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When Russia launched a full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022, asylum seekers, refugees and persons in need of complementary protection from Ukraine were among the millions displaced into the European Union.

EU Council Decision 2022/382 of March 4, 2022, provided many of them with access to temporary protection. At the same time, these people faced significant obstacles in accessing it: documents certifying their status in Ukraine were missing or not recognized in the EU; some states, together with the refugees’ documents, also demanded the passports of their countries of origin, which could not be at their disposal; other countries sent refugees to the embassies of their countries of origin, which posed a risk to their safety.

In order to protect the rights of refugees and persons in need of complementary protection in Ukraine, СF “Right to Protection” has developed a Legal note “Addressing barriers to protection for beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers fleeing Ukraine to the EU” and an infographic about the documents of refugees who are eligible for temporary protection. The purpose of these documents is to facilitate the interaction of the beneficiaries with the migration authorities of the host countries in the EU and enforce refugees’ rights. 


Dear Beneficiaries,

R2P announces the launch of the Livelihoods Grants Program supported by UNHCR. It provides a self-reliance business grant or a vocational/re-qualification training grant. To apply, please fill out the corresponding Google form Business-grant or Vocational Training and submit it within two calendar weeks from the announcement date that is on 21.08.2023

To apply for a grant, you should comply with the following

  • be a refugee, asylum seeker, or complementary protection holder in Ukraine;
  • be eligible for UNHCR assistance;
  • live in the territory of Ukraine, particularly in Kharkiv and Kharkiv oblast or Lviv and Lviv oblast. If you reside in other oblasts of the country, you need to enquire about the corresponding program of other UNHCR partners;
  • have a business idea or a training plan. 

The approximate amount of the vocational training grant is 3,000 USD, and the business grant is 5,000 USD. You should prove the sum with the necessary equipment/facilities or training service.  

!! Please note: The selection of grant beneficiaries is not based on the vulnerability of the beneficiary but on the validity and sustainability of their business idea or justification of the necessity to obtain vocational training. 

Good luck. We are looking forward to receiving your pre-applications!

If you have any questions, please contact R2P by tel. 093-038-95-62. 


Recently in Europe a week dedicated to discussing the rights of refugees and the challenges they face took place. Human rights defenders from different countries shared experiences and worked out new strategies for advocating the rights of those people. Representatives from Ukraine and, in particular, from R2P have been participants in these discussions for a long time, for our Foundation is a member of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE).

On June 15th Svitlana Butenko, the Legal Assistance to Refugees and Asylum Seekers Programme Manager of R2P, took part in the ECRE Annual General Conference 2023 in Turin. She held a workshop entitled “Implementation of Directives on Temporary Protection Preparing for Long-term Solution Contemporary Analysis in EU Countries”. Svitlana Butenko shared the results of a research concerning  the situation of refugees who have left the territory of Ukraine after the beginning of the invasion and now are living in EU countries. Together with our partner – HIAS, we found that about 40% of our beneficiaries (asylum seekers, refugees, persons in need of complementary protection) could not get temporary protection, or  face significant delays in receiving it in EU countries. Most of these people – refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, CIS countries – went to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France.

“We researched the legislation of the EU countries in this area and found out that the problem, obviously, is connected with documents that these people have or do not have”, – said Svitlana Butenko.

The purpose of her workshop was to draw the attention of our colleagues – human rights defenders in Europe to the problems, and causes that had been identified and to help them to find effective tools to support these people.

Besides, the conference has become a great platform for sharing experiences with partners who also face difficulties advocating for refugee rights. With partners from Poland, it was possible to discuss in detail both the problem of crossing the border for refugees recognized in Ukraine and the ways to overcome the restriction on applying for protection at the borders. Our partners from Hungary shared their formula of advocacy in the absence of support from the state and society. And the partners from Germany commented with interest on our study on access to temporary protection for refugees recognized in Ukraine.

“Ukraine is currently on the path to European integration. The task of human rights organizations is to study international standards and the practice of their application in European countries in order to choose the optimal formula for their implementation in the future. Such conferences are a step towards meeting the EU standards”, – added Svitlana Butenko. 


