What You Need To Know:
✓ UNHCR praises Ukraine's civil society in leading efforts to ease a humanitarian catastrophe;
✓ Ukraine's refugee crisis has become 'invisible';
✓ Movement restrictions in East Ukraine go against international humanitarian law.
“This year, unfortunately there is little to celebrate.. there are more than 60 million people displaced,” said Jean-Noel Wetterwald, Interim Head of Operations at UNHCR Ukraine.
Wetterwald prefers though, to refer to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine as "Ukrainian Displaced" and not Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). This is due to the fact that with IDPs you typically see a large amount of people in refugee camps, and a different situation regarding food and supplies.
“If I have a message tonight, it is to thank them for the job they did, in coming to the assistance of these people”, Wetterwald told Hromadske.
The help provided by Ukrainian civil society has given the impression that this crisis is 'invisible', as many are housed in private accommodations, schools and other buildings - there are no refugee camps as such.
“If I would rate the response of the civil society, I would say AAA+”, Wetterwald added.
Despite beaming praise for Ukrainian civil society, Wetterwald is troubled with the lack of movement of goods and people to and from the conflict zone.
“In a conflict you are guided by an international law, the state is bound by international law, and minimum standards so that the civilian population could be aided as much as possible," insisted Wetterwald.
“As a minimum, we should be able to run humanitarian convoys of goods and people.”
Hromadske International's Angelina Kariakina and Volodymyr Yermolenko spoke with Jean-Noel Wetterwald on June 21, 2015.