News Item

The war in Ukraine – Fundamental rights implications within the EU

Watercolor of people fleeing Ukraine
EU countries are welcoming and supporting unprecedented numbers of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. It has serious implications for many fundamental rights within the EU and requires Member States to find sustainable solutions, as the first Ukraine bulletin from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) shows.

FRA’s first Bulletin on ‘The war in Ukraine - Fundamental rights implications within the EU’ looks at the challenges EU countries need to address to ensure people’s fundamental rights are upheld:

  • Temporary protection – the quick activation of the EU Temporary Protection Directive helps Ukrainians settle and integrate in the EU. They have the right to work and to access services, without having to go through full asylum procedures. About 2.3 million people registered for this. EU countries now face an important task to make these rights a reality.
  • Trafficking and sexual violence – with so much support from drivers taking people from the border, unvetted volunteers, and private job and housing offers, the risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation is high. This is particularly the case for women and children, who make up 90 % of those fleeing Ukraine, according to UNHCR. Even though many countries have taken steps to prevent trafficking, more needs to be done to prevent it from happening. By the end of April, none of the EU countries covered by this bulletin had a central register of drivers or those offering private accommodation to people fleeing Ukraine. Further steps should include training and awareness raising among border guards, volunteers and humanitarian aid workers to recognise human trafficking and to work towards its prevention.
  • Discrimination – there are serious concerns of discrimination against non-Ukrainian nationals, LGBTI people or Roma trying to flee the war, as reported by civil society and international organisations. Some countries do not offer the same level of protection to non-Ukrainians fleeing the war. They face difficulties crossing the borders and finding support. Roma also face challenges finding accommodation, as very few people are willing to rent to them.
  • Unaccompanied children – the exact number of children who arrived without a carer or separated from their family is unknown. Under EU law, unaccompanied children must be appointed a legal guardian as soon as possible. This ensures children are protected and can also help prevent illegal adoptions. Attempts to speed up the process of adopting Ukrainian children, reported in some EU countries, should be swiftly investigated.
  • Education – EU countries try to address the educational needs of children fleeing Ukraine, through different initiatives. But numerous barriers remain related to a lack of coordination, information, language and limited places available from which also locals suffer.
  • Integration - grassroots and voluntary efforts offer wide-ranging support to millions of people escaping the war. As they join schools and start work, public perceptions may change. Local people might feel an impact on their rights and benefits. To make integration sustainable, it requires a long-term and government-supported approach that addresses everyone’s needs.

The welcoming response to people fleeing conflict and war should be in full respect of human rights for everyone in all their diversity.


This bulletin covers the situation in Hungary, Poland, Romanian and Slovakia between 1 March and 27 April 2022.

FRA will publish further bulletins on the fundamental rights impact of the war in Ukraine in the EU. The bulletins will look at Member States’ responses to address challenges and uphold fundamental rights, as well as highlight good practices.