Ukraine: EU stepping up support to sexual and gender-based violence survivors

Ukraine: EU stepping up support to sexual and gender-based violence survivors

May 13, 2022

On 13 May, the European Commission announced €1.5 million support for a dedicated project by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) that provides sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls in Ukraine. 

Funding will target essential supplies and equipment, including emergency kits for pregnant women. In addition, two mobile healthcare units for emergency obstetric and newborn care, will be established. 

The funding is part of the EU’s overall €243 million in humanitarian aid in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine which comes on top of in-kind assistance to the country via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

“History has shown … that women bear the brunt of wars and conflicts, and the war in Ukraine is no different. With conflict-related sexual violence on the rise, we must recognise the impact this ruthless war has on the most vulnerable populations,” said Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič. “Also, I want to remind Russia that using rape as a weapon of war is a violation of international humanitarian law in its gravest form, and will not go unpunished.” 

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, added that the EU is also working to ensure that Ukrainian refugees in the EU have access to mental health services, adapted to the needs of women who have experienced trauma and gender-based violence. “Through the EU’s solidarity system for medical transfers we can transfer victims of conflict related sexual violence and provide them with the care they need.” 

Russia’s illegal invasion has caused around 7.7 million people to be internally displaced in Ukraine, and over 6 million people to flee the country, the vast majority of them women and children. 

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