Fundamental rights and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine

Watercolor of people fleeing Ukraine
As the Russian war of agresssion continues in Ukraine, EU countries are welcoming and supporting unprecedented numbers of people fleeing the war to seek safety in the EU. This has serious implications for many fundamental rights within the EU. FRA is looking at current and potential fundamental rights challenges. It seeks to assist the EU and its Member States find sustainable solutions. Below you can find some of the work being carried out.
FRA is publishing regular updates about the fundamental rights implications in the EU for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

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Report - 12 December 2023

Fleeing Ukraine: Implementing temporary protection at local levels

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced millions of people to flee. Arriving in EU countries, they received protection in EU law under the Temporary Protection Directive. Many have begun to build a new life in their host country and enrich our societies in new ways. Local authorities took the lead in ensuring access to fundamental rights under temporary protection. This report explores the measures to ensure access to housing, education, employment and healthcare in 26 cities and regional authorities across 12 EU Member States. Despite unprecedented coordination and cooperation to overcome challenges, many uncertainties remain. Longer-term solutions will be needed after the directive expires in March 2025. Based on the information collected, the report identifies 12 priority actions and builds on FRA’s bulletins and survey findings on experiences of people displaced from Ukraine.

Report - 29 September 2023

The Russian aggression against Ukraine – Displaced children finding protection in the EU - Bulletin 3

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine posed new challenges for the EU. Millions were forced to flee the war. As a result of the scale of people’s displacement, the EU activated for the first time the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD). More than 1.3 million children sought international protection in the EU. This bulletin explores the respect, protection and fulfilment of the fundamental rights of displaced children and ways to safeguard their rights. The third in a series, this bulletin builds on the evidence in FRA’s Bulletin #1 and #2 on the experiences of displaced people seeking safety in the EU.

Recent updates

News item - 29 February 2024

EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint focus on Ukraine

FRA attended a meeting of the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint. The meeting on 27 February marked the second anniversary of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

News item - 6 December 2024

Council of Europe consultation group on children from Ukraine meets for the first time

FRA took part in the first meeting of the Council of Europe consultation group focusing on children from Ukraine. The meeting focused on applicable law, guardianship, reception and mental health programmes.

News item - 6 October 2024

Consultation Group on the children of Ukraine meets

The Council of Europe held a preparatory meeting on 4 October of the Consultation Group on the Children of Ukraine. The group aims at exchanging information on the status and needs of children from Ukraine residing in Council of Europe Member States. It also advises on the reform of the Ukrainian child protection and care system.

News item - 15 June 2023

Swedish Presidency event explores the plight of Ukrainian children

On 2 June, FRA’s Director delivered an impact statement during a high-level meeting on protecting children organised by the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU. He outlined key concerns and ways forward to best tackle the plight of Ukrainian children in light of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The full speech is available online.

Report - 14 June 2023

Barriers to employment of displaced Ukrainians

In responding to Russia’s war against Ukraine, the EU activated its Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) for people who fled the country, allowing them to settle in the EU and to access basic public services and the labour market. By spring 2023, more than 4.5 million people had made use of the TPD or similar national protection schemes in the EU. In 2022, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights conducted an online survey among people displaced from Ukraine. Eurofound has analysed the survey results on their experiences when seeking to access employment. This paper highlights the main barriers that displaced people encountered and suggests ways to facilitate their inclusion.

News item - 29 March 2023

Ukraine survey results presented to European Migration Network

On 28 February, FRA attended the European Migration Network (EMN)'s National Contact Points meeting. The European Commission coordinates the network. It allows for the exchange of objective, comparable policy-relevant information and knowledge on emerging issues relating to asylum and migration in Europe. FRA presented the findings of its survey on the experiences in the EU of displaced people’s fleeing Ukraine. The network would like to consult FRA on their own work on implementing the Temporary Protection Directive.

Press release - 28 February 2023

People fleeing Ukraine struggle in the EU, as survey reveals

People fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are widely supported across Europe. But they face challenges in education, finding work and making ends meet, as results from the latest survey from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reveal. The results should guide policymakers to find sustainable solutions that benefit both the people who fled and their host societies.

Report - 2 February 2023

How did cities welcome displaced people from Ukraine?

Many cities throughout the European Union hosted people fleeing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU currently faces the largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II. Since February 2022, over seven million people came to the EU. The arrival of such large numbers of people thrust cities and local governments to the forefront of the EU and its Member States’ relief work. This short publication provides a snapshot of cities’ initiatives to address this humanitarian crisis.

