Refugees from Ukraine

One third of Ukrainians have been displaced as a result of war. Over 4 million refugees have got themselves registered for the EU’s temporary protection scheme or other national programs. U.N recorded over 6.1 million people internally displaced.

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The European Commission invoked the Temporary Protection Directive that with immediate effect allows those having to flee their country due to war, endemics or armed conflicts, to avail immediate and temporary protection. The EU Council, votes on Commission’s proposal and requires the qualified majority of minimum 15 member states of the European Union. Granted for a specific period, situation demanding it can be extended. The country hosting the refugees can request the refugees to return to their countries, however, it is solely their discretion to weigh “humanitarian reasons” that may make an extended stay possible.

EU has allowed the Ukrainian refugees a period of three years to live, and work in member nations. They have access to facilities like housing, medical help, schooling and social welfare. Integration of these refugees in work places of host countries is a huge challenge as many are children, elderly people and women. Another bitter reality is long-term planning for these refugees are lacking in case of the war dragging on.

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There seems to be no indications of the war coming to an end anytime soon. Even if by some miracle it does, what do the refugees have to go back to and how do the internally displaced handle the crisis? An EBRD report predicts Ukraine economy to shrink nearly a third this year as a result of out break of war.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), early data indicates that “90% of the Ukrainian population could be facing poverty and extreme economic vulnerability should the war deepen, setting the country – and the region – back decades and leaving deep social and economic scars for generations to come.” (CDP)

Gender-based violence has increased with outbreak of war. Women and girls fleeing homes are at the mercy of those inflicting sexual violence upon them. There is an urgent need to prioritize the need to protect them. The risks of trafficking at borders are very high.

The only way the war can come to an end is if Putin outright wins the war. In case this does not happen, to at least gain a clear upper hand to save face by getting enough concessions to pose it as a victory.

The negative cascading effect of the Russian invasion in Ukraine will have long drawn-out effects. The world is filled with more small nations than a few big nations. The question we must answer is: can we afford to have the big sharks eat the small fishes? If we allow this, we must remember nations are connected to each other at multidimensional levels. The ripples caused can cause devastation all over the world.

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The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: yasmeenali62@gmail.com and tweets at @yasmeen_9

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