Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
UKWR deplores the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a democratic and independent European state. We urge the UK government to ensure that all people fleeing the conflict can access humanitarian assistance, particularly the most vulnerable, and that freedom of movement is guaranteed for all seeking refuge from conflict.
Whilst we welcome the partial relaxation of visa requirements by the Home Office for Ukrainians fleeing this unprovoked war, we do not believe that these begin to go far enough. Already the UNHCR estimate that almost seven hundred thousand people have fled Ukraine with many more internally displaced. We who have worked alongside those seeking refuge from conflict, know that what is required are safe and legal pathways such as the setting up of humanitarian corridors and issuing humanitarian visas. These can be established quickly and provide safe passage to the UK. In that knowledge, we urge the UK government to provide sanctuary and protection to as many people as possible.
UKWR welcomes the opportunity for civil society to offer assistance by way of Community Sponsorship of resettlement for Ukrainians as is already available for those fleeing war in Syria and Afghanistan. We would urge the UK Government to start working now with the UNHCR to enable a robust refugee resettlement scheme to be put in place as quickly as possible. We point to the fact that six months after the evacuation from Afghanistan, many refugees are still without settled status, access to education, health care, and support. In that knowledge, we urge the UK government to provide sanctuary and protection to as many people as possible.
We are increasingly part of a global village and the invasion of Ukrainian sadly demonstrates, that it is possible for any of us to find ourselves caught up in armed conflict and needing to flee. Whilst we all rightly focus on the plight of the people of Ukraine, we would urge the UK Government to consider those fleeing other conflicts and disasters, and halt the clauses of the Nationalities and Borders Bill, which seek to criminalise those who like the Ukrainians, are seeking refuge on our shores.
UKWR is in unconditional solidarity with all civil society organisations here in the UK and internationally, working for peace and security to help all those affected by acts of war. We will continue to advocate for, and actively support an humanitarian and compassionate response to the safety of all caught up in conflict.