February 23rd 2023
The Collegium Ramazzini joins its scientific colleagues around the world in condemning Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The Russian invasion is a violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter, which states that “all States have the obligation to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.”
The Collegium Ramazzini is an international scientific society that examines critical issues in occupational and environmental medicine with a view towards action to prevent disease and promote health. The Collegium derives its name from Bernardino Ramazzini, the father of occupational medicine, a professor of medicine of the Universities of Modena and Padua in the late 1600s and the early 1700s. The Collegium is comprised of 180 physicians and scientists from 35 countries, each of whom is elected to membership. The Collegium is independent of commercial interests.
The Collegium Ramazzini joins its scientific colleagues around the world in condemning Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The Russian invasion is a violation of Article 2 of the UN Charter, which states that “all States have the obligation to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.” Russia’s invasion has resulted in more than 100,000 military and an untold number of civilian deaths and injuries, and displaced over 12 million people. Attacks on civilian populations have destroyed more than 100,000 private homes, 15,000 apartment buildings, 1,118 schools, and 978 medical facilities. In addition, 27% of Ukraine is contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance, which will continue to pose hazards for decades.
As public health humanitarians, we condemn Russia’s acts of terror against civilians. In addition to Russia’s killing and injuring civilians with indiscriminate weapons and targeted attacks, we condemn the deliberate targeting of civilian energy and water infrastructure, destruction of schools and health-care facilities, use of sexual violence as a weapon, deportation of children, and atrocities committed against civilians in Bucha, Izium and elsewhere. We condemn the attempts to destroy Ukraine’s cultural heritage by destroying churches and museums and looting Ukrainian art and cultural artifacts.
As scientists investigating the interface of environmental pollution and human health, we condemn Russia for its devastating damage to Ukraine’s environment, including air, water, and soil pollution; conflict-related fires; toxic releases and spills; flooding of mines; and habitat and ecosystem destruction. The 1998 Statute of the International Criminal Court treats armed attacks that cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the environment as war crimes. We condemn Russia’s military seizure of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), the first-ever takeover of a nuclear power plant, which is prohibited by the Protocol 1 Amendment to the Geneva Conventions. The military takeover increases the risks radiation exposure to nuclear plant workers and the general population. A radiation release from the ZNPP as a result of military activities could spread over two million square kilometers and expose one million people to radiation.
As an academy of experts that promotes the fundamental right to a safe and healthful work environment, we condemn Russia for worsening economic instability in Ukraine. Nearly five million jobs have been lost since the war began and real wages have dropped by over 11%. Sixty percent of those who fled to other regions of Ukraine are still out of work. The war threatens to lower labor standards and has weakened enforcement of occupational regulations, creating unsafe working conditions that further jeopardize the security and safety of civilians at work.
As advocates for global health, we condemn Russia’s use of energy and food as weapons. Russia’s cutoff of oil and gas to Europe has resulted in an energy crisis and surge in fuel costs globally. Russia’s military takeover of Ukraine’s agricultural land, destruction of grain storage facilities, and impairment of shipments from Ukrainian seaports threatens the food security of 400 million people, especially in Africa and Asia. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in an estimated $2.8 trillion in lost global output by the end of 2022. These are funds that could have been used for health care, food security, and the climate crisis.
We insist that Russia immediately withdraw from Ukraine’s occupied territories and halt its aggression.
We urge the global community to support Ukraine in its post-war recovery and reconstruction.
The Collegium is committed to assist Ukraine in efforts to achieve lasting peace, health, and sustainable development.
The General Secretariat of the Collegium is located in the Castle of Bentivoglio, near Bologna.
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