Danish Refugee Council arrived in Ukraine in 2007 to provide technical assistance to government asylum authorities and refugee-related civil society. Since 2009, DRC has focused on the protection of the most vulnerable persons in Ukraine - asylum seeking and refugee children.
Important partners and donors for DRC in Ukraine:
- European Commission
- Ukrainian State Committee for Nationalities and Religions
- Ministry of Ukraine for Family, Youth and Sport of Ukraine
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
- Ukrainian Red Cross Society
Capacity-Building of Asylum Officials and Civil Society
A two-year project (2007-2009) financed by the European Commission (EC), the project aimed to improve asylum procedures and protection offered to asylum seekers in Ukraine in accordance with international standards. Specifically, DRC assisted Ukrainian authorities to be able to apply fair, equal and informed asylum decisions, to build the capacity of civil society to complement asylum processing and the provision of protection, and to foster better dialogue and co-operation between civil society and government authorities.
Ukrainian Refugee Council
In 2008, a civil society platform, the Ukrainian Refugee Council, was formed under the auspices of the project capacitating civil society. The Ukrainian Refugee Council (URC) unifies 14 NGOs protecting legal and social rights of refugees and asylum seekers across Ukraine. Since the end of the DRC project, the URC has secured its own financing, defined its own strategic plan, and is flourishing.
DRC created and supports a Country of Origin Information (COI) Unit at the Ukrainian government asylum agency. The COI Unit researches queries from asylum officers pertaining to background information on specific cases, and maintains an electronic library of Ukrainian- and Russian-language COI. Asylum officers have been trained on applying COI in their asylum decisions. Since 2010, the COI Unit specializes in COI pertinent to the cases of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.
Legal and Social Protection of Asylum Seeking and Refugee Children
Thanks to financing by the EC, this two-year project was launched in February 2009. The project supports the government of Ukraine to fulfill its obligations towards vulnerable asylum seeking and refugee children.
The project focuses on developing legal and institutional systems, strengthening social assistance and support for orientation and adaptation of children into Ukrainian society, and developing models of temporary care for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers.
DRC will help increase the capacity of the asylum and child care authorities to protect and integrate refugees and asylum-seeking children by designing comprehensive policies; improve inter-institutional cooperation and popularize issues pertaining to minor refugees and asylum seekers by streamlining the civil society-state dialogue on these matters; systematize access to legal representation and accommodation for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers; provide reception tailored to unaccompanied minor asylum seekers’ needs at temporary accommodation centres; and seek sustainable long-term care.
Small grants for NGOs
Small grants are available to qualifying NGOs or other organizations proposing micro-projects to benefit asylum seeking and refugee children in Ukraine. Micro-projects must fall under one of two themes: “Orientation and Adaptation,” or “Advocacy and Awareness-Raising.” Selected micro-projects have sponsored refugee children’s attendance at summer camp, provided computer lessons, and produced handbooks for teachers with refugee children in the classroom.