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The offices of the CF “Right to Protection” in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv are open! We provide consultations and other legal support to all refugees who have been forced to flee their countries due to persecution and/or military conflict and massive human rights violations.

Our lawyers and attorneys will advise you on all issues related to the state asylum procedure. In particular, by coming to the office or by calling us, you can get free legal assistance in:

  • applying to the migration service for refugee status in Ukraine;
  • obtaining “Dovidka” (Certificate) – a document of asylum seekers in Ukraine;
  • all-round support of the asylum case and litigation of the case in court (in case of refusal by the Migration Service).

You can also learn from our lawyers:

  • what kind of assistance is provided by the UNHCR in Ukraine for refugees and asylum seekers,
  • about other UNHCR partner organizations hosting refugees and what kind of assistance they provide, as well as,
  • what awaits you in Ukraine, which education, employment and development opportunities you have.


Contact or call us from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 18:00:















Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine restrictions, the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) team is actively organizing training and education events for the refugee communities. 

We even managed to hold the group consultations. Everything, however, was in the online video conferencing format.

Since the beginning of the year, our colleagues have organized and conducted six online meetings for almost 70 refugees from Somalia, Afghanistan, Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and for a group of asylum seekers living in Temporary Accommodation Centre for refugees and asylum seekers in Yahotyn, Kyiv Region.

No matter where our beneficiaries come from and how they ended up in Ukraine, they are interested in the migration procedure.

R2P Proposals to the draft Law on Amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses for improving the Migration legislation проект-4411
  • What happens after filling the application for complementary protection at the State Migration Service of Ukraine?;
  • Which documents asylum seekers receive in Ukraine and what are their rights and responsibilities?;
  • How long does the procedure take and which stages does it involve?;
  • What to do in case of receiving a negative decision from the Migration Service and how to appeal it?;
  • What are the opportunities for employment and/or education/training?;
  • How to access medical services?;
  • How to open your own business in Ukraine?;
  • Which grant opportunities United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provide?;
  • Which services and help do the state and international organizations offer?;
  • How to register newborns?;
  • How to acquire citizenship (when it is possible and when it’s not), get a residence permit (and why one shouldn’t consider it a “panacea” or a “proper” refugee document)?;
  • What to do in case of document verification, detention, or extradition performed by the law enforcement agencies.

At the same time, each community is unique and has its very own characteristics and needs, by knowing which we can build effective communication and help solve current problems. 
Follow the updates of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) Legal Assistance to Refugees and Stateless Persons Project on the Facebook and Twitter pages to see the most recent activities we are carrying out for the development of the Refugee Communities to help this extremely vulnerable category of people integrate into Ukrainian society. After all, we sincerely believe in multiculturalism and that everyone should have access to the procedure for obtaining complementary protection in Ukraine.




Umu Diallo was born in Guinea. Today the woman lives and works in Odesa, Ukraine. She makes professional hairstyles that are especially popular during the holiday season, and also runs her own shoe store. She has a 2 y.o. daughter, Rugiyatu.

Umu has been living in Ukraine since 2011. In 2012, she received the status of a person in need of complementary protection. As the woman says, she divides her life into what was before and after. And the starting point is 2011 when she tried to cross the border of Ukraine and was detained.

Umu could not stay in Guinea because she was forced to marry as a minor. Her husband systematically beat and mocked her, and she had absolutely no single chance to protect herself in this country. At the time of her detention, the woman was in a state of psychophysical stress, which doctors said was due to domestic violence in Guinea.

Історія Уму. 6 місяців страждань в ПТПІ заради вільного життя в Україні Umu’s Story. 6 months of sufferings in a Migrant Detention Centre to be able to live freely in Ukraine

At first, the situation she got in Ukraine gave enough reason for despair. Umu was detained together with a group of other forced migrants. All of them were placed in the Temporary Holding Facility of the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) in order to identify and later deport them from Ukraine. The young woman did not understand the language and legal grounds for her detention, and she also had health problems due to her suffering. 

The fact that Umu was a minor at the moment of detention was not established immediately, but when it was, in violation of all existing norms, SBGS continued to keep her in the Temporary Holding Facility for Foreigners and Stateless Persons. When Umu received legal aid, the decision to detain her was appealed, but this complaint was considered by the court only after her release from custody. Lawyers also helped Umu apply to the State Migration Service of Ukraine for international protection.

Umu was released from Temporary Holding Facility only a year after her detention. Two months after detention she applied for international protection.  Umu was detained illegally for almost 6 months. Women’s lawyers have failed to achieve justice in national courts, so in 2012 they applied to the European Court of Human Rights.

