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Friday, 13 January 2023

Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă attended the presentation of the 2022 Report on Romania’s efforts and achievements in the field of humanitarian assistance to refugees, child rights, and rights of the other vulnerable categories

 

Speech by Prime Minister Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă at the presentation of the 2022 Report on Romania’s efforts and achievements in the field of humanitarian assistance to refugees, child rights, and rights of the other vulnerable categories

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Dan Cărbunaru, Government Spokesperson: Good afternoon! Welcome to the event presenting the efforts and results that Romania has achieved in a number of important fields during the past year. I am specifically referring to the coordination of Romania's response to the refugee humanitarian crisis, the coordination of the fight against trafficking in persons, the implementation of the measures included in the "Care for Children" national plan, and the reform in the field of the legal capacity of persons with disabilities. For all these elements, in relation to the results that the Government of Romania has achieved, it gives me great pleasure to announce the presence here of the Prime Minister of Romania, Mr. Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă, Mrs. State Counselor and the strategic coordinator of humanitarian assistance from the Department for Vulnerable Groups and Community Social Responsibility   Mrs. Mădălina Turza and the UNHCR Representative Mr. Pablo Zapata. I welcome the presence here of the representatives of diplomatic missions from the partner member states, from the U.S.A or the European Union, together with representatives of the institutions involved in all these efforts and the representatives of the UN agencies in Romania. With these introductory words, it gives me great pleasure to invite Mr. Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă to convey his message. Mr. Prime Minister, please, you have the floor.

Nicolae-Ionel Ciucă: Thank you. Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon! Welcome to the headquarters of the Romanian Government. I want to thank you for inviting me to your event which surveys your activity in 2022. I think it is very important to underline that this event will be an occasion to discuss openly all steps taken by Romania so far. I do not refer here only to institutions, but to all actors who contributed to these steps, and of course, we will analyze well what happened,  to draw the lessons from what we achieved, and to further apply in plans, and activities for more effective coordination. As Mr. Carbunaru pointed out, there are four very important topics. I refer to the coordination of the humanitarian crisis of refugees from Ukraine, the coordination of the fight against human trafficking, the first and the amplest governmental program for the safety and support of children, and the reform in the field of legal capacity of persons with disabilities. Once again, I express my joy to be with you, exactly because I know the fact that these complex areas, coordinated by State Advisor Madalina Turza, could generate the results we will speak about and that you will thoroughly address during this meeting. I want to emphasize a very important aspect: concerning an exceptional partnership that developed between the Romanian Government, local authorities, UN agencies, diplomatic missions from Romania, civil society, and last but not least, the private sector and the Romanian citizens as we carried out many activities where we could benefit from the individual support of our citizens.

It has been one year since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine. Romania was at the frontline from the very first moment and continues to consistently support the global effort of the free world for Ukraine and the values of democracy. More than 3 million Ukrainian citizens crossed our borders over the past 12 months, 2. 5 million of whom benefitted from the Romanian Government or our partners’ direct support,  whether we are talking about free transport of food, clothing, shelter, long-term accommodation, emergency financial aid, tens of thousands of interventions and free medical and social services, access to the labor market and Romanian schools or the guarantee of safety offered by the statute of temporary protection offered by our country. Romania was and will remain the space of safety and peace for the waves of Ukrainian refugees. We undertook from the first moment the role of a reliable European and international partner, which not only delimits war from peace and stability but also offered the most important corridors, literally and figuratively, of international support for Ukraine, making available our national road, rail, river, and maritime infrastructure. Our solidarity turned into concrete aid as first of all, we understood the tragedy of our Ukrainian friends and neighbors. Starting from their need for help, we generated a clear response vision and strategy to the refugee crisis, based on two levels: first, emergency intervention and second, medium and long-term responses for the integration of refugees, which implied an extensive collaboration with all social partners of the "all society response" type. Romania was the first country in the European Union to adopt a national plan of measures for the inclusion and protection of refugees in the medium and long term and proposed to the European states a model of leadership and coordination at the political level in the field of refugee integration, translated into the "Platforma from Bucharest", which offers the space for high-level dialogue in this unprecedented humanitarian situation. We have also learned many lessons in the past year amid this unprecedented crisis. We have seen and tested the limits of our support system and sometimes our logistical or human resource capacity. And here we saw the value of the extended partnership with United Nations agencies, civil society, and the private sector because together we could be complementary and able to deliver a coherent and effective response. I am convinced that Madam Counsellor will provide more details about all of this during today's debates. The war is not over, unfortunately, and we will continue to offer our support to Ukraine and the refugees. But now, we are at the stage where we need an approach oriented towards temporary or medium and long-term integration measures, where Ukrainian refugees can live an independent life in our country, integrate into the workforce, and children benefit from education and social life.

As for the fight against human trafficking, I want to reaffirm that this subject remains a priority on my agenda and the agenda of the Romanian Government. The fact that through this coordination at the level of the PM Chancellery, we managed to upgrade the country rating of Romania at the level of the US State Department, this being a recognition of our commitment and efforts in this respect. I want to mention very clearly that we will not stop here. We worked intensely in 2022 to have a new mechanism for identifying and referring victims of trafficking in persons, - the first governmental agreement to train emergency doctors for an early finding of victims.

We have for the first time an integrated action plan to answer all international recommendations in this field and a working group especially established to prevent and combat trafficking in human persons among refugees from Ukraine. There are just some of the elements of an ample effort of coordination and engagement of all partners, that will continue at a sustained pace because as I mentioned before, we have zero tolerance for trafficking in human persons.

Children and disability - I am glad that despite all the complex elements that have marked the year 2022, we have not neglected the need to provide safety for children and people with disabilities. Here we have effective and useful support tools for children, such as 119 which was introduced in Romania as the single emergency number for reporting cases of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and any other form of violence against the child.

 Ro-Alert, "Missing Child" and, of course, we provide over 70,000 hours of the free therapy for children and a system through which adults with intellectual disabilities will no longer be deprived of legal capacity. That is, they can get jobs, get married, vote, and make decisions about their lives, with more or less support.

Dear colleagues and partners, ladies and gentlemen, last year showed us that those in need, need our protection, care, and attention. We felt how important it was that our efforts were united so that our help would reach those who were waiting for it in time. I want to thank you all because together we managed to build new bridges between us, bridges for progress, evolution, and hope for the better for all people.

I would like, on my own behalf, to thank the entire department that Mrs. Turza coordinated at the Government level. I want to thank the entire associative environment, the private sector, and the Romanian citizens who absolutely contributed out of empathy and solidarity to the efforts and answered the call we made from the Government level. And, last but not least, I want to thank the entire diplomatic corps from Bucharest for their involvement and, in particular, the representatives of the United Nations Organization, because they were present in Romania from the first moment, remained, and continue to ensure an open collaboration and very complex one on everything that the dynamics in Romania and the dynamics in Ukraine mean, requiring us to adapt every time, to come up with new solutions and be able to meet expectations and, at the same time, to coordinate - and I know that it is not simple to put all these tools together, to align them in a common effort, and finally to find the resources, the logistics, and to make people feel that they can really benefit from the support of neighbors, the support of friends, the support of international organizations. As such, thank you once again. I am sure that you will succeed in detailing all these aspects, which will later materialize in a revision and adaptation of the plans and, of course, a sharing of experience within the international body already established and which also makes a substantial contribution to all that we do here. Thank you and I wish you further success!



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