“Beyond the prompt humanitarian response already provided by European states to people fleeing the war in Ukraine, more support is urgently needed to protect their human rights and to support countries of arrival, in particular the Republic of Moldova”, said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, following her three-day mission to the Republic of Moldova.
“I have met and listened to dozens of people who fled the war – in a reception centre in Chisinau, on the Ukrainian side of the border crossing near Palanca, and in other locations across the Republic of Moldova. For many of them, their first night spent in the Republic of Moldova was their first peaceful night in a long time. But confusion, anguish and trauma are clearly visible in their eyes. Their words express anger and distress. Mothers with children are worried about their immediate future. A little boy confided in me his fear of the war. Older people described how their lives have been suddenly uprooted by the shelling. People who travelled for many days and over long distances to bring their families to safety are now waiting in long lines at the border crossing. They are hopeful but weary. All those to whom I spoke are also worried about the safety and welfare of those left behind: their husbands, parents, relatives and friends, unwilling or unable to leave.”
As the Commissioner concluded her mission, the number of those who fled Ukraine reached over 2 million people according to UNHCR. Wedged between war-affected Ukraine and the European Union, the Republic of Moldova has been facing an unprecedented situation of coping with large-scale displacement. To this day, over 243,000 people have entered the country, and nearly 100,000 remained in the country at the time of the visit. Many more are waiting, in queues at the border in long lines of cars and on foot, anxious to reach safety.