UNHCR empowers youth to make changes in their communities: Youth Empowerment Weekend

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UNHCR empowers youth to make changes in their communities: Youth Empowerment Weekend

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Bureaucratic obstacles, access for housing and employment – common issues both for refugees and IDPs in Ukraine

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August 23, 2017

UNHCR empowers youth to make changes in their communities: Youth Empowerment Weekend

August 23, 2017

UNHCR empowers youth to make changes in their communities: Youth Empowerment Weekend

August 09, 2017

Bureaucratic obstacles, access for housing and employment – common issues both for refugees and IDPs in Ukraine

UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner calls for improved access to pensions for the internally displaced and other rights
 
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KYIV, Ukraine, 27 March, 2018 – Concluding a week-long visit to Ukraine, where four years of conflict have displaced an estimated 1.5 million people, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Mr. George Okoth-Obbo has called for enhanced actions to address the plight of conflict-affected persons and to secure their rights, including access to pensions and freedom of movement.

 

UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations Mr. George Okoth-Obbo visits Maiorsk checkpoint.  © UNHCR/Hugo Reichenberger

The Assistant High Commissioner met with a number of refugees in the capital of Kyiv, noting their experiences and challenges, as well as with UNHCR’s NGO partners that support them.

In a meeting with Ukraine’s Vice Minister of Internal Affairs, Ms. Tetiana Kovalchuk, Mr. Okoth-Obbo shared UNHCR’s concerns over the low recognition rate for asylum-seekers. He also urged the authorities to facilitate access for UNHCR and its partners to asylum-seekers in international transit zones at airports to provide legal assistance.

“It is of concern to UNHCR that some asylum-seekers, especially Syrians, are not allowed to lodge asylum claims at airports,” said Mr. Okoth-Obbo. “Allowed access to them, UNHCR will be able to support the asylum-seekers in their applications, while also extending the necessary cooperation to the State Migration Service.”

Mr. Okoth-Obbo later traveled to eastern Ukraine where he observed UNHCR’s activities on the ground and met with people in need of humanitarian assistance. His first stop was at a school in Bogorodishna near Sviatohirsk, which is providing education to both local and internally displaced children. Afterwards, he met with a group of internally displaced people (IDPs) of different ages at a community center run by UNHCR partner Slavic Heart. The group highlighted the difficulties they face in accessing their pensions, the risk of being unable to pay for and losing their accommodation at the centers at which they are staying, poor living conditions at the centers and their hopes of being able to exercise voting rights in local elections.

What is Local Integration of refugees?

Integration is an interactive process involving both refugees and nationals of the host country, as well as its institutions. It makes a society both diverse and open, where people can form a community, regardless of differences.

Integration requires preparedness on the part of refugees to adapt to the host society, without having to forego their own cultural identity. From the host society, it requires communities that are welcoming and responsive to refugees, and public institutions that are able to meet the needs of a diverse population.

Local Integration is?

First, a legal process, whereby refugees are granted rights and entitlements by the host country equal with those enjoyed by its nationals.

Second, an economic process, as refugees become financially independent and contribute to the economic development of the host country.

Third, a social and cultural process that enables refugees to live amongst the host population, without discrimination or exploitation and contribute actively to the life of their country of asylum.

Why Integration of Refugees?

Refugees bring their skills, knowledge and entrepreneurial innovation that can contribute to the economic prosperity of Ukraine. They pay taxes and create employment for nationals of Ukraine. Furthermore, they arrive with a wealth of experience and cultural diversity, including languages, music, art and intellectual curiosity that can enrich the Ukrainian society.

Integration of refugees is important, not only because refugees deserve to be treated with respect, but also because a truly democratic society is open and intercultural without space for racism and intolerance.

 

What support do refugees need to integrate in Ukraine?

• Secure legal status and respect for their rights

Accommodation or means to rent a place to live

Local language classes

Recognition of education (degrees, diplomas)

Employment

Legal, social and psychological assistance

Medical services

 Who is responsible for the integration of refugees?

Ukraine acceded to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in 2002, thus undertaking to protect refugees. Article 34 of the Convention stipulates that the signatories should promote as far as possible integration of refugees in the host society. Since 1996 Ukraine has a refugee status determination procedure. However, the integration of refugees did not receive much attention and support. Recognizing this gap and the need for action, the authorities requested the assistance of UNHCR. The European Union funded a study carried out in the framework of the Soderkoping process in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine in 2007-2008 (www.soderkoping.org.ua). More than 300 refugees, refugee-assisting organizations and government officials were interviewed during the study. The outcome of the study was a strategy for action, which is the basis of the Local Integration project.  

The European Union and UNHCR are committed to assist the Government of Ukraine in improving local integration conditions for refugees in the country. The Local Integration project is an example that demonstrates this commitment.

 

What is the Local Integration Project?

Objectives:

• to generate understanding and support for the integration of refugees among decision-makers and the society at large

• to help the Government and refugee-assisting organizations to deal with refugees and their integration in Ukraine

Main facts:

Funded: 80% by the European Union, 20% by the UNHCR

Total project value: 2.585 mln Euro for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine

Project allocation for Ukraine:  about 1.380 mln USD

Duration: 2009-2011

Locations: Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa oblasts of Ukraine

Implemented by UNHCR in close cooperation with project partners

 

What are the activities of the Local Integration Project?

Meetings, seminars, study visits and support to the government of Ukraine

Civic induction training to refugees and asylum seekers

• Language courses for refugees

Counselling and employment services

Skills audit of refugees

Labour market analysis

Vocational training for some refugees

Promotion of refugee rights

Who will implement the project?

?      On central level:

•        United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

•        State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMS)

•       Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine

•        Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine

•        State Employment Centre of Ukraine

     In the regions:

•        Regional Migration Services

•       Regional Department of  Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine

•        Regional Employment Centres

•        Educational institutions providing language training for refugees and asylum-seekers (Scientific-educational Centre ?Intensive? of Kyiv National Vadim Hetman Economic University, National Aerospace University named after Zhukovsky ?Kharkiv Aviation Institute?, International Humanitarian University in Odessa)

•        Refugee-assisting organizations:

?    Charitable Foundation ROKADA in Kyiv Region 

?    Social Assistance Service in Kharkiv Region

For more information: UNHCR Regional Representation: 14 Lavrska St., Kyiv, 01015, www.unhcr.org.ua, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , tel. +380 44 288 9424.