Ukraine 2017 Participatory Assessment
“We carry our tragedy inside”
The 2017 Participatory Assessment Report for refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons in Ukraine
This report is based on dialogues with refugees asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, and persons at risk of displacement conducted in Ukraine between February and March 2017. UNHCR is grateful for the extensive involvement and support of UNHCR’s partners, local authorities, free legal aid centres, civil society, and international organizations. Finally, UNHCR would like to acknowledge the refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, and persons at risk of displacement whose participation demonstrates a commitment to engage pro-actively in decision-making concerning their protection and finding solutions to their needs despite the challenges and difficulties faced in their current situation.
The 2017 Ukraine participatory assessment involved 167 focus group discussions conducted by UNHCR and its partners across the country, supported by local authorities, free legal aid centres, civil society and international organizations, with women, men, girls and boys of different ages and backgrounds. This report presents the specific protection risks and their underlying causes faced by refugees, internally displaced persons (IDP), and persons at risk of displacement. It provides details of their capacities, and their proposed solutions. The previous participatory assessment exercise in Ukraine took place in 2015.
The overarching concerns of participants from all target groups relate to discrimination, administrative and bureaucratic obstacles to the exercise of their rights, and housing. All target groups called for assistance from the Government, international organizations, civil society, and local communities, to support their integration in a tolerant and inclusive society.
Specific concerns of refugee and asylum seeker participants relate to xenophobia, challenges in accessing asylum procedures and flaws in these procedures, as well as lack of local integration prospects, and a preoccupation with identifying durable solutions.
Many feel a sense of hopelessness and exclusion despite having spent years in Ukraine, and a belief that there are few opportunities for resettlement. For those granted refugee status or complementary protection, concerns focus on possibilities for naturalisation and a more stable presence in Ukraine.
For IDPs and persons at risk of displacement, concerns include high rents, lack of employment prospects, and difficulty accessing state subsidies to offset high utility costs in the context of adapting to the challenges of life since displacement, and the realisation that return to their prior place of residence is increasingly unlikely in the near future. They perceive administrative and procedural barriers as the main underlying causes of their problems, together with a lack of political will, coordination and understanding from the authorities. Many IDPs feel discriminated against by Ukrainian society and conclude that the authorities do not make sufficient efforts to ensure that they have full access to their rights.
The participatory assessment presents recommendations for each target group, and by rights group. The findings will influence the design of UNHCR’s programmatic responses in Ukraine.