News item - 26 January 2023

Migration seminar looks at fundamental rights at the EU’s external borders

FRA gave a presentation during a University of Szczecin migration seminar on pressing fundamental rights issues at the EU’s external borders.

Video - 8 December 2022

Ukraine: human rights voices

In this video, human rights leaders, experts and activists share their views on the human rights impact of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine..

News item - 29 November 2022

EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies take stock of achievements in 2022 and set path for continuous support to Ukraine and Moldova

The nine EU Agencies active in the field of freedom, security and justice convened today in Budapest for a high-level meeting, chaired by CEPOL, to take stock of the main achievements in 2022, which includes the ongoing engagement with Ukraine and Moldova.

News item - 24 November 2022

How EU countries apply the EU Temporary Protection Directive updated

FRA compiled an overview of key aspects of national laws implementing the EU Temporary Protection Directive in nine EU Member States.

News item - 18 November 2022

FRA's Ukraine bulletin presented to Council of the EU

FRA presented and discussed its second bulletin on the fundamental rights impact of the Russian aggression against Ukraine at the Working Party on Fundamental Rights, Citizens' Rights and Free Movement of Persons (FREMP).

Event - 17 November 2022

FRA and Committee of the Regions annual dialogue to focus on Ukraine

On 17 November, FRA and the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) will hold its annual dialogue in the European Committee of the Regions.

Event - 25 October 2022

Reporting on the current situation at the EU borders with Ukraine

On 25 October, FRA will join discussions on the 100th Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint report on the current situation at the EU borders with Ukraine.

Report - 21 October 2022

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine ― The broad fundamental rights impact in the EU - Bulletin 2

The Russian invasion of Ukraine triggered solidarity from EU governments, local authorities and society as they welcomed more than 7 million people fleeing the aggression. The European Union’s rapid response, activating the EU Temporary Protection Directive, offered welcome relief and much-needed support to those in need. It allowed displaced persons the opportunity to quickly settle and to work, travel and access services across the EU. But other pressing human rights issues have come to the fore and remain high on the EU’s agenda, such as human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, hate crime and hate-fuelled disinformation.

News item - 14 October 2022

European Migration Network discussion on the Temporary Protection Directive

On 13 October, FRA spoke about the Temporary Protection Directive during a conference in Cyprus organised by the European Migration Network (EMN).

News item - 16 September 2022

Putting human rights at the heart of Europe’s future

On 7-8 September, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) brought together sixty human rights leaders and experts to discuss three major challenges: the climate crisis, the rise of disinformation, and the war in Ukraine. These are complex challenges that require multi-faceted responses. The aim was to consider what contribution human rights could make and to inspire bold action.

News item - 23 August 2022

EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies present concrete actions in support of Ukraine

The European Union agencies active in the field of justice and home affairs issue a joint paper on their contribution to the EU’s solidarity with Ukraine.

News item - 23 August 2022

New FRA survey to capture the experiences of people fleeing the war in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine has forced millions of people to seek safety in neighbouring EU countries. How were they treated? What needs to improve? A new survey from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) seeks to find answers. The findings will guide its advice to the EU and host countries as they finetune their support.

Report - 2 August 2022

How do EU countries apply the EU Temporary Protection Directive?

FRA compiled an overview of key aspects of national laws implementing the EU Temporary Protection Directive in nine EU Member States. It covers the nine EU Member States with the most significant number of displaced persons fleeing the war in Ukraine (as of July 2022), including the four EU Member States bordering Ukraine. The categories are drawn from the European Commission’s Operational guidelines for the implementation of Council Implementing Decision 2022/382. The guidelines aim to help EU Member States with their most pressing questions when implementing the EU Temporary Protection Directive (2001/55/EC).

Report - 13 July 2022

Europe's civil society: still under pressure - 2022 update

Civil society is a key component of Europe’s fundamental rights architecture. From supporting people affected by the pandemic to helping those fleeing the war in Ukraine, civil society plays a crucial role in upholding people’s rights. In so doing, it contributes to a healthy rule of law culture. FRA’s civic space report provides an overview of the many ways in which civil society contributes to the checks and balances that underpin the rule of law.

Video - 24 June 2022

Video blog by Michael O'Flaherty: The EU’s response to the war in Ukraine

In this vlog, FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty talks about the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine. He argues that it is only if we all work together, with human rights as our roadmap, that we can make our way towards a peaceful future.

