In the names of Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, I hereby make the following declaration.
It takes fortitude, bravery, and resiliency to flee conflict and persecution. We reiterate our dedication to defending and assisting them while also acknowledging the severe hardships they have faced.
The OSCE participating States are currently facing an unprecedented emergency, which coincides with this year’s World Refugee Day celebration.
Since Russia’s invasion on February 24th, the UNHCR has recorded more than 4.8 million individual refugees from Ukraine in Europe. Since the Second World War, this is Europe’s largest cross-border movement.
Additionally, it is projected that there are more than 7.1 million individuals who are internally displaced in Ukraine.
The people already fleeing conflict and persecution to the OSCE region from Afghanistan, Syria, and other nations are made worse by the emergency that Russia’s actions have sparked.
“Whoever, Wherever, Whenever” is the theme for this year’s World Refugee Day.
The need for safety belongs to everyone. Since February 24, we have heard first-hand accounts from refugees and people who have been forcibly displaced about the tremendous losses, uncertainty, obstacles, risks, and trauma they experience while looking for a safe haven and a new home in our Human Dimension Committee meetings and Supplementary Human Dimension meetings.
The Security Committee has heard about the anguish and vulnerability of those trying to flee across borders, as well as the increased risk of trafficking that refugees, especially women and children, face.
We applaud the receiving nations for opening their borders, displaying compassion and empathy, and making an effort to safeguard these people while they endure this excruciating agony.
This emphasizes the value of inclusion and the necessity to guarantee that everyone, including refugees from various backgrounds, has fair and appropriate access to the environments they require to feel safe and flourish.
We stress the value of variety and inclusion as well as the beneficial contributions that immigrants can make to our cultures.
In many areas of our countries, refugees are a vital part of the social fabric; they establish businesses, give back to their communities, and boost our economy, and as a result, we all benefit.
We must continue to prioritize helping those who are most in need when it comes to the refugee issue, especially women and girls. We must also present timely, practical measures that will advance gender equality, human rights, dignity, meaningful participation, peace, and security.
As a regional security agency, the OSCE is aware of how refugees and other forcibly displaced people affect our overall security.
It is our responsibility as participating States to work together to give international protection and aid to refugees, as well as to develop lasting and humane solutions for them and other people who have been forcefully displaced.