In 2021, R2P provided legal assistance to 1,553 refugees and asylum seekers inside Ukraine and supported their social and economic inclusion in Ukrainian society. 

In 2022, after the full-scale invasion, R2P continued to deliver aid to the refugees and asylum seekers. The state policy towards this vulnerable category of population was already disagreeable and had significant implementation gaps but over the past year, the situation has worsened. 

R2P shed light on the current situation of asylum seekers and refugees in its report Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Ukraine Addressing Protection Risks During Wartime. According to a survey conducted for the report and practice of the R2P lawyers, these persons lack effective access to the asylum procedure inside Ukraine, people unable to apply for protection are faced with fines, deportation, or detention for “irregular stay”; some number of the R2P beneficiaries are unable to leave Ukraine as well as return to Ukraine after they fled to the EU.

In addition, the recently adopted Ukraine Law 2952-IX, passed in February 2023, brings significant changes to the country’s migration and asylum legislation. These amendments primarily focus on areas such as suspending the possibility to apply for asylum at the border.

The attempts of the R2P to conduct a productive dialogue to address the worrying issues have not given meaningful outcomes. The R2P envisages pursuing efforts to bring attention to the hurdles of asylum seekers and refugees using the legal framework, advocacy and support of its national and international partners. Among the priorities are inducing the Ombudsman to file a constitutional complaint against Law 2952-IX. 

Therefore, together with other human rights organizations, we have prepared a public statement, which, we hope, can become an effective tool in this direction. You can read more in the document at the link below.


Even in times of war, Ukraine remains a host country for refugees – foreigners who, even before 24 February, fled hostilities, wars and political or religious persecution here. Citizens of Syria, Afghanistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Iran and other countries around the world have sought (and continue to seek) protection in Ukraine.

Agzam* was one of those whom fate made a fugitive. And his entire family – his wife and four children – as well. In his home country of Kazakhstan, Aghzam was an active member of a religious Islamic organisation persecuted by the country’s authorities. The man was prosecuted in Kazakhstan for his religious beliefs: he was considered a criminal there only on the basis of his peaceful religious views.

“Before the official verdict was handed down, I managed to leave the country and take my family with me. We ended up in Ukraine, where we asked for international protection,” he recalls.

Agzam is now 45 years old. Due to his health problems, with his first disability group, he needs constant monitoring by specialists and treatment.

Friends from his religious organisation, who were also seeking protection in Ukraine, suggested that the man could turn to the Right to Protection for help – as a human rights organisation that has been supporting refugees from all over the world for many years.

“The man approached us in 2020, and since then we have accompanied his migration case. In two years, he has twice been refused recognition as a refugee or as a person in need of complementary protection by the State Migration Service. We went to court twice, proving that his family could not return to his homeland because he was facing imprisonment there because of religious persecution. We gathered the necessary package of documents with evidence and information about the country of origin and details of the criminal case against Agzam in Kazakhstan. Eventually, in the summer of 2022, the Lviv District Administrative Court ordered the State Migration Service to recognise Aghzam as a refugee or a person in need of complementary protection in Ukraine,” said Anton Maksymov, lawyer with the Right to Protection Foundation.

After years of wandering and a long trial, Agzam and his family least expected such a decision during the martial law in Ukraine, which has already become a second home, so the news was a real blessing for them.

According to Agzam, he sees his future in Ukraine, his eldest son is doing his best to integrate. And Agzam himself is waiting to be able to benefit from the right to medical services and disability payments, which he hopes will be available once the State Migration Service makes its decision.The family hopes for the best and believes that Ukraine will win this war.

“It is very important that the judiciary in Ukraine, despite the war, continues to work because people like Agzam still need protection. For many of them, international protection in Ukraine is the only way to live a full life. This is not the first war for them, and they are seeking safety in Ukraine as a European country where human rights and international law are respected. In Agzam’s case the situation is aggravated by health problems and his inability to enjoy his rights and provide for himself,” adds Anton Maksymov.

We wish Agzam and his family health and strength, and will continue to help in all legal matters.

