To the board of Amnesty International from Ukrainian civil society

To the board of Amnesty International from Ukrainian civil society

21,093 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!

Why this petition matters

Started by Maksym Eristavi

To the international board of Amnesty International

We, the civil society of Ukraine, activists, volunteers, journalists and human rights defenders, are outraged by a series of irresponsible steps by Amnesty International, which put our lives and the lives of millions of other Ukrainians in even greater danger amid the ongoing russian aggression. We demand the immediate resignation of the Secretary General of Amnesty International Agnes Callamard, other employees of the organization responsible for the incident, as well as making a series of steps to prevent a similar situation from happening again in the future.

We, the civil society of Ukraine, activists, volunteers, journalists, and human rights defenders, have been working tirelessly to promote and establish the rule of law, human rights equality and sovereignty of Ukraine. We were at the forefront of the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 to defend the right to live in a democratic and free Ukraine without police violence and restrictions on basic human rights. Despite constant persecution, we believed in what we were doing and step by step we’ve built a democratic country where the rule of law and equality of our rights are gaining universal respect. Our campaigns against corruption, police violence, hate crimes, gender and queer equality, environmental destruction, journalistic investigations, advocacy for reforms, creation of artistic and educational projects, volunteering - this was not just our job, but our calling.

With the beginning of the full-scale war of russia against Ukraine, we did not stop. We keep doing what we do even when it seems impossible. Neither constant air raid alarms, nor sleepless nights in bomb shelters, nor shelling of Ukrainian cities, nor terrible war crimes committed by russia on the occupied Ukrainian territories stopped us. We lose relatives, loved ones and friends, we are forced to leave our homes and everything we owned behind, but we still continue to believe in Ukraine and our cause. We evacuate people from the frontline, help refugees, collect funds to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine, document war crimes, inform the world about events in our country, go to protests around the world so that Ukrainian voices are not forgotten and ignored during the genocide. We believe in Ukraine and that justice and the rule of law will prevail.

That is why the latest Amnesty International report, which accuses Ukraine of endangering the lives of its own citizens, is nothing more than a spit in the face of Ukrainian people who risk their lives every day. Arguments about impartiality or neutrality make no sense, given that the report completely ignores the Ukrainian military and humanitarian context. In addition, Amnesty International's failure to explain the research methodology and provide meaningful evidence further undermined the security of millions of Ukrainians and gave the aggressor a powerful formal and ideological justification for further war crimes. The text of the report clearly shifts responsibility to those who defend themselves. This victim-blaming has nothing to do with the protection of human rights. The report drew widespread criticism from leaders of the Ukrainian state, journalists, human rights defenders, as well as a wide range of international politicians, activists and leading experts in international law. The volume of such professional and impartial criticism, and not only from Ukrainians, is already impossible to ignore.

We are also outraged that Amnesty International's leadership ignored the opinion and expertise of its own Ukrainian team, and published the report against their protest - irresponsibly exposing Ukrainian staff and our colleagues to greater danger and undermining their work to document russian war crimes.

Separately, we would like to mention the tweet of the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard, in which she dehumanized a wide range of Ukrainian society, and anyone who criticized the report, calling us "trolls" and "bots." Apart from an undisguised colonial disdain for the opinion of Ukrainian civil society, this is also an act of humiliation from a person who dismisses indigenous criticism from the safety and comfort of their western office. The head of an international human rights organization has no right to fundraise in the name of Ukraine while refusing to hear and understand Ukrainians. This is a sign of a lack of compassion. A sign of incompetence. A sign of ignorance about who human rights organizations should really serve with their work.

Amnesty International has a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of the Ukrainian civil society and serve as an example to other international organizations on how to address public criticism responsibly. A series of concrete and urgent steps can ensure that and illustrate accountability and truly represent the values at the heart of the human rights movement worldwide. 

Therefore, we, the civil society of Ukraine, demand the immediate resignation of the Secretary General of Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard, and other staff members responsible for the report, as well as a public internal investigation within the organization to fix the organizational culture and prevent a similar grave incident from happening again in the future.


