The world is suffering, once again, from yet another war between neighboring peoples. The absence of diplomacy and the lack of dialogue have led humanity to yet another bloody conflict, with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
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 International General Council met in Paris (France) on March 5, 2022 and expressed its solidarity to the people of Ukraine and deplores all the human suffering caused by this senseless war.
Through the following resolution, the International General Council gives the following guidance to its National and Superior Councils, Conferences, and members with regard to their response to this crisis:
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 and the CGI will explore how best to assist them directly). Therefore, 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 more than 1 million displaced persons), the burden of receiving them falls on neighboring countries, particularly Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. The International General Council intends to redirect part of the funds from the FIS Appeal to support the National Councils of the SSVP in those four countries to enable them to respond to 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 International General Council proposes that, while this conflict continues, all Conference meetings should include a special prayer for those suffering in the Ukraine and for a speedy end to hostilities as well as a prayer for the victims of violence and injustice everywhere. Members should include this intention in their personal prayer. We pray with Pope Francis and with the Worldwide Vincentian Family that Mary, Queen of Peace, preserve the world from the madness of war.
Resolution # 4
The International General Council 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 its 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 collaboration with the Vincentian Family, the Church and other humanitarian organizations to better serve our brothers and sisters.
Council General International
Paris, 5 March 2022