European_Court_of_Human_Rights ECtHR Європейський суд з прав людини ЄСПЛ

In this case (Nur and Others v. Ukraine), the European Court of Human Rights found that Ukraine had violated Article 5 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: the right to liberty and security of a person. Ukraine was obliged to pay Umu 9,800 euros in moral damages.

Now the woman finally feels happy! She says that after the end of the quarantine restrictions she is ready to take up her work actively, she really wants her daughter to acquire Ukrainian citizenship and build her life in the country that provided her with protection!

According to Svitlana Butenko, advocate at the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P), violations of the rights of asylum seekers from different countries are still occurring in Ukraine. This includes the impossibility of access to international protection at the border and in places of detention, as well as the excessive length of proceedings for appeals against illegal decisions of the authorities in the courts.

Бутенко Butenko

«The story of Umu gives us the opportunity to show the real people behind the numerous “compensation stories”, as well as to tell the world about their sufferings. No matter where these people are now – in remand prisons, Migrant Accommodation Centers, Temporary Holding Facilities, regardless of how they entered the country – legally or illegally. Yet the main thing is that all seekers of protection have the right to liberty, and detention must be justified in every single case. »

– told Svitlana.

UNHCR Ukraine

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Just a few days ago Ukraine paid the Guinean applicant in the case of “Nur and Others v. Ukraine” (application no. 77647/11) EUR 9,800 in respect of the violation of her right to liberty and security. The applicant faced gender-based violence in Guinea and was forced to flee and seek international protection. She was a minor at the time of her detention. In the first stages of detention she was accompanied by her brother, but later they were placed in various MCCs.

The judgment in the case was handed down on 16 July 2020, but we refrained from reporting it because of the difficulties encountered by the applicant due to the incorrect translation of her name in the judgment. So far, the translation has been edited and we are ready to share our experience.

Бутенко Butenko

Strategic litigation expert Svitlana Butenko comments on the case:

“The violations committed by Ukraine concerned the apprehension and detention of the applicant in the THF and MCC. The ECtHR found that the applicant had been held in a THF for identification purposes for further expulsion beyond the statutory 10 days at the time, and that she had been kept in a MCC for almost 6 months, despite the fact that she was a minor, although the law expressly prohibited this. The appeal against the detention was not “prompt” and therefore, accordingly, effective, as the applicant’s complaint had been considered after her release from MCC”.

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We remind you that the offices of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) are working, even during the quarantine. Our lawyers and attorneys continue protecting the rights of refugees and provide consultations on all issues related to the asylum procedure in Ukraine.

Contact us:

  • to find out how to extend the Dovidka document during the quarantine period;
  • on which stage is your case at the State Migration Service of Ukraine;
  • when to await a court decision;
  • other issues regarding the assistance that can be provided to refugees during and after quarantine by the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) and by the UNHCR partners.
telefon quarantine

Our Hotline is available from 09:00 to 17:00.

Feel free to call us if you need help or assistance:

Kyiv: +380930495218, +380443371762

Kharkiv: +380577511764, +380948111763

Lviv: +380930230855, +380322761921

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We bring to your attention the summary of the Alternative Interim Report within the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) “State of Observance of the Rights of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Stateless Persons in Ukraine“, prepared by a coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) concerned with the rights of the above-mentioned categories of persons: Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P)Charitable Foundation “Rokada”, NGO “The Tenth of April” (“Desyate Kvitnya”) and The International Fund for Public Health and Environment “Carpathian Region” NEEKA

The report outlines the main systemic problems that lead to regular violations of the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons, as well as provides specific proposals to the Government on ways to address these problems.  

Such problems include the de facto impossibility of temporary employment for asylum seekers and the absence or limited access of asylum seekers and their children to free health services.

For example, the CF “Right to Protection” provided legal assistance to the families of Afghan citizens who were forced to flee the country to escape the war and as a result, found protection in Ukraine. There is a minor child in the family who needs medical care, but it is not possible to sign a declaration with the family doctor because parents must provide a valid identity document (the application for protection is not recognized as an identity document).

Seeing a certificate for the protection, one by one the employers closed the doors to him because Ukrainian law requires them to obtain a work permit and to pay him an official salary of at least 10 minimum Ukrainian wages. As a result, he entered the market unofficially. Such work rarely goes unnoticed: in a few months, one receives a fine for informal employment.

To address these issues, the NGO coalition recommends amending a number of laws, providing for the right of applicants to work without a special employment permit for foreigners, and for the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to develop and submit to the Verkhovna Rada a bill on the provision of medical services to children whose parents do not have identity documents.