The initiative group of Ukrainian civil society:

Maksym Eristavi, journalist and the chair of the KyivPride Managing Board
Dmytro Bulakh; Chairman of Board, Kharkiv Anticorruption Center
Andriy Zagorodnyuk, Chairman, Centre for Defence Strategies
Aivaras Abromavicius, Chairman, Ukrainian Corporate Governance Academy
Alina Sviderska, President of the Cambridge Society of Ukraine
Volodymyr Sheiko, General Director of the Ukrainian Institute
Kostiantyn Lisnychyi, Chairman of the Professional Government Association of Ukraine
Victoria Voytsitska, Chairman of the Board “National Educational Association”
Denys Savchenko, Head of the Board, NGO “CRIMEASOS”
Katerina Sergatskova, the editor-in-chief of Zaborona Media
Vadim Geshel, Leleka Foundation
Andriy Tymoshenko, President, Oxford University Society Ukraine
Oleg Savytskyi, NGO “One Planet”
Olena Shevchenko, Head of Insight public organization
Maksym Budyuka, Director NGO “Protego”
Yuliya Dupeshko-Dzhus, Head of NGO “Steps to the future”
Iryna Fedorovych, Director at NGO “Social Action Centre”
Yuliia Sachuk, head of the Ukrainian NGO of people with disabilities “Fight For Right”
Rostyslav Milevskyi, Director of a human rights organization "Gender Zed"
Yana Salakhova, Head of the NGO “Theater of changes”
Marta Chumalo, vice-head Center "Women's perspectives"
Volskyi Valeriy, Head of the NGO “Country of free people”
Anzhelika Lyakh, Head of NGO “Hear of East”
Vyazmina Yuliya, NGO “Shlyakhom Yednosti”
Vira Chernyhina, Anastasia Popova, Anna Sharyhina, NGO “Sfera”
Vasyl Malikov, Chairman of the Board at NGO “Spektr Kharkiv”
Marina Hlushko, Head of NGO “Muzeinyi Pidryad”
Lenny Emson, Oleksandra Maltseva, Onipko Olha, Potapovych Maks, KyivPride
Anna Zyablikova, co-coordinator at KharkivPride
Yakiv Rybkin, co-founder of “Vorozhba”
Taisiia Gerasymova, Insight NGO
Iryna Troian, Chair of the NGO Ultima Ratio
Daria Ivanovych , ngo Plai (Vinnytsia, Ukraine)
Kateryna Zalizniak, recruiting researcher, Lobby X
Semenova Oleksandra, coordinator of NGO “Ty ne odyn” (“You are not alone”)
Lyubov Galan, Head of NGO “Frontline.Care”
Borys Hrachov, Head of National paralegals network
Roman Marchenko, program director of “ALLIANCE.GLOBAL”
Dmitryyeva Svitlana, Chairman of Board at NGO “Innovatsiina Diya”
Serebnyuk Natalya, coordinator at “Kulturnyi Shok”
Anastasia Chebotaryova, “Feministychna Lozha”
Serhiy Burov, Educational Human Rights House - Chernihiv, executive director
Oleg Alyokhin, Head of NGO “LGBT Association Liga”
Dmytro Naumenko, NGO “MART”
Korniyeva Alina, smm-coordinator of project “Different.Equal” by National Democratic Institute of Ukraine
Oleksandr Vytvitskyi, deputy director, Gender Zed
Kateryna Demerza, communications, NGO Renovation Map
Kalinina Anzhela, human rights activist, Tergo organization member
Buradzhyyeva Valeriya, curator at Milvus Artistic Research Center
Olga Malashenko, tv producer Teen Spirit Production
Oleksandra Amelchenko, project manager at Ukrainian NGO New format of Education
Shkurenko Ludmyla, Director at CF “Ukrainski Dobrodiyi”
Lavrienova Lesya, Tkids moderator and first Trans girl on commanding pos in ua army
Daryna Zarzhytska. Educational Center for Human Rights in Lviv, CEO
Yuri Frank, former social media manager in Amnesty International Ukraine, LGBTQ+ activist
Anna Leonova, Executive director at NGO “Gay-alliance of Ukraine”
Oleksandra Amelchenko, project manager at Ukrainian NGO New format of Education

Expert resource "Gender in detail"
Fridrich Chenyshov, Executive director at NGO “Trans generation”
Svitlana Dubina, Chairman of the Board NGO “Vis’”
Romanchuk Ruslana, community manager of charity fund “Your support”
Anastasia Kharina, Deputy Chair at NGO “Platforma actyvnosti”

21,093 have signed. Let’s get to 25,000!