GENEVA – Since the escalation of the war in Ukraine, some 234,000 refugees from that country have benefited from the support and protection services provided by the 36 Blue Dots established in seven countries by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Children’s Fund of United Nations (UNICEF).
Blue Points are comprehensive safe spaces that are fully equipped not only to provide information to refugees, but also to provide counselling, psychosocial support and mental health care, legal aid and protection services. The aim of the Blue Dots is to support all refugees, with a special focus on children and adolescents, people with disabilities or medical needs, the elderly, people who may have been victims of trafficking, survivors of violence or LGBTIQ+ people.
Similarly, Blue Dots allow people who have specific needs or who are in a particular situation of vulnerability to be identified and directed to receive specialized services. Another of the main functions of these centers is that they help identify and support separated and unaccompanied children traveling alone, as well as provide informal education and early childhood care to girls and boys in human mobility situations.
“The international armed conflict taking place in Ukraine has caused a crisis in the protection of women, girls, boys and other people in vulnerable situations, who represent the majority of those leaving Ukraine,” said Pascal Moreau, regional refugee coordinator for the situation in Ukraine. “In order to support community centers and efforts at the municipal level, the Blue Dots have a key role to play in identifying and supporting women, girls, boys, people with disabilities and others in vulnerable situations who we know are more at risk of violence based on of gender, trafficking, abuse, psychological stress and family separation.’
Millions of people have fled Ukraine since February this year. For this reason, UNHCR and UNICEF have installed Blue Dots at major border crossings, transit routes and urban areas of neighboring refugee-hosting countries. In particular, Blue Dots are located at train stations, border crossings, cash assistance registration centers, refugee shelters and community centers. To date, a total of thirty-six Blue Dots have been installed – in Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – to complement the work of governments and other partners providing support to refugees.
“It is estimated that there are 7.1 million refugees from Ukraine in Europe; the majority are women and children,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s regional director for Europe and Central Asia. “The Blue Dots represent a vital extension of the services provided by host governments to identify and refer the most vulnerable people to national care and protection systems. However, our work goes further. Refugee children in Ukraine face multiple challenges and need continued access to education, social protection, healthcare and other basic services. Expanding access to these services through the recently created Puntos Azules digital platform, which consolidates information and service referrals in one place, will allow us to continue to reach people most in need to provide them with the support they need in time.
Given that many refugees from Ukraine continue to flee the country, remain in a situation of human mobility or depend on information they receive through social networks or other digital means to decide how and where to move, where to establish and how to access the services UNHCR and UNICEF launched “Digital Blue Dot”.
This digital platform complements the physical Blue Dots as it gives refugees access to accurate, up-to-date and relevant information via their mobile devices so that, among other things, they know their rights, key social services, who provides them, how to get accessing them and how to stay safe.
Digital Blue Dot is dynamic and mobile-friendly; constantly updated; and is available in all major languages, including Russian and Ukrainian.
click here for more details on blue dots.
Note to the press:
Refugees in neighboring countries can find the nearest Blue Point and get information about the services provided using the interactive map on the Digital Blue Point site.
- UNICEF: Irina Mazur, Communications Director, UNICEF ECARO, [email protected]
- UNHCR: Natalia Prokopchuk, Senior Communications Officer, UNHCR Regional Office for Europe, [email protected]
UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, protects people forced from their homes by conflict and persecution. We work in more than 137 countries where we protect millions of people by providing vital support, protecting basic human rights and helping to build a better future for them.
Consult the UNHCR data portal on the situation in Ukraine.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s most difficult contexts to reach the most disadvantaged children. In more than 190 countries and territories, UNICEF works everywhere to build a better world for girls and boys.
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