Russia's war on Ukraine: The situation of children in and outside Ukraine

Briefing 18-05-2022

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee the country and seek shelter, mostly in neighbouring EU countries, namely Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia and Moldova. Children and women are bearing the most adverse consequences of the war. According to UNICEF, almost half of those fleeing are minors and in need of enhanced protection, as they run a bigger risk of falling victim to trafficking and exploitation. In response to the plight of Ukraine's civilian population, which is being subjected to shelling and violence, the international humanitarian community has quickly mobilised efforts and resources to provide support. As the humanitarian situation deteriorates, children are particularly vulnerable. Children are at high risk of falling through the cracks of the system, going missing or being subjected to violence. This includes children in institutions, unaccompanied minors, children nearing the age of transition to adulthood, children from Roma or other minority groups or who are asylum-seekers, refugees or migrants and were residing in Ukraine and were stateless before leaving their countries of origin. In and outside of Ukraine, children are in urgent need of protection, including access to psychosocial and social support, health, nutrition, education and housing, protection against trafficking, sexual and labour exploitation and abuse. The European Parliament, as well as its Coordinator on Children's Rights, have been active in defending the rights of the children fleeing the war in Ukraine since its beginning. This briefing updates and expands on an 'At a glance' note written by Maria Margarita Mentzelopoulou and Micaela Del Monte in March 2022.