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Deputy Le Tocq visits UNHCR in Romania

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Wednesday 07 February 2024

Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, external relations lead for the Policy & Resources Committee, recently represented Guernsey during a visit to UNHCR Romania, the UN Refugee Agency, to see some of the people, places, and programmes that have been recipients of Guernsey's humanitarian relief donations for Ukraine.

In March 2022, the Policy & Resources Committee made a commitment of £500,000 to support the people of Ukraine. This donation on behalf of the people of Guernsey and Alderney is one of the largest the Government of Guernsey has made in its recent history. The donation was split equally between two organisations, the British Red Cross and UK for UNHCR, with both organisations receiving £250,000.

During the visit Deputy Le Tocq met with Romanian authorities, UN & NGO partners, and refugees, to learn about the programmes in place to help support the hundreds of refugees arriving in Romania from Ukraine each day.

Minister for External Relations Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq said:

"Whilst the world's attention continues to be diverted, Ukrainians continue to suffer under the relentless onslaught of Putin's war.

The logistics involved in responding to a crisis such as that affecting Ukrainians displaced in Romania are complex and costly. Agencies need to work together smoothly and efficiently, minimising friction; the storage and transportation of emergency aid alone is huge. The requirement for humanitarian assistance is still as needful as ever, if not more so, and I am proud of the support that Guernsey has provided to Ukrainian refugees through agencies, such as UNHCR.

During my visit, I was particularly moved to hear the stories of young women and mothers who are helping themselves and their compatriots through their innovation, industry, advocacy, and dynamism to enable their children to access education and employment opportunities.

My life has been both enhanced and challenged thanks to witnessing the work undertaken in such a short time and under extreme conditions, by refugees, mainly women and children, who show remarkable resilience and diligence despite being confronted by immense trials."

Emma Cherniavsky, Chief Executive of UK for UNHCR, said:

"We're grateful to the States of Guernsey for their generous support of UNHCR's response to the Ukraine emergency across the region, ensuring that those affected by the war aren't forgotten. As we approach the two-year mark since the onset of the war in Ukraine, our dedicated UNHCR teams and partner organisations are still on the ground in Bucharest and beyond, delivering essential aid and protection services to refugee families."

UNHCR is mandated to lead and coordinate international operations for the protection of people forced to flee and safeguard their rights and wellbeing. It advocates to ensure that everyone can exercise their right to seek asylum and find refuge in another country, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or resettle in another country.

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