The State has made some significant achievements in this direction over the past year, such as the creation of a legislative foundation for the introduction and operation of the procedure for recognition as a stateless person.  However, some of the issues identified in the report have not been addressed for many years and have been in the focus of past UPR reviews.

Among such problems is the unjustified detention of stateless persons for further identification and expulsion. For example, CF “Right to Protection” recently reported that a stateless person is threatened with detention. In this context, NGOs again recommend that detention be provided only as a last resort, when necessary and proportionate after all alternatives (starting with the least restrictive ones) have been exhausted.

The problem of the impossibility of identification related to imperfect legal regulation has become systemic: when checking citizenship, obtaining a passport of a citizen of Ukraine, obtaining a passport for the first time, establishing a person in court, etc. The second part of the report provides a list of legislative gaps and problems of law enforcement.

For example, a woman of the retirement age with a disability to whom the CF “Right to Protection” provided legal assistance is not able to work due to her health condition. Due to the lack of documents, the disability is not registered, she does not receive pensions or other payments, medical care is not available to her, she has no housing, and no relatives. The woman lives in an abandoned house without gas, electricity, water. Twice a week she goes to receive free food, packs it in a liter jar, and stretches it for a week.

From April 15, food will stop being distributed and so this woman will be left without any means for existence at all. Without the documents, she cannot receive any other assistance or payments from the state or volunteers. All of this is the consequence of the impossibility to identify her and provide the woman with a passport of a citizen of Ukraine. As it has been stated before, due to the lack of identity documents, the rights of such persons are repeatedly violated. 

In this regard, the coalition of NGOs – the authors of this report, recommend legislatively improve the rules of the procedure for establishing an identity of a person, including the procedure for issuing a passport of a citizen of Ukraine.

The alternative report itself is posted on the website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and presented on December 15, 2020, during the public discussion of the draft state interim report on the status of implementation of recommendations received from the 3rd cycle of the UPR. 

What is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)? Whose recommendations should the Government follow?

The UPR assesses the implementation of the human rights obligations by the States under the following instruments: 

(1) the Charter of the United Nations; 

(2) Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

(3) human rights instruments to which the State is a party (human rights treaties ratified by the State); 

(4) voluntary statements and commitments of States (including national human rights policies and/or implemented programs);  and, 

(5) international human rights instruments. The UPR is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, which conducts regular reviews of the implementation of human rights commitments and responsibilities by 193 UN member states four times a year. The review is conducted by the UPR Working Group, which consists of 47 members of the Human Rights Council.

This review takes place through a three-hour interactive dialogue between the State concerned, the member countries of the Council, and the observer countries. During this discussion, any UN Member State may ask questions, express its conclusions, and/or make recommendations to the State concerned.

The last review of Ukraine’s compliance with its commitments took place in 2017, as a result of which various countries around the world provided 201 recommendations to the Government of Ukraine on overcoming certain challenges in the field of human rights. The government supported 171 of these recommendations, in other words, recognized the need to implement them. The other 30 were left without official support from Ukraine, but this does not mean that they will be ignored. 

For example, in 2012, Ukraine was recommended to ratify the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which the Government of Ukraine simply complied with without official support. In 2013 these documents were ratified.

Thus, the Government should report in 2023 (the next review of the state of human rights in Ukraine in the framework of the UPR) if it has implemented all the recommendations received in 2017 from the other states. A positive initiative was the interim reporting of Ukraine in 2020 on the progress already made, especially since such reporting is not mandatory. This report in particular did not overlook some issues regarding the rights of these categories in the Annex to the report.

Our report assesses the implementation of some of these recommendations, as well as an assessment of the observance of the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons in the country as a whole. We hope that, through and independently of the UPR mechanism, the situation of these vulnerable categories will be improved by addressing current and outdated challenges.

The infographics for this review are available in Ukrainian and English.

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In mid-March 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in case “TURDIKHOJAEV v. UKRAINE” (application no. 72510/12).  The Court found that Ukraine had violated Article 3 and parts one and five of Article 5 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) concerning the prohibition of inhuman treatment and the right to liberty and security of person.

The case concerned a complaint of a citizen of Uzbekistan regarding his extradition detention in Ukraine after being recognized as a refugee by the Swedish government, as well as the conditions of his detention in the Kyiv Remand Prison inside the metal cell in the courtroom.

Uzbekistan Україна має виплатити 9000 євро громадянину з Узбекистану

The applicant was detained after arriving at Boryspil Airport in June 2012 as he was on the international wanted list at the request of Uzbekistan, and the Boryspil Court remanded him in custody for 30 days. Following his arrest, the applicant applied for refugee status.

