to the international community and a breach of the peace agreed upon at the end of the Second World War. It is the first step in the imperialist fantasy of a demagogue. Ukraine today, who will it be tomorrow, the Baltic States or Poland? This must be stopped.
The Jesuit Institute urges the South African Government to take concrete action immediately. As a member of the BRICS community, South Africa, like other members, has an even more urgent responsibility to denounce the aggression of President Vladimir Putin. We urge our Government to tell the Russian President, in no uncertain terms, to stop his onslaught and immediately seek resolution through dialogue. While the South African Government has called on Putin to withdraw his forces, this is not enough. We call on the South African Government to condemn Russia’s total disregard for international law, to impose sanctions with immediate effect, to withdraw South African support, and to cut diplomatic ties with the Putin regime. The hard-fought-for democracy in our own country should make South Africa particularly aware of the importance of respecting the integrity of democratic and sovereign states.
Power-hungry and corrupt politicians make decisions that destroy the lives of millions of men, women and children. The atrocities of war scar people forever and have long-term material, psychological and spiritual effects on the progress of peoples. We cannot remain silent; our own moral integrity is at stake if we do not condemn such evil. Let us be clear: war is evil. It is a radical violation of God’s will.
The Jesuit Institute expresses our concern, care and support for the people of Ukraine who live in terror at what is happening around them. Be assured of our prayers for your nation. We pray too for those peace-loving Russians who are protesting their own Government’s actions.
We also pledge our support to the call from Pope Francis for a global day of prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday, 2 March 2022. We call on all people of goodwill who deplore violence and destruction, who have a moral conscience, to join the Holy Father and the global community in praying for peace – especially in Ukraine.
For more information:
Fr Russell Pollitt, SJ
+27 11 482 4237 or +27 82 737 2054
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