UNHCR in the Baltic Countries
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has in recent years strengthened its presence in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and has staff in each of the three countries.
We work closely with Governments, authorities, civil society – including a number of partner organizations – as well as other relevant stakeholders to promote the rights and well-being of refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons in the Baltic countries.
UNHCR has liaison offices in Vilnius, Lithuania, in Tallinn, Estonia, and in Riga, Latvia.
The Ukraine Regional Refugee Response Plan
As of 2023, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are included in the Ukraine Regional Refugee Response Plan. The Refugee Response Plan is coordinated by UNHCR and is a multi-partner and multi-sector plan that serves to complement the respective Government-led responses to provide protection and support for refugees from Ukraine.
To complement the Government-led responses in each of the Baltic countries, UNHCR and partners are providing support in key areas such as basic needs, food security, health, protection and livelihoods. The aim is to provide dignified assistance, expand access to social and economic opportunities and advance the social cohesion for refugees from Ukraine who are already present as well as potential new arrivals.
The plan does not have a pooled fund at its disposal, but serves as a fundraising platform, providing a financial outline of the required funding for the planned activities by the different partners, and allowing for all participating partners to fundraise on their own. The contributions and funding received from donors for the RRP in the course of 2023 will ultimately decide the level of funding to reach the RRP partners in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
- Regional Refugee Response Plan for Estonia
- Regional Refugee Response Plan for Latvia
- Regional Refugee Response Plan for Lithuania
Working with Partners
UNHCR works closely with national partner organizations to provide legal, psychosocial, and integration support as well as protection, awareness raising and advocacy activities.
In Estonia, activities carried out by UNHCR and partners include providing legal assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees and conducting regular monitoring of conditions at reception and detention centers. UNHCR and partners also organize regular community events to strengthen integration and to support participants’ mental health and well-being.
In Latvia, UNHCR and partners carry out a range of activities including providing legal assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees, working with municipal social services on supporting refugees, and organizing support groups for asylum-seekers to help with finding housing and with integrating into the community.
In Lithuania, UNHCR and partners provide legal assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees, conduct regular protection monitoring at border crossing points and elsewhere, and organize art therapy and social events for refugee and asylum-seeking children, amongst other activities.
Overview of UNHCR Partners
Estonian Refugee Council (Eesti Pagulasabi)
The Estonian Refugee Council, founded in 2000, is a non-profit organization that provides direct support to refugees in Estonia as well as in five other countries.
As part of its partnership with UNHCR in 2023, the Estonian Refugee Council runs activities including participatory community programmes for men, women, children and families with refugee or migrant background where they can share their experiences, seek advice and build their networks in Estonia.
Estonian Human Rights Centre (Eesti Inimõiguste Keskus)
The Estonian Human Rights Centre, founded in 2009, is an independent non-governmental human rights organization and has been UNHCR’s partner in Estonia since 2014.
As part of its partnership with UNHCR in 2023, the Estonian Human Rights Centre provides legal support to refugees and asylum-seekers, among other activities.
Mondo, founded in 2007, is an Estonian non-governmental organization that works in Estonia and 12 other countries to reduce global inequality.
As part of its partnership with UNHCR in 2023, Mondo coordinates educational activities at schools about forced displacement and runs campaigns to raise awareness of the global refugee situation, among other activities.
I want to help refugees (Gribu palīdzēt bēgļiem)
I want to help refugees (GPB), founded in 2016, is an association that provides social and financial support to refugees and asylum-seekers.
As part of its partnership with UNHCR in 2023, GPB monitors the situation at reception centers and at borders and coordinates training programmes for municipalities to strengthen their capacity to support refugees, among other activities.
Latvian Centre for Human Rights (Latvijas Cilvēktiesību Centrs)
The Latvian Centre for Human Rights, founded in 1993, is a non-governmental organization that works with integration issues, asylum, migration, fundamental rights, and more.
As part of its partnership with UNHCR in 2023, the Latvian Centre for Human Rights provides legal assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees, among other activities.
Shelter Safe House (Patvērums “Drošā māja”)
Shelter Safe House, founded in 2007, is a non-governmental organization that provides support services to, among others, asylum-seekers, refugees and victims/survivors of human trafficking.
As part of its partnership with UNHCR in 2023, Shelter Safe House provides legal assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees and coordinates support groups for asylum-seekers to provide practical help and facilitate integration, among other activities.
Lithuanian Red Cross (Lietuvos Raudonasis Kryžius)
The Lithuanian Red Cross, founded in 1919, is part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Among the main focus areas of the Lithuanian Red Cross are assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants, humanitarian aid to vulnerable persons in Lithuania and involvement of youth in voluntary activities.
Lithuanian Red Cross has been a partner to UNHCR since 1997. As part of its partnership with UNHCR in 2023, the Lithuanian Red Cross provides legal assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees and monitors the situation at reception centers and at borders. Additionally, the Lithuanian Red Cross provides individual counselling to refugees – including single women with children, older persons, and people with disabilities – to support their access to the labour market and social services and to access healthcare.
Artscape, founded in 2012, is a non-profit cultural organization that provides opportunities for vulnerable groups in society to participate in culture and make an impact through art projects.
As part of its partnership with UNHCR in 2023, Artscape runs art therapy sessions for refugee and asylum-seeking children and produces podcasts and videos to raise awareness and promote the inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers, among other activities.