Over 10 million of Ukraine’s people have fled their homes since Putin’s invasion on Feb. 24 — 4.2 million of whom have left the country altogether, becoming refugees seeking safety beyond Ukraine's borders.
The situation in Ukraine has intensified an already severe global refugee crisis — with more than 84 million people around the world having been displaced from their homes by mid-2021, according to the United Nations.
The exodus from Ukraine — Europe’s fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II, according to the UN — has been met with extraordinary assistance from other countries and humanitarian organizations. The European Union (EU) voted to let most Ukrainians live, work, and study across the bloc for up to three years while many countries have been working to integrate Ukrainian refugee children into their school system.
At the same time, however, global relief efforts for refugees are woefully underfunded. Globally, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, faces an approximately $10 billion funding gap to support the millions of forcibly displaced people in more than 133 countries and territories worldwide. Meanwhile, the UN in March announced that it received less than one-third of what it needs to fully fund its operations and avoid starvation in Yemen; while the UK-hosted Afghanistan Pledging Conference at the end of March raised just half the amount needed.
This is why, through the Stand Up for Ukraine campaign, we’re calling on world and business leaders to do more to support the urgent need of refugees and displaced people, those from Ukraine and those from every region in the world.
This Friday April 8, we’re supporting a global social media rally to pile on the pressure ahead of a pledging event on Saturday April 9, which will give leaders an opportunity to step up and commit funding for global refugee relief. Here’s how you can help right now by joining the movement and taking action.
1. School Yourself: Understand the Challenges of Life as a Refugee
Anyone can become a refugee. Refugees are ordinary people who have had their lives turned upside down by crises that have forced them and their families to flee their homes for safety.
Take the quiz to understand more about what life is really like for millions of refugees around the world here.
2. Tell the World Why You Stand Up for Refugees Everywhere
People become refugees for many reasons: war and violence, political persecution, human rights abuses, and environmental disasters among others, according to the European Commission.
While the response to the situation in Ukraine is heartwarming, not every refugee crisis has been met with the same level of compassion. Instead, refugees are often met with hostile policies, struggle to receive adequate assistance, and remain in a precarious limbo for years that makes it impossible for this vulnerable group to start a new life in safety.
We need to take a stand to change this. The global refugee crisis has been growing for years, and it’s time that countries worldwide brought the same level of support to all people fleeing their homes for safety. Raise your voice and tell your government to put humanity and compassion first here.
3. Pledge to Stand Up for Ukraine and All Refugees
This weekend on April 9, the “Stand Up for Ukraine” pledging event will take place in Warsaw, Poland with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at its helm, in partnership with Global Citizen. The pledging event will be an opportunity for world leaders and corporations to announce funding for humanitarian aid for Ukraine as well as refugees around the globe, including Yemen, South Sudan, and Afghanistan — but we need your help to make it a success.
A day prior to the pledging event, on April 8, a global social media rally will take place — with Global Citizens, musicians, actors, athletes, activists, and more, uniting and raising our voices as one for refugee support. This moment will show leaders the eyes of the world are focused on them to pledge the amount needed to help stem the impacts of this urgent global crisis. Take action now to pledge your support for the campaign here, and we’ll send you all you need to know to get involved.
4. Spread the Word About the Pledging Event and Digital Rally
We need millions of Global Citizens around the world to come together on April 8 and show their solidarity with refugees from Ukraine and around the world.
Help us spread the word about the global social media rally by telling your friends, pets, family, schoolmates, colleagues, and the world by tweeting about it here.
5. Share How to Host Refugees Fleeing Ukraine
Refugees fleeing Ukraine urgently need temporary emergency accommodation. Beyond providing donations and urging governments to step up with Global Citizen, hosting a refugee and their family in your home is one of the most practical and powerful ways you can respond.
Global Citizen has put together a helpful article with resources on what you can do to help when it comes to hosting refugees. Take a read of the article here and share it with friends and family here.
6. Send the UK Government a Message They Can’t Ignore
With over 4.2 million refugees already fleeing Ukraine, Europe has come together in an incredible feat of solidarity to offer urgent protection to refugees in need. But there’s one country significantly missing: the UK.
Right now, the UK’s Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme only allows Ukrainian nationals and their family members to come to the UK if they have a named sponsor under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme. This narrow policy means refusing help to most Ukrainians who need it.
Call on the UK to urgently lift these harsh visa restrictions for Ukraine’s refugees and support safe routes by tweeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel here.
7. Tell the UK to Restore Life-Saving Aid Now
Earlier this month, the UK announced a pledge of £120 million in aid to help Ukraine. But that's not the whole story. It's since come to light that buried in the small print of Rishi Sunak's seemingly magnanimous commitment was this: that £120 million is being taken directly from the aid money the UK sends to Yemen and other emergencies.
Diverting aid from one crisis to give to another isn't ok because it pits one humanitarian crisis against another. Take action now by demanding that the UK government stop diverting aid and instead restore the international aid budget (which was cut from 0.7% of gross national income, GNI, to 0.5% in 2021) here.