Back CoE/UNHCR roundtable: effective protection of vulnerable migrants and refugees, including women and children fleeing Ukraine

CoE/UNHCR roundtable: effective protection of vulnerable migrants and refugees, including women and children fleeing Ukraine

Read the summary of this roundtable

Today, the Office of the Special Representative of the Council of Europe on Migration and Refugees (SRSG) and the Office of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Bratislava organised a joint online event on “Strengthening the protection against abuse and exploitation of vulnerable persons, in particular women and children, fleeing the war in Ukraine”. This event is a follow-up to the fact-finding visit (report) of the SRSG to the Slovak Republic carried out on 2-4 May 2022 in line with the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the Context of Migration Asylum in Europe (2021-2025). The aim of the event was to support the Slovak authorities in strengthening the protection of vulnerable migrants and refugees in addressing the challenges they face.

“This roundtable is a result of joint efforts with our partner organisation UNHCR, the Slovak authorities and the relevant entities of the Council of Europe in addressing the protection of the most vulnerable people fleeing the war in Ukraine. The safeguards for persons with special needs, such as unaccompanied and separated children, victims of trafficking in human beings, persons subjected to sexual exploitation and abuse, including children, and women’s safety in reception facilities are key”, said the Special Representative in her opening remarks.

The State Secretary Mr Vedelin Leitner, the Ministry of Interior said: “We would be conducting our operations on a significantly smaller scale and more precarious circumstances without the resources, knowledge and expertise provided to the Government of Slovakia on every level by YOU – men and women of the international organizations (UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM, IFRC, WHO) and the Council of Europe. Your advice, your support and material assistance have strengthened our ability to respond as well as our resolve.”

“The age and gender composition of the Ukrainian refugee population demands from all of us stronger programmatic responses to prevention, risk mitigation and response to gender-based violence and child protection. Similar considerations apply to ensuring the inclusion and integration of this population”, said Danijela Popovic-Efendic, Head of Office, UNHCR National Office in Slovakia.


The event was attended by government officials from the Slovak Ministry of Interior, namely the State Secretary Mr Vedelin Leitner, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family. Other participants included representatives of the Public Defender’s office, the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights, and non-governmental organisations. The participants pledged to continue working together in a spirit of collaboration in order to protect the most vulnerable.


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Special Representative on Migration and Refugees Strasbourg/Bratislava 21 September 2022
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