Expressing Condolences and Solidarity
At the 74th session of the UNHCR Executive Committee, the United Kingdom’s Human Rights Ambassador, Rita French, delivered a heartfelt message of sympathy for those affected by recent disasters and unwavering support for humanitarian efforts worldwide. In a comprehensive address, she emphasized the UK humanitarian commitment to tackling global displacement crises, providing assistance, and supporting international peace efforts.
Condolences and Support for Israel
The UK opened its statement by extending its deepest sympathies to the victims of the devastating earthquakes in Afghanistan and the heinous terrorist acts in Israel. Ambassador French reiterated the UK’s unflinching support for the State of Israel while unequivocally condemning Hamas for its acts of terrorism.
Rising Global Forced Displacement
Ambassador French acknowledged the mounting crises, stressing that the Middle East conflict was a perilous part of an expanding tapestry of worldwide troubles. Notably, the number of forcibly displaced individuals has exceeded 110 million, further escalating the urgency of humanitarian needs.
Commitment to Global Aid
To address these pressing needs, the UK pledged to allocate £1 billion globally in 2024-2025. Furthermore, they reaffirmed their continuous, unrestricted funding in 2023 and called on others to contribute flexibly.
Appreciation for UNHCR
The UK expressed profound gratitude for the UNHCR’s invaluable work and, in addition, applauded the organization’s ongoing Business Transformation efforts aimed at enhancing its efficiency and effectiveness.
Acknowledgment of Host Nations
Ambassador French recognized the generosity and leadership of host nations and communities offering sanctuary to forcibly displaced people, particularly in Sudan, where a continuing crisis has displaced over 1.1 million people, accompanied by a rising civilian death toll.
Commitment to Conflict Resolution
The UK pledged to relentlessly pursue diplomatic means to secure a permanent ceasefire, facilitate humanitarian access, and foster a meaningful peace process.
Support for Ukraine
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has provided £347 million in humanitarian assistance and welcomed 186,600 Ukrainian refugees as of September 25th. Furthermore, the UK reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to aiding Ukraine in regaining its territory and achieving lasting peace.
Global Refugee Solidarity
The UK affirmed its commitment to the Global Compact on Refugees as the key strategy for burden- and responsibility-sharing, emphasizing its vital role in modernizing international protection. The UK also supported the inclusion and protection of vulnerable groups, including women, girls, the LGBT+ community, and individuals with disabilities.
Future Pledges at Global Refugee Forum
The Global Refugee Forum was highlighted as an opportunity for the international community to reaffirm its commitment to the Global Compact. Additionally, the UK eagerly anticipates announcing its pledges at the upcoming Forum in December.
The UK aligned itself with the Group of Friends on Statelessness, acknowledging the 10 million stateless individuals worldwide, including two million Rohingya refugees. The UK’s substantial financial support to the response in Bangladesh and Rakhine State was noted, although the situation remains dire.
Long-Term Solution for Rohingya
The UK reiterated its commitment to supporting Rohingya refugees in the region until safe, voluntary, and dignified returns to Rakhine State become feasible.
Gender Equality and Statelessness
On International Day of the Girl, Ambassador French emphasized that statelessness is a gender equality issue, with 24 countries still not allowing women to pass on their citizenship equally.
In a comprehensive and empathetic statement, the UK’s Human Rights Ambassador made it clear that the United Kingdom stands resolute in its commitment to global humanitarian causes and addressing displacement crises.
She also called for reforms in nationality laws and expressed the UK’s readiness to join the Global Alliance to End Statelessness in 2024. This exemplifies the UK as a significant contributor to international peace and prosperity.