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The situation of persons with disabilities in Ukraine

Online Disability ad-hoc meeting – EU Disability Platform

On 26th April, a virtual ad-hoc meeting hosted by the EU Disability Platform, which is run by DG EMPL – the Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion – was held to discuss the response of the EU Member States and civil society organisations to the crisis in Ukraine. The meeting was opened by the Director of DG EMPL, Ms Katarina Ivankovic-Knezevic, where she addressed the main issues that children and persons with disabilities in Ukraine are facing, as well as those fleeing Ukraine. Moreover, the lack of statistics on people with disabilities who are being killed or who are in need of medicine and assistance was highlighted.

During the meeting interventions were made by civil society organisations – one key issue raised was how children and persons with disabilities in Ukraine are receiving the assistance they need. The problem is that although humanitarian aid is being sent, often it isn’t reaching children and persons with disabilities. There is still a great deal to be addressed on the logistics level.

Contributions were made by DG HOME (Directorate General for Migration & Home Affairs) and DG ECHO (Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations). Ms Isabela Atanasiu, who works for the Asylum Unit of DG HOME, spoke about the Temporary Protection Directive, which offers immediate protection to Ukranian people who have arrived in the EU due to the war. This is the legal framework within which the EU operates to provide support to refugees arriving from Ukraine. Ms Atanasiu explained that although the Directive does not explicitly mention children or persons with disabilities, refugees with disabilities fall under the ‘vulnerable refugees’ category meaning they receive additional support. Further, Ms Atanasiu mentioned DG HOME’s new ‘EU Solidarity with Ukraine’ page which includes practical information on EU support to Ukraine. DG HOME has also issued operational guidelines with specific information for persons with disabilities who are leaving Ukraine, and its EU Civil Protection Mechanism can be used for medical assistance. Finally, Ms Atanasiu mentioned that, in terms of funding within DG HOME, there is the Asylum, Migration & Integration Fund.

Cristina Martinez Gallego who works for DG ECHO, explained that it is an obligation for all their humanitarian partners to mainstream persons with disabilities in their actions. For example, UNICEF provide protection and assistance to children with disabilities.

The Disability Platform will continue to come together to discuss the most pressing issues and needs of children and persons with disabilities in and fleeing Ukraine. EUD will continue to collect information from the National Associations of the Deaf in terms of what they are doing to support deaf Ukrainian refugees in their Member States. The information collected so far for deaf refugees from Ukraine can be found tutaj

Wszystkie publikacje z lat 2022 - 2026 są współfinansowane i powstają w ramach programu Komisji Europejskiej Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV).

Wyrażone poglądy i opinie są jednak poglądami wyłącznie autorów i nie muszą odzwierciedlać poglądów Unii Europejskiej lub programu Komisji Europejskiej CERV. Ani Unia Europejska, ani instytucja przyznająca pomoc nie mogą ponosić za nie odpowiedzialności.

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