The Security Council and Ukraine at the Forefront of UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees’ Speech

The Security Council and Ukraine at the Forefront of UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees’ Speech
Photo by mmdv on Flickr


Manon Picard

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher, 

Global Human Rights Defence.

The United Nations’ Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Kelly Clements, made a statement on the 19th of April 2022 regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine. In particular, Mrs. Clements urged the Security Council of the United Nations to ‘put aside’ its internal divisions and find a solution to end this “horrific and senseless war”. The war in Ukraine has caused five million Ukrainian citizens to flee their country, seven million being displaced within Ukrainian territory and approximately 13 million in areas where they are unable to move. Kelly Clements, during her speech, stated that “[w]hile the sheer scale and speed of displacement is immense, we must not lose sight of what these figures mean”. 

The Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees gave an update on the inclusion of Ukrainian refugees in neighbouring States in regards to education, health and social programmes. Although this inclusive approach was welcomed and encouraged by Kelly Clements, she stated the following: 

“This inclusive approach is – bar none – the best way for refugees to sustain their lives in exile, and it requires more international support […] No pile of blankets, no sum of cash, no amount of medicine, is going to halt the death and destruction […] While we will continue our job to deliver aid, we need this Council to do its job too”.

Although States have left their borders open to welcome Ukrainian refugees and provided the support necessary, there has been a heightened risk of human trafficking. Additionally, further international aid must be delivered to internally displaced persons in Ukraine who cannot or do not wish to flee their country. The overall situation has obliged “[e]ach one of the millions displaced [… to be] forced to make impossible, heart-breaking decisions”. 

Sources and further reading:

United Nations. (2022, April 19). Ukraine: Security Council Urged to ‘put aside’ Divisions, End ‘senseless war’. UN News. Retrieved on April 20, 2022, from