Statement by the United States
at the 83rd meeting of the UNHCR Standing Committee
As Delivered by Ambassador Sheba Crocker
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva
March 9, 2022
Agenda item 3 (a) iv. Europe
Thank you, Chair. The United States joins with other Member States to condemn the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine – enabled by Belarus.
The United States is horrified by ongoing Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilians and Ukraine’s infrastructure, including hospitals and schools. We deplore the catastrophic impact of the war on so many, both within and outside of Ukraine. We express our solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they courageously defend their country. President Putin’s premeditated war has brought catastrophic loss of life and human suffering and created the fastest growing refugee crisis the modern world has seen. With millions of Ukrainians displaced, having fled Russian aggression, we call upon Russia to immediately cease its unlawful use of force against Ukraine and for an immediate end to the conflict before millions more refugees are forced to flee Ukraine.
The United States is grateful to UNHCR for its efforts in Ukraine and throughout Europe to protect the vulnerable, provide life-saving assistance, and strengthen refugee and asylum seeker integration. We express our deep gratitude for UNHCR’s critical leadership and advocacy responding to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Europe because of Russia’s war against Ukraine. We extend our sincere thanks to UNHCR and other humanitarian personnel who continue to stay and deliver in the face of incredible personal danger. We call on Russia to abide by its international obligations to respect and protect civilians, including aid workers, and we call on Russia to allow all civilians to have access to assistance and protection and to guarantee safe passage for fleeing civilians.
We commend and support UNHCR’s long-standing presence in the region, including in Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, and Romania, and applaud its strong coordination with other UN agencies and NGO partners. We are closely coordinating with international partners, particularly UNHCR, to address humanitarian needs in Ukraine and in the region. On February 27, the United States announced $54 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Ukraine to continue its leadership of the Protection and Shelter clusters, and to provide multipurpose cash, protection, and shelter assistance to IDPs inside Ukraine. President Biden has requested from Congress an additional $10 billion to deliver
more humanitarian, security, and economic assistance to Ukraine and the region. And we commend those Member States, NGOs, civil society, private businesses, and individuals who have unified to respond to this violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and the ensuing humanitarian crisis it has caused.
We are working closely with our European Allies and partners who are at the forefront of this response. We applaud the openness and generosity of the European governments and people who have opened their borders and communities to those seeking international protection in the face of unyielding violence. As with any refugee crisis, we will continue to call on members of the international community to respond to the needs of those seeking protection at their borders, regardless of race or national origin, in ways consistent with the principle of non-refoulement and their respective obligations under international law.