The text below is attributed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
I am delighted to be in Moldova to congratulate the Government on its decision to activate temporary protection for refugees fleeing Ukraine. The Moldovan people and Government have shown remarkable solidarity with refugees since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began nearly one year ago.
This support was visible from the first days and weeks of the war, when tens of thousands of refugees – mainly women and children – fled Ukraine, and continues to this day.
Despite many pressing economic challenges and limited resources, Moldovans opened their country and their homes. Almost 750,000 Ukrainian refugees entered in the past 11 months and over 102,000 Ukrainian refugees remain, almost half of whom are children.
The Government’s decision earlier this week to activate temporary protection is another concrete and tangible expression of continued and sustained solidarity with the Ukrainian people. It provides a more secure legal status for refugees and paves the way for a more sustainable and planned response. Temporary protection will help refugees access employment, become self-reliant, and will also allow them to contribute to their host communities until they can return home in safety and dignity. It also provides the framework for even more sustainable access to education and other basic services, providing stability during a great trauma and upheaval.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is committed to supporting Moldova and deepening our cooperation on refugee inclusion while also mobilizing strong donor support for host families and communities.
Since the beginning of the refugee influx, UNHCR alone has delivered more than US$100 million worth of assistance and support in Moldova, in addition to the contributions of other humanitarian and development actors, as well as direct bilateral donor support to the Government.
We will continue to invest in strengthening social protection systems in Moldova for refugees and Moldovans alike. But it is imperative that the international community steps up to provide renewed support for the refugee response and for the communities generously hosting refugees in Moldova. This means urgent and enhanced development investments in the country, as well as significant international efforts to shore up and grow the country’s economy, including encouraging private sector investment that can provide sustainable opportunities for both Moldovans and refugees.
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