Guide for the authorized bodies of the Member States of the European Union
Guide for the authorized bodies of the Member States of the European Union dealing with the issues of granting temporary protection and ensuring an adequate level of protection to the citizens of Ukraine who left Ukraine on and after February 24, 2022, as a result of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation
March 4, 2023 marks one year since the adoption by the EU Council of the Implementing Decision pursuant to Council Directive 2001/55/EC of July 20, 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof. The reason for the approval of the Implementing Decision was the mass influx of displaced persons to the EU who were forced to leave Ukraine as a result of the full-scale armed invasion by Russian troops (Article 1 of the Implementing Decision).
According to projections and estimates by the EU authorities and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees at the time of its adoption in 2022, «the Union is likely to be faced with a very large number of displaced persons, potentially between 2.5 million and 6.5 million as a consequence of the armed conflict, of whom it is anticipated that between 1.2 and 3.2 million would be persons seeking international protection. The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that, under the worst-case scenario, up to 4 million people may potentially flee Ukraine.» (clause 6 of the Implementing Decision).
However, currently, according to the UNHCR, as of March 28, 2023, there are 8,173,211 refugees from Ukraine who are recorded throughout Europe, of whom 4,946,920 are registered for temporary protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe.
Russia’s ongoing aggressive war against Ukraine, Russia’s continued occupation of part of Ukraine’s territory makes it impossible for the Ukrainian state authorities to apply security measures (in particular, to ensure full security against missile and artillery attacks, mine clearance on the liberated territories and in the buildings), restore civilian infrastructure and housing, etc. Therefore, people’s return home, despite their wishes, is postponed indefinitely. This means that Ukrainian citizens are forced to seek (continue to seek) temporary protection in Europe, hoping for the humanity and solidarity of the EU citizens.
We are well aware of the difficulties faced by the European countries when organizing the reception of displaced Ukrainian citizens, taking into account the consequences of the European migration crisis of 2015-2016. Ukraine is extremely grateful to the European countries for how humanely the reception of our compatriots forced to seek temporary protection was organized. Sociological research shows that Ukrainian placed in refugee camps en masse. Instead, EU governments mostly contribute to the provision of housing or provide housing; thanks to the excellent communication between the law enforcement officers and the citizens of Ukraine, they managed to avoid increase in the crime rate (with respect to human trafficking for the purpose of sexual and labor exploitation, etc.) The EU has introduced free roaming services for Ukrainians. Of course, there are still a lot of opportunities for establishing cooperation between the competent authorities of the EU member states and Ukraine, for example, in providing free legal assistance to temporary protection seekers, ensuring a stable crime rate in the places of their residence, searching for and returning children abducted from Ukraine, as well as in other areas as indicated in this Guide and the Sociological Report.
The majority of Ukrainian citizens, who have already received temporary protection in Europe, are determined to make their human and professional contribution to the socio-economic and cultural development of their host communities.
In particular, Ukrainian citizens note that their displacement was forced, they did not plan to migrate. In part, most of them ended up in the host countries quite by chance. Consequently, people are not sufficiently aware of the laws and their own rights in the host countries.
At the same time according to the estimates of Ukrainian citizens, protection is primarily aimed at providing urgent humanitarian aid (and Ukrainians are very grateful to Europeans for this). However, the protracted nature of the war forces Ukrainian citizens to remain in the European countries to this day. This results in the need to guarantee a stable socio-economic framework for the further stay of Ukrainians in the European countries. Moreover, Ukrainians say that they want to be as useful as possible for the host countries, to be able to provide for themselves, and they do not want to be a social burden for the host countries and communities.
Experience in the implementation of the Implementing Decision 2022 by the authorized bodies of the EU member states, as described by the Ukrainian citizens who sought temporary protection in 2022, gave impetus to experts and human rights activists to conduct a sociological and human rights-based (HBRA) study. Therefore, based on the results of in-depth interviews with Ukrainian female citizens who relocated to the European countries in search of temporary protection as a result of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, the Sociological Report and this Guide were released.
The list of problems and challenges faced by the Ukrainian citizens seeking temporary protection in the EU member states is not exhaustive and is based on the responses of the sociological survey respondents. Also, the Guide does not describe a significant number of good practices of accepting Ukrainians seeking temporary protection in the communities of the EU member states.
The purpose of the Guide is to help officials of the authorized bodies of EU member states better understand Ukrainians (as friendly European neighbors) in order to provide them with an appropriate level of protection, for the benefit of both the displaced Ukrainians and host communities of the EU member states. The Guide includes Introduction which explains why the Guide was created, acknowledgment from Ukrainians, a list of abbreviations, 5 which explains why the, conclusions and recommendations.
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