UNICEF Refugee Response in the Czech Republic: Initial Results and Priorities
UNICEF Refugee Response
Continued war, including recent attacks on critical infrastructure, increased humanitarian needs, nuclear threat and economic hardship are inhibiting returns and triggering new refugee movements. The situation for both refugees and host countries is complex, unpredictable and acute. Refugees struggle to access protection services and children remain at risk of violence and exploitation. Those impacted by trauma or unaccompanied, separated and/or evacuated from institutional care facilities are highly vulnerable. Rising energy prices and inflation render cash and social protection support critical. Access to education remains a challenge, with many children not yet registered in schools, while refugee health needs, including immunization, require additional capacities and investments.
The Czech Republic is both a transit and a destination country for people fleeing the war in Ukraine and has welcomed over 450,000 refugees – one of countries with the highest number of registered Ukrainian refugees per capita. The Government capacities to provide critical services for refugee children and families are stretched, making it crucial to complement and strengthen national systems and child-centered responses. Host communities are also impacted by the energy crisis and high inflation, affecting solidarity and social cohesion. As part of the United Nations Regional Refugee Response Plan, UNICEF focuses on sustaining, expanding, and ensuring preparedness for protection and critical assistance to all refugee children and their families in the Czech Republic.
The solidarity and support of the Government and People of the Czech Republic have been remarkable. At the same time, the sudden onset of a large refugee wave has put significant pressure and new demands on the national system. UNICEF works in close partnership with national institutions to support the delivery of refugee response, including targeted humanitarian services, policy and systems strengthening, enhancement of national and local capacities, leveraging resources and catalysing action.
Strengthening national systems by partnering with ministries and other national level authorities. UNICEF established workplans with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of the Interior
Strengthening systems at local level tto provide services for refugee children and their families through partnering with regions, municipalities and other local authorities. UNICEF established a partnership with the City of Prague, which hosts the largest share of refugees, to provide comprehensive support and services for refugee children and their families. The dialogue is ongoing with other regions with high number of refugees. UNICEF is supporting cross-sectoral refugee response coordination at the regional level, through dedicated regional coordinators and linking them to the national coordination mechanisms.
Strengthening outreach and services for refugee children and their families through partnering with civil society organizations (CSOs). In partnership with the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU), Romodrom and MRIYA non-governmental organizations, UNICEF is supporting the expansion of outreach and provision of basic services to the most vulnerable children and their families, including unaccompanied and separated children, and refugee children from the Roma community.