Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), our official agency for domestic social action, has released a statement on the war in Ukraine detailing how, alongside Catholic aid agency Cafod, it works with national Caritas agencies in the region to support the humanitarian relief effort.
We have been following the situation in Ukraine with growing disbelief and dismay, and with our prayers. The humanitarian aid response in Ukraine and other countries is developing at pace. CSAN and CAFOD receive regular updates on emerging needs from national Caritas agencies in the region.
To support aid efforts through Caritas partners in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, CAFOD has launched a national appeal, as a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).
In addition, the need to plan and resource a humanitarian response in England and Wales is rapidly becoming acute. We need to consider how we resource the needs of incoming refugees, as well as the poorest members of our society already facing a rising cost-of-living crisis.
The Home Office indicated this week support for at least two schemes to accept Ukrainians into the UK: on family reunification, and on a 12-month community sponsorship scheme. Ministers have explained that the latter will take some weeks to define. This is an important moment to represent Catholic social action in England and Wales to the Government. CSAN needs to assemble reliable information at speed about potential capacity in the Catholic community to support refugees, e.g. accommodation, crisis funds and trauma-informed responses that some of our direct service charities already deliver. CSAN is convening an emergency meeting for Catholic organisations to assess current capacity for support.
Visit the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) website for further updates.
On 7 March 2022, CAFOD and CSAN jointly prepared this briefing note on how to support humanitarian responses to the war in Ukraine, and on their respective roles.
1 March 2022
Caritas Europa strongly condemns the large-scale military intervention in Ukraine and brutal aggression towards its people. We deplore the consistent attacks on civilian lives and civilian infrastructure witnessed over the past days. Such acts of aggression endanger international stability and peace and bring international law into disrepute.
As of today, UNHCR estimates that more than 500,000 people have fled into neighbouring countries and many more are internally displaced. We attest that these numbers are growing rapidly, together with protection needs. Caritas Europa urges all parties to the conflict to adhere to their responsibilities under International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law. All parties must ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects during hostilities and enable urgent and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance to those affected, as well as enabling safe access to humanitarian workers. We urgently call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to meaningful diplomacy to prevent further deterioration of an ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries.
While feeling deeply distressed by such horrific violence, we are heartened by the response of those inside Ukraine, in its neighbouring countries and across Europe to the plight of those affected. We recognise the resilience and perseverance of Caritas in Ukraine, its staff and partners as they continue their invaluable work under such difficult circumstances. We hold the utmost respect for the many volunteers – Caritas and otherwise – who work tirelessly inside Ukraine and at its borders to ensure that humanitarian assistance can reach those in need.
Caritas Europa is encouraged to learn of the opening of European borders to provide refuge to Ukrainian citizens fleeing the conflict, as well as the provision of safe pathways to provide accommodation and assistance to third country nationals who are leaving Ukraine, we call for this to be continued at least for as long as the conflict perseveres. Once again, Caritas Europa expresses its firm and unconditional solidarity as a network to those affected by these acts of war. We will continue to advocate for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and increase our engagement and support to alleviate the suffering of the people, both in the country and on the move.