UNHCR calls for better oversight of UK ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme |

The UK’s plan, set to connect British hosts with Ukrainian refugees, works by initially bringing the two together outside of any regulatory framework, through media groups social or other means.

According to news reports, some newly arrived refugees, especially single women, reported receiving inappropriate and sexually explicit messages from men, sometimes within minutes of direct contact. line.

Refugees seeking safe haven in the UK must have a sponsor before applying for a visa. Bureaucratic delays in granting refugee visas – in contrast to swift action taken by several Central and Eastern European countries – prompted the UK Home Secretary to issue an apology on Friday. Last Friday, because of the long wait times and inconvenience often experienced for traumatized applicants, fleeing the Russian invasion.

In a statement released on Wednesday, UNHCR said it was “aware of There are more and more reports of Ukrainian women feeling at risk from their donors in connection with the ‘Houses for Ukraine’ grant program.

Essential check

“UNHCR emphasizes the need for adequate safeguards and checks to combat exploitation, as well as full support for donors. UNHCR believes that a more appropriate matching process could be made by ensuring that women and women with children, are matched with families or couples, rather than with single men. ”

The agency warned that matching done “without proper supervision could lead to increased risks that women may face, in addition to the injuries caused by moving, separating, experienced family and violence”.

The agency also said it was concerned about the consequences associated, should any presenters of British descent turn out to be a “potential threat to the safety of refugees”, as well as Minimum stay of six months, booked in a hurry. planning.

Appropriate training

UNHCR stresses that “appropriate training and information” is needed to ensure that hosts “make informed decisions when applying to be a sponsor.”

Staying at a stranger’s house in an extra bedroom for a long time is not sustainable for some people”, the agency added.

Local authorities in the UK have reported that they are “overwhelmed” with requests to provide financial assistance to landlords and provide staff from social service groups to carry out checks, before Ukrainians actually arrive at their new temporary abode.

Close communication and support will be required between the relevant ministries, the council and the due diligence process,” they concluded.

In light of the concerns expressed by the UNHCR, which calls for safer safeguards, a UK Government spokesman told the Guardian news agency that any attempt to exploit vulnerable refugees hurt is “really despicable”, indicating that now has safeguards in place, including “robust” background checks on all donors, both by the Department of the Interior and by local government agencies.

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