“It is urgent to stop the indiscriminate massacre of civilians.”
“This dramatic news leaves Caritas family horrified and shocked. We join in grief and solidarity the suffering of the families and our colleagues of Caritas Ukraine who are living a tragedy”. With these words, the secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, Aloysius John, expresses the sorrow of the Confederation to the news of the death of two female staff members of Caritas Ukraine Mariupol. It has been known only in the past few hours, but the tragic attack probably took place on the 15th of March, when a tank fired shots at the building of the Caritas centre in Mariupol, killing the two staff members and five of their relatives. At this moment, due to the absence of communication with the city of Mariupol and the lack of access to the premises of the Caritas centre, Caritas Ukraine national office does not yet have sufficient elements to determine what happened and is still collecting information. Presumably, Caritas staff and their family took refuge in the centre during the shelling.
“Caritas Internationalis reiterates its incessant appeal for peace, as we have been doing for 48 days now,” adds John. “The ‘martyrdom’ in Ukraine, as Pope Francis has called it, must stop, and it must stop now. The international community must do the impossible to stop this massacre immediately. Peace must be given a chance. Armed conflict and violence are not the solution. Human lives must be safeguarded and human dignity upheld. Safety of the civilians must be ensured”.
Caritas organisations also condemn the widespread violation of the international humanitarian law in several areas of Ukraine.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the two Caritas organisations present in Ukraine, Caritas Ukraine and Caritas-Spes Ukraine, have stood by the people, and so far, also with the cooperation of the Caritas Confederation, they have provided around 600,000 people with lifesaving humanitarian assistance. “Caritas organisations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries continue to provide life-saving assistance to the population in the country and to the refugees fleeing the war.
We are deeply grateful to all Caritas workers and volunteers who continue unceasingly to serve people in need, even at the risk of their own lives,” adds Aloysius John.
The president of Caritas Ukraine, Tetiana Stawnychy, asks for special attention in memory of the victims. “We need your solidarity and prayers for the families of the victims, for the community of Caritas Mariupol, and the community of Caritas Ukraine.”
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