UNHCR: Sweden’s support helps refugees around the world from the threat of coronavirus

The Government of Sweden is one of UNHCR’s largest donors and a long-time strong supporter of the global refugee response.

As countries around the world take different measures against COVID-19, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes Sweden’s valuable additional contribution of SEK 30 M (3 M USD) to support UNHCR’s work to protect refugees from the virus and ensure that refugees and displaced persons around the world are included in response plans.

This timely contribution from Sweden comes in addition to the country’s long-standing support as one of UNHCR’s largest donors of flexible funding. The Swedish contribution is part of a larger provision to the wider UN response to protect some of the most vulnerable people in the world from the threat of the pandemic.

Over 80 per cent of the world’s refugee population and nearly all the internally displaced people live in low to middle-income countries, many of which have weaker health, water and sanitation systems and need urgent support. Many refugees live in densely populated camps or in poorer urban areas with inadequate health infrastructure and limited water and sanitation facilities. Flexible contributions like this from Sweden allow UNHCR to scale up field operations for both preventive and preparedness measures.

“In addition to Sweden’s strong and long-lasting support to UNHCR, which helps us to protect and improve the lives of the forcibly displaced around the globe, we are very thankful for this additional contribution in these challenging times of responding to COVID-19,” says Henrik M. Nordentoft, UNHCR’s Representative in Northern Europe.

Together with partners, UNHCR is e.g. reinforcing health and sanitation systems and services, distributing soap and clean water, supporting governments with developing inclusive response plans, providing medical equipment and supplies, distributing shelter and core relief items, initiating information and awareness campaigns, expanding cash assistance as well as strengthening the monitoring to ensure that the rights of refugees and displaced persons are respected.

While stepping up the response to the global pandemic, UNHCR continues to deliver critical support and protection to refugees and forcibly displaced around the world – and the High Commissioner for Refugees has issued a strong plea to the international community to not forget the vital support required to meet the on-going needs of the more than 70 million people who have fled war, conflict and persecution.