Asylum Access calls on the international community to protect those fleeing Ukraine

Photo shows a demonstration in Berlin against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Asylum Access is deeply concerned about the situation unfolding inside and outside of Ukraine. We stand with people fleeing the Russian aggression and everyone seeking safety and protection right now. As the Russian offensive continues to target civilian areas and Ukraine’s infrastructure, over 2 million people crossed the borders to neighboring countries in 12 days—including 1 million children—while many more are being forcibly displaced inside the country.  

The United Nations predicts that 4 million people may flee Ukraine soon. With these large projected numbers, the need for protection and humanitarian assistance will grow exponentially, requiring a high level of coordination and cooperation internationally and at the local level in each receiving country.  

We commend the quick response by the European Union (EU) countries to open their borders to Ukrainians and the swift decision to offer immediate temporary protection to Ukrainians and third-country nationals or stateless persons benefiting from international protection in Ukraine and their family members. We hope for continuous solidarity and support for everyone fleeing as the humanitarian situation in the country continues to deteriorate. Individuals fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries must have equal access to their human rights, regardless of one’s nationality. This includes, but is not limited to, freedom of movement, the right to safe, dignified work, and access to education and healthcare. We encourage EU countries to implement an inclusive approach by extending protection to all people seeking safety and ensuring that their human rights are respected.

We support the overwhelming vote and the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution to condemn the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Countless human rights violations have stemmed from the Russian invasion. Asylum Access endorses the UN Human Rights Council’s decision to form a commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations, especially those committed near the borders against families trying to exit Ukraine.

The escalation in violence is tearing families apart, forcing impossible decisions about who will flee and who will stay behind. While many parents stay behind to fight, children are escaping to neighboring countries with a single parent or unaccompanied. As many families remain stranded inside Ukraine, we implore the Russian forces to spare civilian areas and humanitarian corridors from the violence and provide a safe passage for individuals and families to seek safety in neighboring countries. 

We must keep in mind the human cost of this conflict, and all conflicts worldwide as civilian casualties and numbers of forcibly displaced people continue to rise. Wars are a turning point in the lives of humans who are drawn into them and a long-term traumatizing experience. As individuals seek safety for themselves and their families, we must be prepared to support them in a swift, holistic, and welcoming manner that preserves their dignity, protects their human rights, and mitigates the damage forced upon them by this violent aggression.

If you need advice on seeking safety outside Ukraine, please see this list of resources that we have compiled. Where one chooses or is forced to flee is complex, and though we do not advocate for any particular destination, if you find yourself in Malaysia, Thailand, or Mexico, Asylum Access is ready to help you. You can contact us here.