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Ukraine: UNHCR Operational Update, June to July 2021

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Unhcr In Ukraine, UNHCR responds for three populations: refugees and asylum-seekers, stateless persons and persons with undetermined nationality, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other conflict-affected persons.

Since the beginning of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the temporary occupation of Crimea in 2014, UNHCR has provided protection and humanitarian assistance and support, including shelter repairs, to IDPs and conflict-affected persons on both sides of the contact line.

On 20 June, UNHCR Ukraine and its NGO partners observed World Refugee Day (WRD) with 30 events all across Ukraine under the global theme “Together we can achieve anything”.

Operational Highlights

  • UNHCR and its NGO partners observed World Refugee Day (WRD) by organizing a campaign of 30 events all across Ukraine from 18 to 25 June. The events were attended by the public and representatives of local governments and ranged from cultural and sporting events to workshops, discussions, and flash mobs. The highlight of the WRD campaign was the launch on 18 June of an open-air photo exhibition: “Together we can achieve anything” in Kyiv city center. It was accompanied by a press briefing attended by the representatives of the State Migration Service of Ukraine, ministries, embassies, non-governmental organizations, refugees and IDPs. The speakers presented the findings of the UNHCR’s Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2020 report and described the national context concerning the forcibly displaced persons. The WRD campaign was covered by more than 50 news pieces in local press and television.

  • In July, due to the worsening protection situation in Afghanistan, Afghan asylum-seekers were inquiring more frequently about the possibility for reunification in Ukraine with their family members remaining in Afghanistan through UNHCR’s NGO partner, the Tenth of April.

  • 340 applications for Statelessness Determination Procedures (SDP) were registered by the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMS) since applications began being accepted in May. UNHCR’s partners have provided legal aid in 52 of those cases. In June, the majority of district SMS units (in raions) were still not accepting SDP applications, but in July the situation slightly improved as more SMS units started registering applicants. The most common challenges still reported in June and July were: an insufficient number of SMS staff assigned to deal with the SDP cases, the need to further enhance the expertise of SMS staff on statelessness determination, a long average time spent registering each applicant (2 to 5 hours), problems with the SDP software, insufficient information provided to SDP applicants about their rights and further steps in the procedure, requests to provide additional documents not envisaged by the SDP resolution and to bring witnesses, and rejections of applicants whose parents had Ukrainian or Russian citizenship according to state databases and delays in issuing the applicants’ certificates.

  • In June, two humanitarian convoys were delivered to the non-government controlled areas (NGCA).
    On 10 June, UNHCR delivered two trucks containing medical equipment to Luhansk NGCA through the Entry-Exit Crossing Point (EECP) in Schastia. On 17 June, UNHCR delivered five trucks with construction materials from UNHCR to Donetsk NGCA through the EECP in Novotroitske.

  • After a gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in June, on 28 July, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine tightened the rules to counter the proliferation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, reintroducing the requirement for self-isolation with the Vdoma application at international borders, EECPs at the contact line and at the administrative boundary with Crimea. Those who cannot install the application will not be allowed to cross. Self-isolation can be terminated by a negative test taken after the crossing. However, there are some exemptions, such as fully vaccinated foreigners and stateless persons and fully or partially vaccinated Ukrainian citizens, people travelling to access vaccination in GCA and children, among others.