The world is suffering, once again, from yet another war between neighboring peoples. The absence of diplomacy and lack of dialogue have led humanity to yet another bloody conflict, with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia a few days ago.
From the beginning, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul International has been in contact with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, trying to seek for information. The priority at this moment is to assess the most urgent needs and to find the safest ways to send the aid to them.
The Board of the Council General International, meeting in Paris (France) on March 5, 2022, expresses its full solidarity to the people of Ukraine and deplores all the human suffering caused this no sense war.
The Council General International gives the following guidance to its National and Superior Councils, Conferences, and members as to their response to this crisis through the following resolutions:
Resolution # 1
While appreciating the desire of the international Society to respond generously to this grave humanitarian crisis, the CGI proposes that no aid or materials should be sent directly to the Ukraine at this time. The SSVP is quite small there (just 4 Conferences which CGI will explore how best to assist directly). Rather those wishing to help should send contributions to the General Appeal for the SSVP Fund for International Solidarity (FIS) which is currently open. Please, see details of how to contribute to the FIS Appeal on https://www.ssvpglobal.org/fund-for-international-solidarity-annual-appeal-2022/
Resolution # 2
With the expected exodus of people from Ukraine (estimated currently at 1 million displaced persons), the burden of receiving them falls on neighboring countries, particularly Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. The Council General International intends to redirect part of the funds from the FIS Appeal to support to the National Councils of the SSVP in those four countries to enable them to respond as the problems encountered on the ground. More than likely this will be humanitarian aid such as food, clothing, medical supplies but our fellow members in situ will be better placed to decide this. Our Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD) and International Twinning Commission (ITC), in close collaboration with the International Structure, are oriented to help to assess the most appropriate forms of aid in conjunction with the National Councils concerned.
Resolution # 3
The naked aggression of the invasion of Ukraine has shocked the entire world. Unfortunately, the ordinary people of the country are those who will suffer most. They are in the thoughts and prayers of SSVP members throughout the world. The Council General International proposes that at all Conference meetings while this conflict continues would include a special prayer for those suffering in the Ukraine and for a speedy end to hostilities, and for the victims of violence and injustice everywhere. Members might remember this intention in their personal prayer also. We pray with Pope Francis and with all Vincentian Family that Mary, Queen of Peace, preserve the world from the madness of war.
Resolution # 4
The Council General International will provide all the material and institutional support possible to the National Councils in countries neighboring the conflict to help them implement the emergency and humanitarian initiatives that must be undertaken to receive the Ukrainian refugees who are being pressured to leave their beloved country to flee the war, in search of survival for their families. The SSVP will do everything in our power to welcome, with dignity and charity, these displaced brothers and sisters who are on their way from several European countries bordering Ukraine. In this work of welcome, the SSVP will act in straight collaboration with the Vincentian Family, the Holy Church and other humanitarian organizations to better serve our brothers and sisters.
Council General International
Paris, 5 March 2022