More than 5.4 million have forcibly left Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on February 24, according to the count compiled by the United Nations, which fears that the number of refugees exceed eight million soon if there is no ceasefire imminent.
Three million refugees have arrived in Poland alone, although the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has also confirmed 513,000 arrivals in Hungary, 441,000 in Moldova and 368,000 in Slovakia. In the case of Russia, the UN estimates that it has received 656,000 refugees, although local authorities have assured that the figure exceeds one million. this count exceeds the displacement forecasts launched by the UN immediately after the start of the Russian invasion and UNHCR indicated this week that, at the current rate, the number of refugees will reach 8.3 million. In addition, the United Nations estimates that there are some 7.7 million internally displaced persons, who have left their homes but have remained inside Ukraine.
HRW warns of risks in Poland
The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned this Friday thate thousands of Ukrainian refugees are at risk of abuse upon arrival in Poland due to the “lack of basic protection“. In a statement, the organization lamented that refugees, especially women and children, face serious risks of suffering “violence, exploitation and human trafficking”. “Poland’s acceptance of those fleeing war is a positive issue in the face of the crisis, but the absence of basic protection measures endangers the situation of these refugees and exposes them to serious abuses,” said Hillary Margolis, an HRW researcher. Thus, she indicated that “leaving this role in the hands of volunteers and activists endangers the safety of refugees and their well-being” and denounced that some of refugees have already been victims of exploitation and abuse Since February 24, more than 2.9 million Ukrainian refugees have arrived on Polish territory, most of whom are women and children. HRW has insisted that the Polish government must immediately develop “protocols to ensure protection in reception centers for the transfer of all refugees.” In this regard, it has asked the authorities work alongside humanitarian response agencies and non-governmental organizations to “reduce the dangers of gender-based violence and ensure the proper identification of victims.”