Eastern Europe

Operational information on the Eastern Europe subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:

| Armenia | Azerbaijan | Belarus | Georgia | Russian Federation | Turkey | Ukraine

Subregion: Eastern Europe


Latest update of camps and office locations 21  Nov  2016. By clicking on the icons on the map, additional information is displayed.

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Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion Eastern Europe

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2016 {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"budget":[115.65619943,270.95338247,373.29339842,420.086669828,423.24577262],"expenditure":[66.62675063,93.80871945,129.57658867,127.2709373,168.29172532]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"p1":[99.81453782,254.58595382,348.65309119,370.486506469,379.8935932],"p2":[2.4645976,3.29116795,3.22419003,2.750744475,2.21052703],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[13.37706401,13.0762607,21.4161172,46.849418884,41.14165239]} {"categories":[2012,2013,2014,2015,2016],"p1":[58.55360196,87.06124285,114.93678843,98.15642826,144.86997663],"p2":[1.56906292,1.55514895,1.28411391,1.14276108,1.01061833],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[6.50408575,5.19232765,13.35568633,27.97174796,22.41113036]}
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People of Concern - 2016

[["Refugees",3109814],["Refugee-like situation",15185],["Asylum-seekers",256507],["IDPs",2686894],["Returned refugees",64],["Stateless",142549]]
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Response in 2016

Asylum systems in Eastern Europe remained fragile. UNHCR advocated for access to territory and to asylum, including refugee status determination (RSD). The Office advised on statelessness matters and advocated for accession to relevant international instruments, in particularly in Belarus and Russia.
An escalation of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict in April 2016 displaced up to 12,000 people, although most returned to their original locations during the year. Cash, food and some household items assistance were provided to the most vulnerable among the affected population.
UNHCR continued to contribute to phase II of the Asylum Systems Quality Initiative in Eastern Europe and the Southern Caucasus (QIEE), which enhanced access to, and the quality of, status determination procedures in participating countries. Initiatives were extended to cover three main audiences: first-instance asylum authorities, judges and border authorities. A joint assessment of progress found improvements regionally in RSD processes and in compliance with minimum standards.
The total number of people of concern in the subregion reached over 3 million by the end of the year. This includes close to 300,000 refugees (including close to 270,000 Ukrainians refugees in Russia); more than 2.7 million IDPs (600,000 in Azerbaijan,  273,000 in Georgia, and some 1.6 million in Ukraine according to government data); close to 137,000 stateless people (91,000 in Russia, 35,400 in Ukraine, 6,000 in Belarus, and 3,600 in Azerbaijan). In addition, around 965,000 Ukrainians have sought other forms of legal status in neighbouring countries (800,000 in Russia, 165,000 in Belarus).


UNHCR in Armenia continued to be significantly impacted by the presence of some 14,000 Syrians. The most vulnerable Syrians in a refugee-like situation were assisted, including in the areas of shelter, social inclusion and livelihoods. UNHCR advocated with the Government to further strengthen the national asylum system, such as on legislation, procedures, and the development of a national integration strategy for refugees. Armenia amended its nationality legislation to introduce safeguards for the prevention of statelessness at birth. Other amendments to legislation on refugees and asylum included a procedure for appointing representatives for unaccompanied and separated children and other vulnerable applicants, and for the provision of financial assistance to asylum-seekers not accommodated in reception centers.
In Azerbaijan, new regulations compelled UNHCR to increase its direct implementation of programmes and services for people of concern. Following UNHCR advocacy, the Government amended its IDP assistance policy to provide targeted, needs-based assistance instead of the rights-based approach that was in place before. Refugee IDs were added to the list of documents that confirm legal residence in the country as required in the naturalization procedure. Furthermore, improvements in governmental reception capacity were noted. UNHCR continued to provide health care, assisting 1,100 people to access primary health care services and 614 people were referred to secondary and tertiary health care services.
In Belarus, UNHCR worked to identify and provide targeted assistance to the most vulnerable among new arrivals from Ukraine. UNHCR supported local integration activities, including facilitating access to the labour market and strengthening partnerships with the private sector. The newly-amended law on citizenship entitled children born to stateless parents temporary residing in Belarus to Belarussian nationality (previously, only children born to stateless people permanently residing in Belarus were eligible).
In Georgia, UNHCR advocated improved access to livelihoods for IDPs and refugees in need. UNHCR advised people of concern on their rights and improved their access to public services. UNHCR also contributed to the expansion of socio-economic integration initiatives, using a combination of market-based livelihood and cash-based interventions and social cohesion projects targeting 700 vulnerable people of concern. In 2016, Georgian government promulgated a new law on international protection, which strengthened the protection space and introduced special procedures for people of concern with specific needs.
In all UNHCR operations in the subregion, funding shortfall led to inadequate subsistence allowances and very strict targeting of assistance. It also limited the implementation of livelihoods and basic-needs, including health care and education, interventions.
497 Number of personnel (international and national)
18 Number of offices 
7,267,079 Estimated number of people of concern (PoC)
407.6 million Overall funding requirements in USD (ExCom-approved 2016 budget)

