The Sovereign Order of Malta’s permanent missions to the United Nations in New York and Geneva have joined the condemnation of Ukraine’s invasion, calling the international community to support the millions of refugees fleeing the country while the Russian troops advance on the ground.
“The Order of Malta has observed with great sadness and regret the ongoing conflict which has impacted the lives of so many citizens of Ukraine, and which is currently creating an unprecedented flow of refugees seeking peace and security across their nation’s borders”, said the Counsellor of the Mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations in New York Fra’ Nicola Tegoni, participating in the debate on the situation in Ukraine within the General Assembly. The special emergency session of the General Assembly was convened on 2 March at the request of the Security Council, becoming the first such case since 1982.
“We appeal to nations of good will to appreciate the trauma experienced by all refugees” – said Fra’ Nicola Tegoni – and we appeal to countries who are receiving refugees to extend the same welcome they are offering Ukrainians to those of other national and ethnic groups who have been caught in this conflict and who are seeking security”.
In his speech he recalled the ongoing relief work offered by the Order’s relief corps over the past years and in particular since the outbreak of the conflict: “Our staff and volunteers in major population centers within Ukraine continue to provide assistance as much as is feasible given the security and safety problems”.
“We are coordinating our activities with international aid agencies, such as the Red Cross and the UNHCR – said the Order of Malta representative – and are engaged in an international fund-raising program to ensure that adequate resources continue to be available for the support and maintenance of those in need. We were encouraged that the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva will be holding a debate on human rights in Ukraine later this week. Representatives from our government will be participating in this important discussion”.
The same appeal was also made by the Order’s Ambassador the United Nations in Geneva, Marie-Thérèse Pictet-Althann, within the 49th session of the Human Rights Council, which opened on Monday 28th February. “The Sovereign Order of Malta calls for an immediate ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access to the civilian population, as well as for the constant respect of international humanitarian and human rights law and the United Nations Charter. May our engagement through diplomacy and common religious values contribute to restoring human dignity and alleviating suffering, thus hopefully leading to a peaceful solution” stated Ambassador Pictet-Althann.
The Order of Malta is on the frontline to provide aid to the refugees fleeing Ukraine. Relief and volunteer corps are active in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania as well as in the Ukrainian territory. Tens of thousands of volunteers plus medical teams from Malteser International, the Order of Malta worldwide relief service, are distributing food and drink, caring for the victims, providing counseling and emotional support and assisting in the securing of short-term accommodation.