UNHCR: Ukraine crisis debunks many myths about refugees

November 27, 2022

“The Ukrainian crisis has debunked a lot of myths that have been circulating in the mouths of some European politicians for many years.” This, speaking on Monday in Geneva, said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

“They said: “Europe is overcrowded!”, “Public opinion is opposed to accepting new refugees!”, “Migrants must be stopped!” reminded the High Commissioner. – Yes, even last year it seemed to many that Europe was not able to cope with several dozen migrants who landed from a boat and help for children in Ukraine. Nevertheless, seven million [Ukrainian refugees this year] received a decent welcome and proper protection.”

The Program Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (ExCom) meets annually in Geneva to review and approve programs and budgets, as well as to consult with intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

Speaking at the Committee meeting on Monday, Filippo Grandi noted that in today’s complex and rapidly changing world, all stakeholders need to work together.

As we speak here, my colleagues report horrific attacks on civilian infrastructure in Kyiv, Dnipro, Lvov, Zaporozhye, Chernihiv, Odessa, and other cities.

Refugees, mostly women with children, arrive at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland on Sunday, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

“Unfortunately, the international community has proved completely incapable of keeping the peace and preventing even predictable disasters,” said the High Commissioner. “We have not been able to share vaccines fairly, nor have we been able to reduce the risks of the current climate emergency. We have failed to mobilize financial resources and political capital to avoid much greater spending in the future.”

The consequences of inaction have been severe, Grandi continued, especially for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

“The pandemic, climate change, conflict and now the cost of living crisis are forcing people to leave their homes,” said the High Commissioner. “The demand for UNHCR assistance has never been so great, while the space for finding solutions has never been so narrow.”

Returning to the topic of the war in Ukraine, Filippo Grandi stressed that after almost eight months since the start of the conflict, people’s lives and civilian infrastructure are being subjected to “unforgivable destruction.”

“Today is another day of suffering for the Ukrainian people,” he said. “As we speak here, my colleagues are reporting horrific strikes against civilian infrastructure in Kyiv, Dnipro, Lvov, Zaporozhye, Chernihiv, Odessa and other cities.”

Filippo Grandi has asked UNHCR donors to do more to support refugees around the world. “If we don’t receive an additional $700 million by the end of this year, we will be forced to make serious cuts, with extremely negative and sometimes dramatic consequences for refugees and host communities,” he concluded.