In July 2012, Uzbekistan sent an extradition request, accusing this man of a membership in an extremist (fundamentalist) organization, distributing “subversive” literature, and attempting to overthrow the constitutional order in Uzbekistan. The Shevchenkivsky District Court applied an extradition arrest to the applicant for the duration of the extradition proceedings, but not more than 18 months.

In December 2012 the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) refused to recognize the applicant as a refugee. The court reviewed and extended the extradition arrest several times in 2012 and 2013. In January 2013 the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine decided to extradite the applicant to Uzbekistan. In February 2013, the Shevchenko court upheld the decision.

In March 2013 the District Administrative Court upheld the SMSU decision to deny the applicant refugee status. When the extradition case was heard in the Court of Appeal, the applicant was kept in a metal cage, although he begged not to do so, as he had not committed any violent crime and should have been presumed innocent in accordance with the constitutional principle of the presumption of innocence.

In April 2013 the applicant was recognized as a refugee by the Swedish Government and was allowed to settle in Sweden. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) immediately informed the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (PGOU) about this decision. The Swedish embassy in Ukraine also notified the PGOU about this fact. In accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, the recognition of the applicant as a refugee makes it impossible to extradite such a person.

However, the prosecutors did not pay attention to these circumstances and continued to defend their extradition decision, despite the fact that in mid-May 2013 they even received a copy of the decision to recognize the applicant as a refugee from the Swedish embassy.

At the end of May the Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal upheld the SMSU decision to deny the applicant refugee status.

In early June 2013 the Kyiv City Court of Appeal quashed the Migration Service decision to extradite the applicant. The next day after the applicant’s decision he was released. Later, he moved to Sweden, where he lives to this day.

From the end of June 2012 to the beginning of June 2013 the applicant was held in the Kyiv remand prison in various cells: for 7 days he was held in a 31.6 square meters cell together with 28 other detainees, for 45 days in a 34 square meters cell with 30 cellmates, 5 months in a cell with an area of ​​39.2 square meters together with 22 people and another 5 months in a cell with an area of ​​53.3 square meters with 33 cellmates.  All these cells did not have ventilation, the conditions were unbearable. The applicant was defended in national courts by the ECtHR by the lawyers of the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P).

Uzbekistan Україна має виплатити 9000 євро громадянину з Узбекистану

The ECtHR found a violation of Article 3 of the ECHR concerning the conditions of the applicant’s detention in a Kyiv pre-trial detention center and his placement in a metal cage during court hearings, a violation of Article 5 § 1 concerning the applicant’s extradition arrest until the moment of actual release (one and a half months), and violation of the fifth part of Article 5 regarding the lack of an effective legal mechanism for obtaining compensation for illegal detention at the national level.

The fair satisfaction awarded by the court in this case amounted to EUR 9,000, which the applicant shall receive from Ukraine within three months.

Although there have been no cases of recognized refugees detention for the purpose of extraditing since the events took place, violations of the rights of asylum seekers during the extradition procedure still exist. Thus, there is a conflict between the requirements of the Law of Ukraine “On Refugees and Persons in Need of Additional or Temporary Protection“, which requires a personal application for refugee status, while at the same time the law on detention does not allow to apply for such a status from the sites of imprisonment.

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To the Committee

of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 

on the law enforcement activities

Mykhaila Hrushevskoho Street, 5,

Kyiv, 01008

Ex.  № 134

from 05.03.2021

Proposals of the CF Right to Protection (R2P) to the draft Law on Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses for improving the Migration legislation


On November 20, 2020 a Draft Law on the Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses to Improve Migration Legislation was submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) draws the attention of the subject of the legislative initiative and legislators to the fact that the provisions of this bill affect the situation of asylum seekers in Ukraine, and therefore considers it necessary to provide an analysis of the bill in this regard.

The essence of the bill

The draft law was developed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in order to prevent and counteract illegal migration in Ukraine, ensure state security and approximate Ukrainian legislation to international standards.

It provides for the improvement of the norms of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses, which establishes the liability for violations of migration legislation.

Thus, in particular, Article 203 of the Code of Administrative Offenses is proposed in eight parts, each of which provides for different sanctions.

Regarding the imposition of an administrative penalty on asylum seekers

According to the draft Law, Part 2 of Art. 203 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of Ukraine provides for liability for stay in Ukraine without a certificate of application for protection in Ukraine in the form of a fine of one hundred to two hundred non-taxable minimum incomes (i.e., from 1700 to 3400 hryvnias).

