The Babyn Yar Memorial Center and The HALO Trust
The Babyn Yar Memorial Center
The Babyn Yar Memorial Center in Ukraine features a memorial designed to commemorate the 33,700 Jews who lost their life at the September 1941 massacre, widely regarded to be one of the most violent events to take place during the entirety of the holocaust.
The Center’s ongoing work to maintain the memorial, preserve the testimony of survivors and develop education programmes is of crucial importance to prevent history from repeating itself. A recent Russian airstrike near the Center, which claimed five lives and destroyed a building intended to be used as a museum building, put the memorial on the world stage.
Given the political, historical and humanitarian significance of the site, the attack was condemned as a war crime; targeting cultural property is recognised as illegal under Article 38 of the Geneva Convention.
The Halo Trust and its work in Ukraine
When conflict takes place, land is often littered with landmines and other dangerous explosives, leaving families living in fear. Founded in 1988, humanitarian organisation The Halo Trust (Halo) has been instrumental in helping war-torn communities recover by removing these landmines, earning worldwide recognition after Lady Diana famously walked through a minefield in Angola.
In addition to removing landmines, Halo map and mark dangerous areas, using machinery to help clear battlefields and buildings damaged in the fighting. The organisations also delivers risk education, helping locals and children, understand how to stay safe.
In 2014 Halo had more than 7,000 staff working in 17 countries; today it has programmes in 28 countries and territories across the world and has been helping to make communities safe in eastern Ukraine since 2016.
In total, there has been eight years of conflict in eastern Ukraine so far, with HALO recording nearly 2,000 casualties as the result of landmines and explosives. HALO employs 430 local men and women in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, many of whom come from mined communities, to remove hundreds of explosive items, including landmines to cluster bombs, from agricultural land and forests. With access restricted to industrial cities, for life to begin again, its important to make sure villages surrounding these areas can start to recover. This work has become all the more vital in the face of the recent escalation of hostilities.
HOW WE HELP
Part of the firm’s core values include doing things right – something that finds expression through our commitment to supporting social causes. Therefore in light of these tragic events BDB Pitmans will be supporting through its charitable trust not only the work of the Memorial Center and the HALO Trust but also the Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal which has been established in partnership with the Disasters Emergency Committee. If you would like to support with the humanitarian relief effort in Ukraine please do consider donating to either the Humanitarian Appeal or the HALO Trust’s Ukraine Crisis Fund.