SIIA joins the global community in standing with the people of Ukraine and condemning the unprovoked, illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The horrific acts being committed by the Russian government against the people and sovereign nation of Ukraine will stand among the worst crimes against humanity in mankind’s sordid history of war and conflict. We applaud the Biden administration and free nations around the world for taking strong and targeted measures to support the Ukrainian people in their heroic fight for freedom and self-determination.
As governments around the world continue these efforts, we urge caution as some consider measures to disrupt or prevent access to the internet by the Russian people. We fear such actions will undermine critical efforts to organize opposition to the war, disseminate first-person accounts of atrocities committed by the Russian military and acts of bravery conducted by Ukrainians, and supply food, medical and other assistance to distressed communities. Few among us have been unmoved by the viral videos enabled by access to social media platforms and the internet: The defiant speeches by President Zelenskyy. The brave individual acts of national defense including standing in the path of Russian tanks. The inhumane bombings of hospitals, schools and residential neighborhoods by the Russian aggressors. The strength of the indefatigable human spirit as expressed by the young girl singing a Disney classic while seeking safety in an air raid shelter.
Repressing internet access to Russian citizens will unintentionally bolster efforts by the Russian government to suppress the truth and censor efforts to report openly and honestly about Ukraine to citizens in Russia and around the world. Indeed, disrupting, restricting or preventing access all together goes against democratic principles of an open and free internet and runs counter to SIIA’s historic and continuing support for free speech.
The debate over restricting internet access to Russian citizens underscores the need to ensure democratic values underpin global digital regulation. We must fight for a free and open internet as authoritarian regimes around the world seek to use the power of digital connectivity to suppress their people and promote propaganda. The events in Ukraine further demonstrate the need for U.S. leadership on global digital regulation as well as alignment with our democratic allies.
SIIA has made a donation to World Central Kitchen and #ChefsForUkraine as they serve thousands of fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing their homes as well as those still in the country. We are proud of our many members who are providing substantial support to assist the people of Ukraine and are working tirelessly to help secure the safety of their employees and their families in the country. Examples include:
- Adobe is helping with humanitarian efforts, including a series of grants from the Adobe Foundation totaling over $1 million.
- Meta is taking extensive steps to fight the spread of misinformation and helping humanitarian organizations spread their message through free advertising across its platforms.
- Google and its employees have made substantial monetary donations. In addition, Google is helping trusted humanitarian and intergovernmental organizations connect people to important sources of aid and resettlement information.
- Pearson committed over $1 million to charities that support humanitarian relief and is actively supporting Ukrainian employees and their families.
- RELX is donating to the UNICEF Ukraine appeal. In addition, RELX is supporting team members in Russia, who continue to work under challenging circumstances and is providing tools to help Ukrainian citizens document potential evidence of war crimes using their smartphones, along with other tools.
- Wiley has pledged $1 million to UNICEF, The International Rescue Committee and other humanitarian organizations.
- Cengage is supporting their partners in Ukraine and limiting services business with Russia.
For SIIA members and others seeking to provide support for the Ukrainian people, below is a list of organizations, compiled and vetted by the American Society of Association Executives, providing assistance and a measure of relief to people in Ukraine and beyond:
UNICEF supports health, nutrition, safe drinking water, sanitation and protection for children and families caught in the conflict in Ukraine.
MSF conducts a range of activities in Ukraine to help people travel to health care facilities and access prescribed medications.
ICRC helps people affected by the war, supports the work of the Ukrainian Red Cross, and serves as a vigilant protector of civilians caught in armed conflict zones.
The London-based organization delivers essential humanitarian aid to vulnerable children in Ukraine and around the world.
The international organization provides emergency assistance to families in Ukraine, including cash assistance and opportunities for resettlement.
The charitable foundation of this organization provides psychological and psychosocial support to children affected by the Ukrainian conflict.