Earlier this week, UNHCR reported the number of people who have fled Ukraine to be 6.8 million. Rapid assessment reveals risks for women and girls in neighbouring countries. ECRE publishes latest updated information sheet on Measures in response to the arrival of displaced people fleeing the war in Ukraine and key-advocacy messages towards EU decision makers on Ukraine displacement.

With the number of refugees from Ukraine approaching 7 million and the number of internally displaced (IDPs) at 7.7 million as of April 2022, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the total displacement is close to 15 million since the Russian invasion on 24 February. Almost 3.7 million refugees have fled into Poland where UNHCR is in the process of expanding its operations.

HIAS and VOICE have published a report of a four-week rapid assessment of the situation of women and girls in Ukraine, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. The report reveals the high risks of trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), as well as conflict-related sexual violence, domestic violence, and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV). It further highlighted protection concerns related to shelter and unsustainable housing, a lack of access to livelihoods and cash based assistance; and inconsistent access to reliable information. Overall, displaced persons throughout the region lack access to GBV services, reproductive healthcare, and psychosocial support services, and Roma and LGBTQIA+ communities face additional discrimination and protection concerns.

ECRE has published the latest version of the non-exhaustive information sheet, which has been regularly updated since it was first published on 3 March 2022. This edition of the info sheet includes a summary of emerging country practice on the scope of the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD), including expanded personal scope of temporary protection under the TPD; extended temporal scope of temporary protection under the TPD; and countries applying a more limited scope than the scope of the Council Decision. Eurostat has released statistics on Ukrainians granted temporary protection in EU states in March 2022 revealing that: “among the EU Member States for which data are available, Poland granted the highest number of temporary protection statuses to Ukrainians fleeing Ukraine (675 085) as a consequence of Russia’s invasion. Poland was followed by Czechia (244 650) and Slovakia (58 750). Further, Eurostat states: “Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest ratio of Ukrainian citizens granted temporary protection in March 2022 was recorded in Czechia (22.9 granted temporary protection per thousand inhabitants), followed by Poland (17.8), Slovakia (10.8) and Estonia (10.5).

ECRE’s updated advocacy recommendations cover areas related to the implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive and point out how the challenges and gaps in TPD implementation should be addressed. In general, as temporary protection beneficiaries are in a very similar situation to other beneficiaries of international protection, no additional administrative requirements should be introduced to access their rights under the TPD. The document highlights the concerning practice of non-issuance of residence cards and lack of provision of information by Member States and provides suggestions for areas that should be covered in the next European Commission guidance to Member States, to address the following implementation challenges: Lack of administrative decisions; Problems with narrow family definitions; Different interpretations of freedom of movement by EUMS; and Ensuring passage to Ukraine for visits/re-entry. Beyond the TPD, the advocacy recommendations cover EU operational and funding assistance for the response, the necessary focus on inclusion, the need for solidarity contributions and other considerations.

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.