Friday 11 March 2022

1st UIC Refugee Task force web-conference held on 10 March 2022

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The kick-off meeting of the UIC Refugee Task Force was attended remotely on 10 March 2022 by around 50 participants from across Europe as well as from the US and Japan.

Marc Guigon, UIC Passenger Director, Coordinator Middle-East and Latin American Regions, Coordinator UIC Refugee and Covid-19 Task Forces, welcomed the participants, notably representatives from UIC’s partner organisations such as CIT and UITP, the latter represented by Mohamed Mezghani, Secretary-General.

Mr Guigon gave an overview of the morning’s meeting and the situation today, with over two million people having fled Ukraine to countries in Europe such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, among others. He reminded the meeting that the Task Force aims to exchange know-how between UIC members on the management of migration flows, prepare communications plans for the refugees, establish information exchanges between train operators and infrastructure managers to better receive Ukrainian refugees in railway stations, as well as address security issues. A LinkedIn group has been created on the UIC page to share and discuss any issues relating to this initiative.

A presentation was then given on the subject of UIC’s actions in former crises by Marie-Hélène Bonneau, Head of the UIC Security Division. She began by giving an overview of how crisis management is addressed in the context of the Security Platform and what measures can be taken during crises. She referred to the refugee crisis in 2015-2016 and the lessons learned from the dedicated workshop held in 2016. The challenges included coping with large flows of migrants at stations, preventing unauthorised boarding on international trains, language problems, media attention, making use of unused infrastructure as well as disruption to existing passenger flows.

A round table followed to discuss the current situation per impacted country and company, as well as the needs and expectations of the members regarding the Task Force.

  • Representing Ukrainian Railways (UZ), Olena Oleksiy gave an overview of what UZ is doing to help the refugees get to a safer place, for example running passenger trains to help transport people and providing humanitarian aid in cargo wagons. UZ has a dedicated page on the subject if any members wish to have a look and contribute to the effort.
  • Representing Polish Railways (PKP), Agnieszka Sobkiewicz and Magda Kujacińska gave a presentation starting with an introduction to PKP Group, the current situation, notably with regard to how many refugees have crossed the border on humanitarian trains, the measures introduced by PKP Group and railway station security centres. Since 24 February, 1.33 million people of many nationalities have crossed the Polish border from Ukraine, with 100,600 by rail (during the period 24 February - 8 March 2022).

Several representatives from member railways then took the floor to explain what their railways are doing in response to the situation, notably members from countries which are currently receiving refugees such as Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Belgium and Germany, as well as contributions from Scandinavian countries.

Members are encouraged to share their thoughts, either by writing to the internal UIC Task Force Refugee team or by posting in the UIC Extranet at this link:

A Task Force LinkedIn group is open to members. Feel free to join the group and share your thoughts:

The next Task Force Refugee web-conference is scheduled to take place on Friday 18 March 2022.

For any further questions or proposals for contributions to these Task Force meetings, please email:

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