Based on research conducted in 26 countries implementing the Temporary Protection Direction (TPD), a new UNHCR report presents the main findings relating to the practical implementation of the Directive and refugees’ ability to access and exercise rights protected under it. This report, which was published by UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Europe, presents the findings from this research, including recommendations on enhancing access to rights and protection for refugees from Ukraine.
Key findings of the report include that the rights guaranteed under the directive are interdependent; refugees inability to exercise one right impeded the realisation of other rights. Also the existence of practical, administrative and legal barriers to enjoyment of rights was frequently noted, as well as increased obstacles to access rights for refugees with specific needs. These challenges seem equally applicable to refugees who have been granted status through national asylum systems. See here the full report
As of 12 October 2022, over 7.6 million refugees from Ukraine have fled to Europe, and almost seven million people have been internally displaced. In response, the European Union (EU), through the Council’s Implementing Decision 2022/382 of 4 March 2022, triggered the application of the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) 2001/55/EC, the duration of which has recently been extended until March 2024.
Key findings of the report:
1 THE RIGHTS GUARANTEED UNDER THE DIRECTIVE ARE INTERDEPENDENT: REFUGEES’ INABILITY TO EXERCISE ONE RIGHT IMPEDED THE REALIZATION OF OTHER RIGHTS
The inability of refugees to exercise one right often negatively impacted the enjoyment of other rights. For example, delayed issuance of documentation to Temporary Protection (TP) beneficiaries impacts their ability to access a wide range of rights; challenges relating to a lack of capacity in local schools significantly impedes adults’ access to the labour market, whilst a lack of sustainable, longer-term housing has had a multifaceted impact on refugees’ ability to exercise their other rights including education, employment, and social protection.
2 REFUGEES ENCOUNTER A RANGE OF PRACTICAL, ADMINISTRATIVE AND LEGAL BARRIERS TO ENJOYMENT OF RIGHTS
Lack of access to information and language barriers limit refugees’ access to almost all rights provided under the Directive, including registration processes, education, employment, family reunification and social protection. Challenges relating to the lack of a permanent address, lack of childcare options and the inability to provide documents required to access certain services were also commonly raised as barriers to the enjoyment of rights.
3 PERSONS WITH SPECIFIC NEEDS FACE INCREASED OBSTACLES TO ACCESS RIGHTS GUARANTEED UNDER THE DIRECTIVE; THE LACK OF SYSTEMATIC IDENTIFICATION PROCEDURES IS ONE OF THE ROOT CAUSES
According to UNHCR protection monitoring, 24% of respondents reported at least one household member with a specific need, including persons with disabilities, serious medical needs, older persons and separated or unaccompanied children. Yet, nine of the 26 countries monitored do not have standard procedures in place to identify persons with specific needs. In the 17 countries where there are procedures in place, the process lacks comprehensiveness, being largely confined to the identification of limited population groups such as unaccompanied and separated children or victims of human trafficking. The absence of systematic and comprehensive identification procedures impedes the ability of persons with specific needs to access specialized services and assistance, thereby increasing the risks they face in displacement.
4 SEVERAL OF THE IDENTIFIED CHALLENGES ARE EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO REFUGEES WHO HAVE BEEN GRANTED STATUS THROUGH NATIONAL ASYLUM SYSTEMS
Several identified challenges are equally experienced by refugees from Ukraine who have been granted Temporary Protection and refugees from other parts of the world living in Europe, who have been granted status through regular asylum procedures. This is particularly the case with regard to challenges relating to language barriers, access to information and the identification of persons with specific needs.