The unprecedented decision by the European Union (EU) to offer Temporary Protection to Refugees fleeing Ukraine will provide immediate protection in the EU for Ukrainians and third-country nationals with refugee or permanent residence status in Ukraine.
The decision also means that the EU Member States may offer Temporary Protection to third-country nationals with legal residence in Ukraine who are unable to return home, and to stateless people.
UNHCR encourages all EU Member States to take an inclusive approach and grant these groups Temporary Protection. The decision allows for responsibility-sharing among the EU States for those with Temporary Protection Status. This will include cooperation on reception among the EU Member States.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, urges the EU States to swiftly implement the Directive to continue to provide those fleeing the violence with much-needed safety and protection – as the situation in the country continues to deteriorate and numbers of people fleeing continue to rise. This is fast becoming Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century.
The many EU States have already shown great support, and the decision reinforces this solidarity, which we hope will continue. UNHCR also welcomes the recent guidance issued by the Commission to the EU States encouraging them to be flexible with border controls and suggesting measures to decongest borders.
UNHCR stands ready to support governments and other stakeholders to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to those forced to flee in this refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions.