January 30, 2024 – In Poland, the government’s welcoming policies toward Ukrainian refugees have helped to sustain solidarity and inclusion in local communities, according to a new report.
The January 25 report was conducted by the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University in collaboration with the University of Warsaw.
The report analyzed data from five geographic areas in Poland that have experienced an influx of Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion in February 2022. The researchers found that, after initial local solidarity and generosity from Polish frontline communities, the Polish government followed up with its own strong welcoming response, including providing aid such as shelter, health care, and education. The government aid helped sustain local solidarity with refugees over time—in effect, a positive feedback loop was created, with locals’ welcoming response driving the state to institute generous policies, and state policies in turn helping sustain locals’ solidarity with the immigrants.
A question raised by the study is whether the Polish government’s current response will effectively sustain local community support for the Ukrainian refugees over a longer time period, “or whether it needs to be adapted and refined to better address the challenges of an ongoing and more permanent influx,” the co-authors wrote.
FXB co-authors of the report were Vasileia Digidiki, an instructor and director of FXB’s Summer Program on Migration and Refugee Studies, and Jacqueline Bhabha, professor of the practice of health and human rights at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of research at FXB.
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