*Name changed at the request of the beneficiary.

UNHCR Ukraine – Aгентство ООН у справах біженців в Україні


 Cabinet of Minister of Ukraine

                                                                      Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine 

                                                  Government of the Slovak Republic

                                                                Ministry of Interior of The Slovak Republic

We, the Right to Protection CF and Human Rights League avail themselves of this opportunity to express assurances of our highest consideration and esteem.

The Right to Protection CF is a Ukrainian non-governmental organization whose activities are aimed at ensuring the protection and observance of human rights including of internally displaced persons, stateless persons and refugees as well as of conflict affected population since 2014. 

The Human Rights League is a Slovak non-governmental organization established in 2005 by lawyers and attorneys dedicated to providing legal assistance to foreigners and refugees in Slovakia. Our aspiration is to support building of transparent and responsible immigration, asylum and integration policies respecting human rights and dignity. Our initiatives aim to support self-empowerment of foreigners and refugees.

Based on the named activities, we draw your attention to the following.

On 24 February, 2022, Russian armed forces launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine at multiple locations. The same day martial law was imposed in Ukraine by the President of Ukraine. As a result of this unprecedented atrocity of the Russian Federation, according to OCHA data as of May 25, 2022 almost 450 thousand people fled Ukraine to Slovakia. 

Due to this situation on March 4, 2022 the European Council issued the Implementing decision (EU) 2022/382 establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection. Since military hostilities have not been ended, it is possible to presume based on data of the humanitarian organizations that even more Ukrainians will flee Ukraine seeking temporary protection in Slovakia.

The Right to Protection’ lawyers assist in restoring identity documents of conflict affected population that were lost, stolen or destroyed during hostilities or evacuation. The process of identification and restoration is alleviated by the fact that starting on August 23, 2021 Ukrainian digital ID-cards and international passports are equated with their physical analogues in Ukraine. Meaning that on the territory of Ukraine named digital documents are treated as an equivalent of paper ones. 

Moreover, in 2021, the European Commission issued Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/1380 of 19 August 2021 establishing the equivalence, for the purpose of facilitating the right of free movement within the Union, of COVID-19 certificates issued by Ukraine to the certificates issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2021/953 of the European Parliament and of the Council. According to Article 1 of the Decision COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery certificates issued by Ukraine in accordance with the ‘Single State portal of electronic services’ (Diia portal and mobile application) system shall, for the purpose of facilitating the right of free movement within the Union, be treated as equivalent to those issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2021/953. 

Also, as of today, Polish and Moldavian state border services accept digital identity documents in application Diia to confirm Ukrainian nationality given that Diia is used widely by Ukrainians.

Apart from the named documents, only E-documents (a temporary digital document, which could be used for certifying identity of a person who lost documents during the martial law) are translated into English. Yet, there are other digital documents available in the application Diia that may grant additional rights or benefits to Ukrainians abroad.  

Since the outbreak of the invasion, Human Right League’ lawyers have been providing legal aid for Ukrainians seeking protection in Slovakia. While doing our work we have encountered high numbers of cases when in the view of military hostilities effect, people do not have any paper documents, so as a result it takes more time them to get state provided services as well as other benefits. For example, at least identification documents which prove citizenship or permanent residence are needed to grant temporary protection immediately person applies for it. Also, frequently faced situations are when parents do not have paper birth certificate of their child, but at the same time its digital analogue is available in the Diia application. 

Hence, if digital documents are considered in Slovakia as a sufficient proof of the legal facts, it will be significantly easier for people from Ukraine to obtain benefits and services they are entitled to. 

Considering the above mentioned, we call on the Ukrainian authorities to provide translation into English of all documents in the application Diia for confirming certain legal facts and ensuring rights of Ukrainians abroad.

We also call on the Slovakian authorities to consider all digital documents in the application Diia as an equivalent of the paper documents and grant Ukrainians eligible rights and benefits based on such documents.


