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

PACE today expressed its deep concern about the humanitarian consequences caused by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, causing the largest population movement since the Second World War. It commended the solidarity of member States in opening their borders on 24 February and the efforts of Ukraine, which, in addition to defending its territory, has to care for 7 to 9 million displaced persons.

In adopting unanimously a resolution, based on the report by Pierre-Alain Fridez (Switzerland, SOC), PACE underlined 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, for 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, 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 coordination, and the key role of local and regional authorities in managing the humanitarian crisis, the Assembly welcomed the essential support of civil society and called on national authorities to treat NGOs and volunteers as full partners.

Finally, PACE said 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.