The full-scale invasion changed not only the lives of Ukrainians, but also those who sought refuge in our country. For a long time, Ukraine has been both a transit and a destination country for people fleeing persecution and violence in other parts of the world. In 2021, approximately 5,000 asylum seekers and refugees were seeking refuge in Ukraine or in transit to the EU. However, on February 24, they found themselves among millions of internally displaced people and facing wartime threats inside the country.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Ukraine, 1,283 of Ukraine’s registered asylum seekers fled the country in the first half of 2022. This means up to 75% of the asylum seeker and refugee population may still be inside the country, where they are particularly at risk.
What difficulties do they face during wartime? How can these problems be overcome?
The R2P provides answers to these questions in the report, prepared in cooperation with our partner HIAS – “Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Ukraine Addressing Protection Risks During Wartime”. It combines the findings of a R2P and HIAS survey of 168 asylum seekers and refugees (many of whom were or are beneficiaries of R2P), research, written submissions from other nongovernmental organisations, and insights from UNHCR Ukraine, to portray the protection challenges this population faces.
Key findings highlighted in the report:
- There is no effective access to the asylum procedure inside Ukraine, yet people unable to apply for protection are faced with fines, deportation, or detention for “irregular stay.”
- Two-thirds of the respondents to the survey said they were unable to leave Ukraine, usually due to a lack of documents. More than one-quarter were not able to move freely within the country.
- Asylum seekers and refugees who have fled the country face significant difficulties returning, preventing family reunification.
- Without ID and travel documents, people are unable to access healthcare and humanitarian aid or secure affordable housing.
- Roughly one in five of the respondents in the survey said they faced discrimination in Ukraine.
You can read the full version of the report below. This report recommends constructive actions that the Ukrainian authorities, international organisations, governments, and donors can take to better support asylum seekers and refugees in the country.