UNDP Moldova launches new access to justice project for Ukrainian refugees

August 19, 2022
Parajurista Elena Tutunaru

Paralegal Elena Tutunaru from Vorniceni village

Ukrainian refugees and Moldovan host communities will benefit from enhanced access to justice, thanks to a new project funded and implemented by UNDP. The initiative will strengthen provision of paralegal services by working with at least 80 paralegals to increase their knowledge on providing legal assistance to refugees and asylum seekers, while also expanding the paralegal network with the recruitment of 10 new specialists.

The project, which has with a $250,000 budget, will be implemented during 2022-2023, in partnership with the Institute of Penal Reforms.

“Displacement removes people from the systems and institutions that are designed to protect them – such as legal aid. This pushes people, especially women and girls, into extreme vulnerability. That is why we are keen to provide much needed access to legal counselling, so that people fleeing the war and arriving in Moldova, can take informed decisions and benefit from these protection measures,” said Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

In two districts, Căușeni and Edineț, mobile teams will be deployed, consisting of social workers, psychologists, and lawyers. The teams will connect refugees and host communities with local public authorities and will provide legal, psychological, and social services.

The mobile teams will meet with women refugees in the localities where they have settled and identify the risks of violence and other problems they face. Specialists will also help to facilitate their employment and professional retraining.

Access to legal information and support services for refugees will also be provided, with information translated into Ukrainian through the platform http://www.dopomoga.gov.md, launched by the Government. With UNDP support, an app will be developed for people in need of legal aid, including refugees.

Since the onset of the war in Ukraine, UNDP and Sweden, through the Regional Dialogue Platforms for Access to Justice, operating in the districts of Soroca, Criuleni, Cimișlia and Găgăuzia region, have supported the provision of legal counseling to refugees.