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News Comment: 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine in a week

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News Comment: 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine in a week

This Statement is attributed to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi
3 March 2022 Also available in:

In just seven days, one million people have fled Ukraine, uprooted by this senseless war.

I have worked in refugee emergencies for almost 40 years, and rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this one.

Hour by hour, minute by minute, more people are fleeing the terrifying reality of violence. Countless have been displaced inside the country.

And unless there is an immediate end to the conflict, millions more are likely to be forced to flee Ukraine.

Inside Ukraine, our staff – and other humanitarians – are working where and when they can in frightening conditions. Our staff stay, even at great risk, because we know the needs in the country are huge.

Despite the extraordinary pace and challenges, the response from governments and local communities in receiving this one million refugees has been remarkable. UNHCR staff have already moved in throughout the region and are scaling up our protection and assistance programmes for refugees, in support of host governments.

International solidarity has been heartwarming. But nothing – nothing – can replace the need for the guns to be silenced; for dialogue and diplomacy to succeed. Peace is the only way to halt this tragedy.

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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on 14 December 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee issues. It strives to ensure that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state, with the option to voluntarily return home when conditions are conducive for return, integrate locally or resettle to a third country. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1954 for its ground-breaking work in helping the refugees of Europe, and in 1981 for its worldwide assistance to refugees.