Dear ESGO friends and colleagues,
In the face of indescribable military actions by the Russian and Belarus regimes towards the democratic country of Ukraine and its citizens, ESGO, with this open letter, expresses its full support, empathy and solidarity towards our friends, colleagues and the people of Ukraine.
Our scientific community strongly believes in cooperation, dialogue, tolerance, mutual help, and democracy. We condemn the brutal invasion of Ukraine, the killing of its citizens, and the arbitrary arrests of protesters in Russia and Belarus. As a European patient-centred society, we stand up for human rights, freedom and democracy and call on all stakeholders to do the same.
In these difficult times, our thoughts go first to our gynaecological oncology patients in the war zones, who now fight not only against cancer but face a new additional barrier, accessing treatment in a war situation. Our thoughts also go to our members and colleagues in Ukraine, offering what help we can in this situation, and to all the people of Ukraine affected by the war and fighting for freedom. Finally, our thoughts are also with our dear colleagues in Russia and Belarus, who are forced to watch, powerless to help in the face of government-initiated aggression, which is against their and our principles.
We are physicians and scientists, not politicians or diplomats, but the current situation impacts all of us as citizens of Europe and members of the ESGO family. With sadness, we acknowledge that the current situation prevents us from continuing activities in cooperation with Russia and Belarus on a national representative level.
ESGO will now not organise any ESGO events in Russia or Belarus, and our council members will not accept invitations to serve as speakers in these countries. Also, ESGO will suspend institutional accreditations in Russia and Belarus.
As a scientific and medical organisation, ESGO understands that Russian and Belarusian aggression is leading to the collateral damage that is being experienced by gynaecological cancer patients and their providers of care in these regions. Therefore, ESGO will not prevent individual support to Russian and Belarusian colleagues accessing important medical information or sharing medical knowledge. We trust that our friends and colleagues in Russia and Belarus, who condemn this war, will understand and support the approach ESGO has taken.
Through this statement and our actions, we are demonstrating our solidarity with friends, colleagues, families, and patients impacted by this terrible humanitarian tragedy. We join others in submitting our plea to stop this war and respect democracy and international humanitarian law.
ESGO council members
Nicole Concin, Austria / Germany, President, Anna Fagotti, Italy, President-Elect
Mansoor Raza Mirza, Denmark, Vice President, Philippe Morice, France, Past President,
Luis Chiva, Spain, Ane Gerda Eriksson, Norway, Daniela Fischerova, Czech Republic,
Viola Heinzelmann-Schwarz, Switzerland, Domenica Lorusso, Italy, Maja Pakiz, Slovenia,
Jan Persson, Sweden, Isabelle Ray-Coquard, France, Jalid Sehouli, Germany,
Artem Stepanyan, Armenia, Ignacio Zapardiel, Spain, Nadeem Abu-Rustum, USA,
Petra Adamkova, Czech Republic, Nicolò Bizzarri, Italy, Murat Gultekin, Turkey, and Jonathan Ledermann, UK, Past Vice President,