Lloyd Axworthy on the United Nations, Ukrainian refugees and humanitarian corridors

WRMC Chair Lloyd Axworthy appeared on CBC’s Power and Politics news program to discuss what more the United Nations can do to protect Ukrainian civilians as Putin continues to wage war against Ukraine.

Millions of Ukrainians have fled Ukraine with many more leaving every day. The international community must be more supportive through international collaboration to provide resources, support, humanitarian assistance for those fleeing – many of whom are women, children and elders fleeing Russian violence.

While individual nations are applying sanctions against Russia and providing humanitarian and even lethal aid to Ukraine, there are calls for the UN to become involved to assist Ukrainian civilians under its Responsibility to Protect commitment.

The UN has gone through a bad trough in recent years upholding its commitment. The Security Council has been unable to reach verdicts due to the self-interest of states, notably Russia, using their veto powers to stymy any attempt to redress the problems of invasion or violence and atrocities – and they are doing it again. 

Yet there is an out. Through the UN General Assembly’s Uniting for Peace resolution, General Assembly members can make recommendations to member states to provide direct involvement and engagement. For instance, the establishment of humanitarian corridors to provide protection to fleeing Ukrainians safeguarded by UN Peacekeepers from non-western nations. 

To read more on the establishment of humanitarian corridors and other calls to action in Ukraine made by the World Refugee & Migration Council, read our statement here.