Wednesday, 13 September 2023
Ruse Municipality hosted a regional meeting on the initiative of the Inter-Agency Agency for Refugees at the UNHCR. The aim of the meeting was to improve the coordination of joint actions of the involved institutions and NGOs at local and regional level in dealing with refugees from Ukraine and other countries.
"The refugee wave creates problems in many countries, not only in Bulgaria. Ruse Municipality is open to dialogue with institutions to resolve crisis situations, especially those related to children," said Mayor Pencho Milkov. He noted the cooperation agreements signed by Ruse Municipality with UNHCR and UNICEF, aimed at joint activities to ensure access to all services for refugees, both from Ukraine and from other countries such as Syria and Afghanistan, where terrorist actions continue.
The meeting was opened by the Coordinator of the UNHCR Inter-Agency Ms. Hayung Kim. She expressed her gratitude to the municipal administration for the cooperation and partnership in providing support to refugees from Ukraine and other countries.
At the meeting, data on the current situation and the situation of refugees on the territory of Ruse municipality were presented. The provision of access for them to the types of services provided by state institutions such as the Ministry of the Interior, the Regional Department of Education, the Regional Health Institute, social services, employment, etc. was discussed.
Participants in the meeting presented the difficulties and problems in their direct work with refugees, and some of the speeches also addressed the challenges at national level and the need to take the right and timely decisions.
As a good practice of Ruse Municipality was presented the Support Centre for Ukrainian citizens, which was opened in March 2022 at the Central Railway Station to meet the intense Ukrainian refugee wave. The usefulness of the municipal "Crisis Centre for Unaccompanied Alien Children and Refugee Children at Risk", which will be opened on 1 November 2022, for providing a safe and secure environment for unaccompanied refugee children was also discussed.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the UNHCR, UNICEF, the Ruse Regional Department of Education, the Regional Health Inspectorate, the Bulgarian Red Cross, the Center Dynamics Association, the Ruse Catholic organization Caritas, the Child Protection Department of the Social Assistance Directorate, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, and experts from the Ruse Municipality.
A suggestion was made to hold similar meetings in the future, as well as an appeal to present refugee issues to be discussed at national level.