Intercountry adoption should not occur during or immediately after an emergency.2 In line with the  Ukrainian Government’s suspension of intercountry adoption,3 we urge receiving States,  international bodies, and humanitarian agencies to adopt a harmonised approach and call for a  moratorium on intercountry adoptions from Ukraine1

During emergencies, such as conflict, it is a well-accepted principle of States’ obligations under  international law that adoption is not an appropriate response for unaccompanied and separated  children. Children separated from their parents during a humanitarian emergency cannot be assumed  to be orphans. Until the fate of a child’s parents or other close relatives can be verified, each separated  child should be considered as still having living relatives or legal guardians and, therefore, is not in  need of adoption. Every effort should be made to reunify children with their families when possible,  if such reunification is in their best interest.4 This includes children who were living in residential care  facilities when the crisis escalated, many of whom are children with disabilities. This is echoed in  UNHCR’s Policy on the Adoption of Refugee Children.5 

Intercountry adoption should only be considered once all family tracing and reunification efforts  have been exhausted and stable in-country solutions, including kinship care, foster care, and  national adoptions have been considered in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.6 In an  emergency, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to ensure that international standards and  safeguards are respected in accordance with the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children  and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Even though Ukraine is not a Party to the 1993 Adoption Convention, all receiving States should apply  its standards and safeguards when cooperating with Ukraine. 

According to International Social Service (ISS) worldwide statistics, provided by States to the Hague  Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), Ukraine facilitated the second highest number of  intercountry adoptions in 2020.7 In times of peace, a child should only be considered for intercountry  adoption based on the best interests of the child, with full respect for the rights of the child. This  includes establishing that the child is adoptable,8 the child has been consulted and well-informed in  line with his/her evolving capacity, all suitable placement options in the country have been considered 

and exhausted in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the prospective adoptive parent(s) is  (are) eligible to adopt the child in question, there is consent by those legally acting on the child’s  behalf, including that the consent of the mother is given only after the birth of the child, and  information about the child and their parents’ identity is preserved. Such considerations may be  particularly challenging for States like Ukraine that are not parties to the 1993 Adoption Convention. 

Conflict is a breeding ground for illicit practices, in part because of the breakdown of oversight.  Separated and unaccompanied children are extremely vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation; including illicit practices in adoption. The ongoing crisis makes it impossible to ensure that commercial  or criminal gain, fraud, child trafficking, and the deception of birth parents do not play any part in the  adoption process. The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children state that children in  emergency situations should not be moved to a country other than their habitual residence for  alternative care except for compelling health, medical or safety reasons. When a child must be moved,  they should stay as close as possible to their home, be accompanied by a parent or caregiver, and have  a clear plan of return.9 10 

In the aftermath of children’s displacement to neighbouring countries, adequate identification and  registration measures must be in place and appropriate alternative care arrangements provided in  line with the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and the Convention on the Rights of  the Child.11 The conflict should not be used as a justification for expediting intercountry adoptions, or  for circumventing or disregarding the internationally accepted framework. This applies equally to  adoption procedures that were already under way prior to the conflict. 

This statement remains open for endorsement until the end of June 2022. As new endorsements come in,  the statement will be updated once a week. New endorsements should be sent to [email protected], with the name of the organization and a high-resolution logo. 

1 This statement was developed with contributions from the sub-group on care under the UASC Task Force, co-led by the  Transforming Children’s Care Global Collaborative Platform 

2 In line with the recommendations from the Permanent Bureau of HCCH (16 March 2022):

3 The Government of Ukraine Statement: in-Ukraine [accessed 11 April 2022] also referred to in the UNICEF statement updated on the 24th of March: 



4 Rights of the child: realizing the rights of the child and family reunification. OHCHR | HRC | 49th regular session of the  Human Rights Council: Resolutions, decisions and President’s statements – sessions/session49/res-dec-stat 



5 UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNHCR Policy on Adoption, 22 August 1995, available at: [accessed 11 April 2022] 



6 The principle of subsidiarity according to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is that “States Party to the  Convention recognise that a child should be raised by his or her birth family or extended family whenever possible. If that is  not possible or practicable, other forms of permanent family care in the country of origin should be considered. Only after  due consideration has been given to national solutions should intercountry adoption be considered”. The Implementation  and Operation of the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention: Guide to Good Practice (Bristol, U.K.: Family Law, 2008),  p. 29, Hague Conference on Private International Law,

7 The latest available data reports 277 intercountry adoptions facilitated by Ukraine in 2020. International Social Service  (December 2021) Monthly Review No. 257 

8 Establishing whether a child is adoptable, or eligible for adoption, States must go through the legal process of determining  if a child has a birth family that is willing or able to care for him/her. This includes supporting the birth family to care for the  child, family tracing and reunification if children are separated from their caregivers and verifying who has legal guardianship  of the child.  