Operational Environment and Strategy 

UNHCR’s work in Eastern Europe will focus on:
  • Strengthening national asylum systems to ensure that persons of concern are adequately protected.
  • Advocating for prevention and reduction of statelessness through support of relevant national legislation and procedures.
  • Covering the essential needs of persons with specific needs while focusing on durable solutions.
  • Engaging with development and humanitarian partners to monitor progress and direct development programmes.
  • Providing adequate emergency response related to the situation of internal displacement in Ukraine.
UNHCR supports the continued strengthening of asylum systems in the context of mixed flows. Countries in the subregion have various and significant populations of concern including refugees, returnees, internally displaced people (IDPs) and stateless people.
The numbers of asylum-seekers in the subregion remain relatively low, with the exception of people seeking refuge from the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) and Ukraine. Ensuring access to territory and asylum procedures remains challenging, but cases of deportation of people of concern are usually brought to UNHCR’s attention. Low recognition rates and, in some countries, the preferential use of complementary forms of protection, also remain of concern. Limited access to protection for asylum-seekers and modest integration opportunities are leading to onward movements. 
UNHCR will support the second phase of the Quality Initiative in Eastern Europe (QIEE) in 2016-2017, focusing on continued strengthening of refugee status determination (RSD) procedures. A Regional Protection Support Unit (RPSU) established in Tbilisi, Georgia, will provide expertise and advice on RSD and resettlement to the subregion.
Despite progress, the stateless population in the subregion is estimated to be 250,000. Certain minority groups continue to face difficulties in proving their citizenship as a consequence of the dissolution of the former Soviet Union.
The Ukrainian situation remains unpredictable, requiring constant adjustments in planning and delivery of protection and assistance. UNHCR will continue to closely monitor the situation of almost 1.5 million IDPs in Ukraine officially registered by the national authorities. The analysis and crosschecking of data on the basis of multiple government database indicates that approximately 800,000 IDPs are located in government-controlled areas. Some 1.1 million Ukrainian nationals have neem displaced to neighbouring States, seeking asylum or other forms of legal stay, mainly in the Russian Federation (over 900,000) and Belarus (more than 126,000).
The Office will continue to support governments to meet the protection and acute assistance needs of people of concern, upon request. UNHCR will support legal and social counseling for those in need through partners. 

Response and Implementation 

The operations in Turkey and Ukraine are presented in separate country chapters.
The situation in Ukraine is likely to continue to affect Belarus in 2016. About 126,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Belarus, including some 1,300 who are seeking asylum. Other asylum-seekers include Syrians and Afghans. UNHCR will continue to support efforts to strengthen the asylum system and consolidate protection delivery. Legal and technical assistance to the Government and protection measures against sexual and gender-based violence will be prioritized.
In the Southern Caucasus region of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, there are three main population groups: refugees and asylum-seekers (about 22,000, including some 16,000 Syrian nationals of Armenian origin in a refugee-like situation in Armenia); stateless (some 4,300); and IDPs in Azerbaijan (623,000) and Georgia (262,000). UNHCR’s goals will be to provide protection to persons of concern and assist governments in realizing durable solutions. UNHCR will also support a government-led integration strategy aiming at self-reliance of PoCs and full access to rights and services equal to nationals.
In the Russian Federation, the main groups of concern are Ukrainians (over 380,000 seeking asylum and close to 530,000 under other forms of stay) followed by Syrians and Afghans. UNHCR will continue to monitor the situation of populations of concern and provide advice to the Government. The Office will also cooperate with the authorities to find durable solutions for long-staying asylum-seekers. As part of its international campaign to eradicate statelessness, UNHCR will conduct an assessment of the scope of the remaining problem of statelessness.

2016 Budget and Expenditure in Eastern Europe | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Belarus Budget
Regional Office in the South Caucasus Budget
Russian Federation Budget
Turkey Budget
Ukraine Budget
Total Budget

2016 Voluntary Contributions to Eastern Europe | USD

Earmarking / Donor Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Eastern Europe overall
Philippines 005,000 5,000
Private donors in Canada 00159 159
Private donors in Switzerland 0095 95
Sweden 001,591,772 1,591,772
Eastern Europe overall subtotal 001,597,026 1,597,026
UNDP 34,02200 34,022
Belarus subtotal 34,02200 34,022
Regional Office in the South Caucasus
Armenia 0098,000 98,000
Azerbaijan 10,00700 10,007
Private donors in Japan 0193,6810 193,681
Republic of Korea 700,00000 700,000
Regional Office in the South Caucasus subtotal 710,007193,68198,000 1,001,689
Canada 8,675,83000 8,675,830
European Union 2,930,51600 2,930,516
France 5,668,93400 5,668,934
Germany 17,006,80300 17,006,803
Japan 11,000,00000 11,000,000
Lithuania 21,97800 21,978
Norway 1,447,58000 1,447,580
Private donors in Germany 00112,740 112,740
Private donors in Singapore 10,00000 10,000
Private donors in the United Arab Emirates 250,00000 250,000
Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 87,30200 87,302
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 00303,588 303,588
United States of America 66,600,00000 66,600,000
Turkey subtotal 113,770,3260416,327 114,186,653
Canada 001,123,596 1,123,596
Denmark 050,0000 50,000
Estonia 0330,3110 330,311
European Union 02,992,6630 2,992,663
Finland 0210,9430 210,943
Germany 02,254,7910 2,254,791
International Organization for Migration 0075,932 75,932
Japan 01,900,0000 1,900,000
Private donors in Canada 0089 89
Private donors in Germany 0182,887566,893 749,780
Private donors in Spain 00402 402
Private donors in the United States of America 00500 500
Republic of Korea 00250,000 250,000
Russian Federation 00250,000 250,000
United States of America 008,100,000 8,100,000
Ukraine subtotal 07,921,59510,367,413 18,289,008
Total 114,514,3558,115,27712,478,767 135,108,398