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Measures to address the needs of refugees and displaced persons and the humanitarian crisis caused by Russia's aggression against Ukraine

Ukraine refugees

The Migration Committee today expressed its concern at the humanitarian consequences of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, leading to the largest population movement since the Second World War. It commended the solidarity of member States, which by mid-May 2022 had taken in more than 6 million refugees – including more than 3 million in Poland – and the efforts of Ukraine, which, in addition to defending its territory, has to care for 7 to 9 million displaced persons who have found refuge in regions untouched by the war.

The report by Pierre-Alain Fridez (Switzerland, SOC), unanimously adopted by the committee today, stresses the need for “continued, long-term and co-ordinated support from member States” to ensure that displaced persons and refugees from Ukraine receive all the assistance they need.

The adopted text calls for a series of measures, based on Council of Europe instruments, to enable Ukraine and the host countries to address urgent and longer-term needs.

In this context, the parliamentarians stressed the need to identify those in vulnerable situations at an early stage, to prevent human trafficking, to protect children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (whether they have left Ukraine or are still on its territory), to protect people fleeing from Ukraine against xenophobic and racist violence, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or religion – in particular undocumented Roma. Member States should also consider the situation of LGBTI persons who are still in Ukraine or are fleeing the war.

While recognising the primary responsibility of national authorities for co-ordination, and the key role of local and regional authorities in managing the humanitarian crisis, the committee welcomed the essential support of civil society and called on central authorities to treat NGOs and volunteers as full partners.

Finally, the committee believes that people who have fled the war must find their place in the host society during their stay and encouraged access to employment for refugees from Ukraine, as well as the integration of children into schools in host countries.