9 UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (2010). (see paras  146,160,166) 

10 In full respect of the non-refoulement principle for refugees. 

11 Convention on the Rights of the Child (Articles 20 and 22), Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment 6  (2005) [para 31 (ii)].s


Every single day the specialists of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) face various violations of human rights, the rights that are fundamental and enshrined at the international level. The people face such violations in every corner of the world, regardless of the place of residence, nationality, or religion.

Today we will tell the story of Lida (name changed) who came to Ukraine from Iran to study.

The girl saw the world for the first time and realized that the European worldview is closer to her, that she does not want to be “sold” to her future husband, and that she wants to choose her own path. But what she did is not allowed and is punished by death in Iran, her home country. So she sought protection where she sees her future and feels safe.

However, as it turned out, finding protection and asylum in Ukraine is not so easy.

For the whole year, the girl was visiting the territorial department of the State Migration Service to receive the status of a refugee or a person in need of complementary protection, but each time she encountered a new obstacle.  Neither the impeccably completed application, nor the notarized translation of the passport and other documents, nor her attempts to obtain supporting documents from the university helped.

Each time Lida received a new recommendation to correct something in her application, bring documents, redo photos, etc.  And every time she left the migration service, she cried and wanted to give up. One day, while being in total despair, she turned to the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P).

Коли рідна країна не дозволяє вірити по іншому. Історія Ліди, шукачки захисту з Ірану

«We have provided Lida with all the necessary advice and helped to gather the whole package of documents. With our legal and moral support, the young Iranian girl was able to apply successfully and is now documented by the Certificate of Application for Protection in Ukraine. The first step is finished. And for Lida, this is a huge step forward after a whole year of unsuccessful attempts. For our part, we are preparing to continue her case, including in court,»

– said Olena Rychko, a lawyer at the R2P.

The Project “Legal Assistance to Refugees and Asylum Seekers” is implemented by the
Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) with the financial support
of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Contact us if you require legal aid. Our hotline numbers are listed below.
All services provided by the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) are free of charge.



    What will you do if you suddenly become a foreigner in your home country and start receiving violent threats because of your political views? The only logical step in such a situation is to run away. And this is exactly what Natalia, a refugee from Belarus did (ed.note – name changed due to safety concerns). The woman arrived in Ukraine in August 2020 due to political pressure from the Belarusian authorities. She was forced to do so.

    The salvation for her was obtaining refugee status in Ukraine. The woman turned to the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) for help, where she received essential legal aid.

    The lawyers of the organization helped Natalia to fill in all the necessary documents and submit them to the State Migration Service for consideration.

    Олександра Журко

    “The applicant received all the necessary information about the refugee recognition procedure in Ukraine and was assisted in filling in the documents and providing evidence. Due to quarantine restrictions, she was unable to apply to the migration service within the statutory deadline, but due to her persistence and the legal consultations from R2P, on the last day of Ms.Natalia’s legal stay in Ukraine the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) accepted her application,”

    – said Oleksandra Zhurko, the Manager of the R2P Project “Legal Assistance to Refugees and Asylum Seekers”.

    Finally, Ms. Natalia’s application was approved and the SMSU decided to recognize her as a refugee in Ukraine.

    This was a difficult path and lots of hard work, but together with Ms. Natalia, we were able to make it real.

    The Project “Legal Assistance to Refugees and Asylum Seekers” is implemented by the
    Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) with the financial support
    of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    Contact us if you require legal aid. Our hotline numbers are listed below.
    All services provided by the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) are free of charge.