The ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Kremlin forces is another dark story and an unpopular song in the history of Europe. It is a strong reminder that our world is not yet a safe place to live.
The numbers of deaths, casualties, and refugees are mounting
Monitored reports as of Sunday 03-15-2022 estimated over 1,500 civilian deaths, 43 kids inclusive and many thousands more injured in Ukraine's besieged city of Mariupol since the start of the Russian invasion, a Ukrainian state information agency reported. Other monitoring agencies "believes that the real figures are considerably higher."
It was also estimated that over 5,000 Russian troops have been killed or captured while the UN is expecting refugees of up to 4 million Ukrainians in nearby countries. Infrastructures worth billions of Dollars that took years to build are being brought down by dangerous missiles in less than an hour.
The world is still placated and at the tipping edge of acts of terror, war, famine, environmental degradation, human rights violations and other atrocities that are not beautiful to mention for the stage of development human evolution have gone through particularly, the 21st century.
The peace envisaged by the United Nations and other stakeholders are still elusive and unfortunate in the light of recent developments and international politics.
The nations are at war and destruction is at bay waiting for any slightest provocation to unload on innocent citizens. Countries are voting more budget to militarization, acquisition and development of ballistic weapons of warfare; military drills are now the order of the day from Russia to China, and the US. North Korea is constantly testing hypersonic and long-range war equipment in anticipation of an unknown war with neighbours like South Korea and Japan.
Sustained crisis in so many places
There are sustained and varying levels of conflicts taking place from Jerusalem to Lebanon, Kabul, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Congo, Iran, etc, genocides, ethnic cleansing, terror, guerilla warfares, coup de tats, and violations of countries' sovereignty now fuels potential large scale crisis in regions of the world.
When there is armed conflict, it is the civilians that first bear the brunt of such altercations with combatants targeting women, children, the sick, and the fragile.
According to the UN Security Council Resolution 1265 conflicts is a major threat to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, because when there are conflict civilians are displaced and are the casualties from such armed conflicts.
The actors in conflict over the years have been found violating the international laws that guide the protection of civilians caught within the crossfire of conflicts and wars. The basic principle of humanity demands respect, responsibility, protection, and care for each other as human beings.
The Fourth Geneva Convention was adopted in 1949
The brutality pattern of World War II, which was characterised by mass executions, indiscriminate attacks, deportations, hostage-taking, pillage, and internment negatively impacted civilian lives. To mitigate future reoccurrence of such devastation led the International community to the adoption of the Fourth Geneva Convention in 1949.
The International Humanitarian Law (IHL) thus provides that civilians under the power of enemy forces must be treated humanely in all circumstances, without any adverse distinction. They must be protected against all forms of violence and degrading treatment, including murder and torture. Moreover, in case of the prosecution, they are entitled to a fair trial affording all essential judicial guarantees.
The IHL reserves special concerns for women and children, the aged and sick that are highly vulnerable during armed conflict. So also those who flee their homes and become internally displaced or refugees. IHL prohibits forced displacements by intimidation, violence, or starvation.
The place of caution amid the crises
In the context of the brewing war between Russia and Ukraine or Europe at large, caution and respect for the IHL and the United Nations resolution should be upheld by all actors. The use of nuclear warheads and weapons of mass destruction will further constitute a setback to the covenants of environmental sustainability agreed to at COP26.
We appeal to world leaders and other stakeholders to be cautious and tread cautiously because there is no other planet designed for the absolute survival of human beings. Robots and other AI machines are not to populate and develop our world but humans.
It is therefore very important for the aggressive agitators of armed conflict, terror, and autocracy from Kremlin to Kyiv, Jerusalem to Lebanon, Somali to Ethiopia, Yemen, Northern Nigeria, and Colombia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Mali, Libya, etc to sheath their swords, stop fanning the embers of the destruction of children, women and the defenceless but rather embrace diplomacy as an end to their grievances.
IMAGE SOURCE: UNSPLASH