The UN Refugee Agency has been working in Ukraine since 1994 and established a country office the following year. A host country agreement was signed in September 1996.
Ukraine acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees and the 1967 Protocol in 2002. A 2011 law regulates the treatment of refugees and other persons of concern in Ukraine.
In 2013, Ukraine acceded to the two UN Conventions relating to the status of stateless persons (1954) and on the reduction of statelessness (1961).
Refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless persons
- Through its traditional core mandate, UNHCR monitors the situation of persons of concern and intervenes directly to ensure adequate protection of refugees and asylum-seekers.
- UNHCR gives material, social, and medical assistance to the most vulnerable and provides financial assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees in most need.
- UNHCR assists refugees in Ukraine to find durable solutions facilitating their voluntary repatriation, local integration, and resettlement to a third country.
- UNHCR works with the Government of Ukraine to strengthen the national asylum system, including through a regional project in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus known as the “Quality Initiative”, which focusses on capacity development of asylum authorities (State Migration Service of Ukraine), judges, lawyers, and State Border Guard Service.
- UNHCR provides legal aid to persons at risk of statelessness, with particular outreach to ethnic minorities. Internally displaced persons
- The humanitarian response to the internal displacement situation in Ukraine is a coordinated effort by the Government, international organizations, national and international NGOs. UNHCR leads the Protection Cluster and the Shelter and Non-Food Item Cluster.
- Protection monitoring through UNHCR’s and Protection Cluster partner’s field presence in both government and non-government controlled areas identifies human rights violations, and protection risks encountered by IDPs and the conflict-affected population at large. UNHCR shapes its response through continuous protection monitoring at both the community and individual level.
- UNHCR and its partners provide individual case management, through legal assistance, protection counselling, and cash-based and in-kind individual protection assistance.
- UNHCR monitors legislation developments affecting IDPs and undertakes advocacy interventions and awareness-raising initiatives influence decision- makers, stakeholders, and other relevant audiences to achieve positive change in policy and practice to address the protection needs and rights of IDPs.
- Community-based and peaceful coexistence projects involving IDP and host communities facilitate durable solutions, and mitigate the impact of displacement, promoting social cohesion and peaceful co-existence.
- Capacity building initiatives, such as training and workshops, strengthen the ability of the Government, local administration, civil society, and host communities to create enabling environments for the support and integration of IDPs.
- UNHCR and its partners deliver shelter and NFI assistance to IDPs and conflict-affected persons. NFIs are important in addressing new emergency needs related to the ongoing conflict in areas where markets function poorly. UNHCR provides shelter assistance to repair conflict-damaged homes in areas near the line of contact.
Working and strengthening NGO Partners
- UNHCR works closely with eight NGO partners and other operational partners to provide protection and assistance to persons of concern.
- Through extensive consultations with partners in 2017, UNHCR prepared a Multi-Year, Multi-Partner Protection and Solutions Strategy for Ukraine. The strategy sets out UNHCR’s plan for engagement in Ukraine for a period of five years (2018-2022). The period is synchronized with the cycle of the UN- Government of Ukraine Partnership Framework (UNPF) in recognition of the value of pursuing a joined-up approach among humanitarian and development actors in the context of persistent conflict affecting eastern Ukraine, as well as the goal of achieving protection and durable solutions for IDPs, refugees and stateless persons throughout the country.