“We stand in solidarity with you,” the women MPs of the newly-created Women@PACE group declared, welcoming their Ukrainian counterparts at a first ever meeting of the group in Strasbourg on 15 March 2022.
They paid tribute to the outstanding courage and strength of women in Ukraine, and more particularly the women members of the Ukrainian delegation to the Assembly, led by their Chairperson Mariia Mezentseva, who attended the PACE Extraordinary plenary Session.
Members present also launched a pressing appeal to all women to act as “ambassadors for peace” and to support the struggle of Ukrainian women to “live their lives again”. However greater empowerment is needed to ensure women’s involvement in the peace process and at the negotiation table, they added.
During the exchange of views a number of specific support activities were mentioned, such as collecting humanitarian aid, increasing refugee protection, organising debates in national parliaments and assisting local NGOs, especially those working on the ground. Strong support was given to the “Stand up Ukraine” NGO, represented by Gratia Ionescu.
The different activities being promoted by the members of the Women@PACE group in their home countries and parliaments will be channelled together under the umbrella of a wider awareness campaign: #Women@PACE4WomenofUkraine.
Recognising the role Russian women can play in stopping the war, the Women@PACE group appealed to them to show solidarity with women in Ukraine and to speak out against the war.
The meeting brought together half of the 245 or so women represented in the Assembly. Women@PACE is a cross-party group which offers the women MPs of the Assembly an opportunity to channel initiatives, launch debates, co-ordinate and discuss in an informal way.