News item - 2 June 2022

FRA joins CEPS IdeasLab discussions

FRA presented observations from its first Ukraine Bulletin and missions to the EU’s external borders with Ukraine at the annual CEPS Conference. FRA was part of the panel ‘Food for thought: Europe’s next refugee crisis?’. Other panellists included the European Union Agency for Asylum, the European Parliament, the UN’s Refugee Agency, the Danish Refugee Council and Lund University. Together they examined the key medium and long-term issues raised by the triggering of the EU Temporary Protection Directive to respond to people fleeing war in Ukraine. They also looked at its impact on the ongoing negotiations of the EU Migration and Asylum Pact.

Project - 1 June 2022

Online survey on persons displaced from Ukraine

The survey will collect the views and experiences of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. It addresses a wide range of issues related to their stay in the EU, including access to employment, education, housing, healthcare, language learning and other issues affecting their social and economic integration. The survey is managed by FRA in cooperation with the FRANET network in the countries covered. To reach the eligible respondents, awareness-raising activities both before and during the open online survey will be carried out. FRA will publish the findings of the survey in 2023.

Report - 19 May 2022

The war in Ukraine - Fundamental rights implications within the EU - Bulletin 1

This bulletin looks at the fundamental rights situation of all persons fleeing the Russian war in Ukraine to the four EU Member States neighbouring Ukraine. This is primarily in terms of the application of the EU Temporary Protection Directive. It is based on findings of FRA’s field mission to Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia at the beginning of March 2022. It is also based on weekly country reports prepared by Franet, the contracted research network of FRA between 1 March and 27 April 2022.

Video - 19 May 2022

Children fleeing Ukraine – fundamental rights challenges

While many volunteers, organisations and EU countries provide help to the many children fleeing Ukraine, challenges and concerns need to be addressed: such as registration and interpretation, guardianship for unaccompanied children, access to education and childcare.

News item - 11 May 2022

Full respect for LGBTI people fleeing Ukraine

This year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on 17 May takes place against the backdrop of war in Ukraine. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) welcomes the solidarity shown across the EU countries. It urges all countries to treat everyone in all their diversity including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI+) people fleeing the war equally and with respect. So, they too enjoy the same fundamental rights protection as others and can live freely.

News item - 8 April 2022

Ensure equal treatment for Roma fleeing Ukraine

With war still raging in Ukraine, Europe needs to pay special attention to Roma seeking sanctuary in the European Union, says the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on International Roma Day. FRA is concerned about allegations of difficulties and possible discrimination at the EU borders. It recommends that authorities take appropriate action and investigate any such complaints in line with EU law.

Event - 28 March 2022

FRA Director to address Human Dimension Meeting on the human rights impact of the war in Ukraine

FRA’s Director will be a keynote speaker at the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting. He will draw on FRA’s findings from the border visits. This includes information on the challenges people fleeing Ukraine face related to accommodation and reception, as well as issues like trafficking and child protection. The event will focus on international cooperation to address violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Video - 23 March 2022

Fundamental Rights risks at EU-Ukraine borders

At the EU borders volunteers, organisations and EU countries provide support and help: accommodation and humanitarian aid, protection of vulnerable people and children. FRA looked at the challenging situation and identified fundamental rights risks, such as discrimination and the danger of human trafficking.

News item - 23 March 2022

Fundamental Rights risks at EU-Ukraine borders

The EU is facing a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Over 10 days at the beginning of March, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) visited all EU countries bordering Ukraine and Moldova – Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. During the field visits, it was observed how the affected EU countries address the fundamental rights challenges of the humanitarian crisis. These field visits also allow FRA to calibrate its advice to EU institutions and Member States. A particular focus was on procedures at border crossing points and registration/reception centres or assistance points to support those fleeing the war. FRA staff witnessed overwhelming support to everyone fleeing from Ukraine. People were not only formally accepted into the EU, but officials and volunteers assisted them with kindness.

News item - 7 March 2022

EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies joint statement on Ukraine

EU Justice and Home Affairs Agencies support the work of EU institutions and Member States as they help Ukraine and its people now that war once again touches Europe. By working together and utilising each agency’s particular expertise, we engage as a matter of urgency to assist EU Member States in terms of humanitarian support, respect for fundamental rights, management of EU external borders, visa measures, anticipation of hybrid threats, and reception of people fleeing war. This includes establishing a temporary protection mechanism for the displaced persons from Ukraine.