The Gulf state has been providing humanitarian assistance to refugees for years through a number of initiatives and donations.
Qatar’s Assistant Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater discussed the condition of Ukrainian refugees with UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Sunday.
This came in a meeting between the two officials on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum held in Turkey.
Al Khater and Grandi also spoke about the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, which has particularly worsened following the Taliban takeover of Kabul on 15 August last year.
“Grandi thanked the State of Qatar for its continuous efforts to achieve stability in Afghanistan and preserve the rights of the Afghan people,” said Qatar’s foreign ministry (MOFA).
Last year, Qatar carried out history’s largest airlift of people in history by evacuating over 70,000 Afghans and foreigners from the country. It also continues to provide them with aid shipments whilst holding talks with the interim Afghan government in a bid to address the country’s situation.
Developments in Ukraine
Qatar has called for the protection of Ukraine’s territorial integrity after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of the country on 24 February.
Earlier this month, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani raised concern over the rise of refugees as a result of the situation in Ukraine.
“Guaranteeing the safety of civilians should be at the utmost priority in these circumstances. What is most concerning, above all, is the difficult humanitarian situation millions of refugees will face should this conflict continue,” said Sheikh Mohammed, addressing the 49th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that the war will result in four million refugees from Ukraine.
Last week, Grandi said that the UNHCR needs at least $500m for its emergency work in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, which are receiving refugees.
“So far we have received over $300m of which almost $200m from individuals, companies and foundations. This is unprecedented, a sign of extraordinary solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” tweeted the UN official.
On Sunday, the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that more than 2.5 million people in Ukraine have been forced to flee the country since the start of the invasion.
The situation in Ukraine has also raised concerns over racism by Ukrainian security forces towards none-white refugees, who were being prevented from boarding trains or crossing the country’s borers.
In an exclusive interview with Doha News interview, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Qatar, Andrii Kuzmenko, said that authorities have treated people equally.
“The actions of the bodyguards were quite simple. It is necessary to avoid disorder in a public place. And as far as I know, those people left Ukraine. There was no discrimination over colour of skin, nor religion or language,” he said on 1 March.
Russia has continued to shell Ukraine despite several rounds of talks between the two countries. A new round of talks are virtually taking place on Monday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described Sunday as “black day” after Russia brutally shelled the Yavoriv military base, located less than 25km from the Polish border.
Reports state that 35 people have been killed during the attack and 134 have been injured.
Qatar’s foreign minister is scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Monday in Moscow.
Adviser to the foreign minister and spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Majed bin Mohammed Al-Ansari said that the visit “comes at a critical stage due to the conditions the world is experiencing as a result of the escalation in Ukraine”.
“Qatar is seeking to support the existing international efforts to provide the necessary conditions for a peaceful solution to the crisis,” said MOFA.