I am writing to you concerning the dire situation in Ukraine and to ask for a compassionate UK government response to this crisis and the other humanitarian crises that could worsen as a result.
Armed conflict is the number one driver of hunger globally. With conflict comes displacement, disruptions to supply chains, and soaring food prices. Families are driven into poverty and struggle to access food. In Ukraine, it is estimated that at least 7 million people are already in need of humanitarian assistance. This is a sudden addition to escalating needs in countries such as Yemen, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia. The war in Ukraine will also increase hunger in other countries, as it is already driving soaring global food prices.
The UK must play a leading role in both ensuring that civilians in Ukraine are protected and can meet their basic needs and that the response does not divert aid needed for families at acute risk elsewhere.
Furthermore, with over five million people already fled Ukraine, it is vital that the UK steps up for refugees. This includes a more empathetic offer to civilians on the move and a rethink of policy proposals that would make life harder for those seeking asylum. The current hosting scheme is not a substitute for a properly resourced programme that would enable refugees to arrive safely and to live independently in the UK.
Recent reports of cruel plans to redirect those seeking asylum to Rwanda are illogical and indicative of policies that are not in line with UK public opinion. It is my strong belief that the UK government must take drastic steps to protect the most vulnerable in humanitarian crises.
These steps should include:
- Use all powers available, such as permanent membership of the UN Security Council, to demand that humanitarian law is upheld and that all civilians in Ukraine, and refugees, are protected and have access to the basic means of survival.
- Safeguard critical humanitarian and peacebuilding support by including appropriate exemptions for these activities in sanctions.
- Remedy the poorly managed Homes for Ukraine scheme to ensure that those seeking safety can come to the UK without over-complicated bureaucratic restrictions, whilst ensuring that resettlement schemes are properly safeguarding the most vulnerable.
- Urgently reconsider the Nationalities and Borders Bill, particularly Clause 11, which will severely punish Ukrainian refugees and others seeking asylum who are forced to take irregular journeys to find safety in the UK.
- Ensure that the FCDO receives additional funding for the Ukraine crisis response, that does not come at a cost to people in need elsewhere.
In times of crisis, we have the opportunity to be generous and compassionate to those who need it most. We must do the right thing.
Thank you for your support and I look forward to hearing from you.