World Refugee Day in Ukraine: events in Kyiv and regions


June 20 is the day the world commemorates the strength, courage, and perseverance of millions of refugees. Held every year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee.

This year, UNHCR together with government and civil society have organized an extensive programme of events in Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine.

For live updates on World Refugee Day events in Ukraine see our Storify


20 June -  KYIV -  Opening of Photo Exhibition on St. Sophia Square 

This year the UN Refugee Agency celebrates World Refugee Day by hosting a photo exhibition jointly organized together with the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine and “The Right to Protection” NGO. The exhibition will highlight refugee’s life stories and their integration into local communities in Ukraine and in Canada. The photo exhibition will be presented on St. Sophia square in Kyiv from June 20 until July 3 and then will visit other cities of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, 20 June 2017, at 11-00  UNHCR will organize a press briefing on the occasion of World Refugee Day y to discuss the situation with refugees worldwide and in Ukraine in particular. The list of invited speakers includes:

-        Representative of the UN Refugee Agency in Ukraine Pablo Mateu

-        Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine Roman Waschuk

-        Head of the State Migration Service of Ukraine Maksym Sokolyuk

-        Director of “The Right to Protection” NGO Oleksandr Galkin

-        Representatives of refugees communities in Ukraine

Contacts for media registration: + 380 50 299 3201, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Tetiana Kravchuk). We would appreciate if you confirm your participation by 4pm on Monday, June 19th

20 June - KYIV -  Presentation of UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement at Ukrinform Press Center 

On 20 June, at 13:00  UNHCR together with Crimea SOS NGO will present Ukrainian translation of UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement in the Ukrinform news agency. The document was developed and approved by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1998. Translation of document into Ukrainian was done by "CrimeaSOS" NGO with the support of UNHCR Ukraine. The presentation is will take place in the framework of the World Refugee Day programme The publication will be distributed among governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations as a collection of best practices for institutions working with IDPs.

Participants of the press conference:

Vadym Chernysh, Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs 

Hryhoriy Nemyria, Member of Parliament of Ukraine, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations, 

Pablo Mateu, Representative of the UN Refugee Agency Ukraine, 

Eugeniia Andreyuk, Deputy Coordinator of "CrimeaSOS” NGO, 

The presentation will be  followed by the discussion with representatives from governemnt entities, non-government and international organizations

Accreditation for media by Monday, 19.06., 19:30 by phone: +380 93 004 2851 (Dzhemil Mamutov).


17 June - Mariupol - World Refugee Day Fest in Central Park

On Saturday, June 17, 13:00-16:00,  Mariupol will host an outreach event in the Mariupol city park to observe the World Refugee Day. The event is organized by the UN Refugee Agency in Mariupol and supported by the Mariupol City Council.

The event will gather Mariupol city residents, internally displaced persons and representatives of different nationalities living in the city. Visitors will enjoy the number of entertainment activities, including sporting events, photo exhibition, musical performances, foods, charity fair and even more.

20 June - Dnipro - "Go Green - plant a tree in the park" on the World Refugee Day

On Tuesday, 20 June, 11:00 am, the mass action "Go Green - plant a tree in the park" on Soborna ploshcha (square) will take place in Dnipro. The event will start next to the Cross of Unity of Ukraine. Together with refugees and IDPs and local residents we will be planting trees at Soborna ploshcha to make Dnipro a better place for the diverse population living here and to raise awareness and support the uprooted people who chose the city to be their new home after fleeing their own due to the conflicts.

Among the speakers of the event will be present:

  • Sherzod Zairzhanov, UNHCR
  • Vitaly Lytvyn, adviser to Dnipro Governor
  • Tetiana Gladkova, an IDP, head of NGO Power of the Future
  • Oleksander Kiselev, an IDP, representative of Council of Europe in Dnipro Region
  • Lina Sergeyeva, Director of Dnipro State Free Legal Aid Centre, an IDP from Chernobyl

The event is supported by the city, Zelenstroi is going to help us plant, also the Dnipro State Regional Administration representative will be at the event.

Accreditation for press: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +380 96 373 36 55 (Iryna Pavlyk). 

20 June - Kharkiv - Alley of Peace

On Tuesday, 20 June, at 18:00, a social campaign “Plant the tree” will take place in Kharkiv central park after Horkoho.

The event is organized by the UN Refugee Agency in Kharkiv and “World” Kharkiv charitable foundation. The campaign will engage refugees, asylum seekers and IDPs residing in Kharkiv.

The event symbolizes the life of persons who were forced to flee from their homes and feel like a tree, torn away from the soil. Planting the trees in the central park of Kharkiv shows the hopes of displaced persons, host community and organizations assisting them in fast and successful reception and integration of displaced persons at the places of current residence.

Contact person for media: +380 50 443 0417 (Vartan Muradian)

21 June - Stanytsia Luhanska - "Stanytsia - the Big Family"

On Wednesday, 21 June, 10.00-13.30, a series of cultural and entertainment activities under the umbrella name "Stanytsia - the Big Family", will take place at the central square of Stanytsia Luhanska.

The event is organized with the support from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the "Right to Protection" NGO, both UNHCR local partners. The day programme encompasses workshops, aqua makeup, quests and quizzes for children, chess competition for the elderly.

In addition to educational and entertainment part of the scenario, legal counseling will be arranged at the spot. Together with local and regional public authorities, international organizations and NGOs, a round table to discuss issues of local integration of IDPs will be held the same day.

Registration for press: +380 50 681 1258 (Olexandra Litvinenko).

24 June - Popasna - “Words, not Swords”  

On Saturday, 24 June, at 12.30 pm, UNHCR is organizing the Luhansk Regional Academic Ukrainian Music Drama Theatre’s performance “Where the Babies Come From”. The performance will take place at the Popasna Rayon Recreation Center (136 Myru Str., Popasna Luhansk region). The performance will become a part of the “Words, not Swords” program of the UN Refugee Agency to acknowledge the World Refugee Day in Luhansk region.

Among the speakers of the event will be:

  • Ivan Saleyeu, HoFO Sievierodonetsk;
  • Yuriy Onishchenko, Mayor of Popasna;
  • Serhiy Shakun, Head of Popasna Rayon Civil Military Administration (TBC).

Theater performance in Popasna is designed to bring together IDPs, local residents and returnees in Popasna, to get them distracted from the hostilities and the grievances linked to the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. The celebration of the World Refugee Day is supported  by continuous cooperation with local authorities.

Contact person for media: +380 50 380 7348 (Anita Rudyk).

***Luhansk Regional Academic Ukrainian Music and Drama Theatre, which operated in Luhansk for more than 70 years, however, due to the start of the hostilities in eastern Ukraine, forced to evacuate to the government controlled area. Currently, the displaced Theatre is situated in Sievierodonetsk and extends its professional horizons despite its displacement.