Thus, for the first time, the project singles out a special subject of the offense – a protection seeker (person who applied for protection in Ukraine).

The procedure for applying for protection and the legal status of asylum seekers in Ukraine is regulated by the Law of Ukraine “On Refugees and Persons in Need of Additional or Temporary Protection”. 

The same law stipulates that a certificate of application for protection in Ukraine is a document certifying the legality of a person’s stay on the territory of Ukraine for the period from the moment a person applies for refugee or a person in need of additional protection until the final determination of such person’s status or until leaving the territory of Ukraine. The certificate of application for protection is not an identity document.

The treatment of refugees staying illegally in the country is regulated by Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), referring to this article, states that the measures taken by the state in these cases should be proportionate to the legitimate aim and applied on an individual case-by-case basis.

As stated in the Strategy of State Migration Policy of Ukraine for the period up to 2025, the policy on asylum seekers should take into account the “humanitarian component, which provides for the sympathy of government officials and other stakeholders, as well as the society.

Persons whose legality of stay in Ukraine is certified by an application for protection, usually do not speak Ukrainian, do not have legal means of self-sufficiency, are not familiar with the requirements of Ukrainian legislation on the rules of stay in Ukraine and, accordingly, need a significant period of time to integrate into the Ukrainian society. These features must be taken into account as effectiveness of legal influence on above mentioned persons is dependent on it.

One of the alternative sanctions under Art. 203 of the draft is that the initiator of the bill provides a warning. The warning in fact combines a formal condemnation of a person’s illegal behavior (an administrative offense with a minor degree of social harm) and informing the person about the inadmissibility of such behavior in the future.

Given the above, such a reaction of the state to the violation committed by the seeker of protection is optimal and proportionate to the legitimate aim in the context of further integration of this person into Ukrainian society.

Regarding the access to the Stateless Determination Procedure

On June 16, 2020, the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Recognition as a Stateless Person” was adopted, which provides for the procedure for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine.

According to the second paragraph of the second part of Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” a person who cannot obtain a passport document due to not being considered a citizen by any state has the right to apply to the State Migration Service for recognition as a stateless person, regardless of the legality or illegality of his stay in Ukraine.

The guidance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the protection of stateless persons, noted in paragraphs 68-69, suggests that the states which introduce the Stateless Determination Procedure must ensure the actual access of such persons to the procedure for the purpose of its efficiency and fairness

It is emphasized that access to the procedure for recognition as a stateless person should be provided for every person. Achieving this goal is impossible if an undocumented person who meets the criteria of a stateless person and intends to apply for recognition as a stateless person is afraid of administrative liability for violation of the order of stay in Ukraine.  

It should be noted that persons with uncertain citizenship, who apply for legal aid to the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) in order to obtain citizenship and obtain a passport, report to be held administratively liable under Article 203 of the Code.

In the practice of European countries, such as France, Moldova, Switzerland, Spain, Bulgaria, there are no fines / fees for applicants for recognition as a stateless person.


In order to bring Article 203 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of Ukraine in accordance with the provisions of Articles 4 and 6-1 of the Law of Ukraine “On Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” we consider it necessary to supplement part three of Article 203 of the Code, providing that this article does not apply in cases of absence of the specified documents at the person who addresses in the established order with the statement on recognition as the stateless person at the moment of the address.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of legal influence on asylum seekers, taking into account the humanitarian component, we consider it necessary to supplement the second part of Article 203 of the Code with an alternative sanction – a warning.

A Comparative table with the proposals of the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) is attached.

With Regards,


of the Charitable Fund Right to Protection(R2P)

Oleksandr Galkin


Migrant Accommodation Centre (MAC) is a temporary stay point for foreigners and stateless persons that have no legal right to stay on the territory of Ukraine.

There are three such points in Ukraine – in the Rozsudiv village (Chernihiv region), in the Martynivske village (Mykolaiv region) and in the Zhuravychi village (Volyn region).

A person can be placed in MAC if:

  • The court made a decision on forced expulsion against such a person.
  • The court made a decision on the detention of such a person for the purpose of identification and enforcement of expulsion.
  • A person was detained by the representatives of the State Migration Service of Ukraine and has no documents that confirm the legal grounds to stay in Ukraine.
  • A person was detained by a court decision until the completion of an asylum application in Ukraine (refugee status or complementary protection).

If you are detained and you need the help of a lawyer, call the emergency hotline of the Right to Protection CF: 

+38 (093) 038 95 62

More useful information concerning the rights of refugees and persons in need of complementary protection can be found on the Facebook page of the Refugee Helper chatbot.

UNHCR Ukraine – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine

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