How does Ukraine observe international regulations? How do refugees live in our society? What are the main problems in the system of refugee status grant in Ukraine and possible ways of such problems’ solution? Press-conference was devoted to these and accompanying problems held in Press-club on May 20, 2011. Technical organizer of the action was Foundation “Rokada” (Kyiv) in cooperation with URC at the support of the programme “East-East: partnership with no borders” of International Fund “Renaissance”.
In 2002 Ukraine joined the UNO Convention about refugee status which is 60 years this year. Regardless of worked practice in the course of six decades as well as the experience of Ukrainian Asylum System (which has functioned in different forms during 15 years), refugees and asylum seekers in Ukraine still face the system problems.
Director of CF “Rokada” (Kyiv) Nataliya Gurzhiy reported about Ukrainian Refugee Council (URC) and its activity since the moment of its establishment. She reminded that “URC is a network of non-governmental organizations helping in Ukraine and especially its governmental bodies to assist refugees and asylum seekers implementing international obligations of Ukraine”. Mrs. Gurzhiy also stated that press-conference was dedicated to results of the meeting held on May 19, 2011 in Lviv at the participation of URC members ad two new attracted organization: Charitable Organization “Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattya” and Public Organization “ Faith, Hope, Love” (“Vira, Nadiya, Lubov”). The following problems were discussed at the meeting – legal and social protection of refugees, participants’ experience as well as elaboration of new strategies, forms and methods of work with governmental bodies.
Nowadays, organizations rendering assistance to refugees face with cases when asylum seeker cannot submit documents for refugee status. However, even he/she succeeded to get official status of refugee he is expected some problems on employment and integration. In general, a percentage of those being granted with refugee status is rather low: in accordance with data of Ukrainian State Bodies confirmed by UNHCR in 2010 (July – December) only 10% of submitted application were recognized (this index is sufficiently high in comparison with previous years) – i.e. out of 100 persons applied for asylum to Ukraine just ten got it juridically. At the same time, the level of rejects in accordance with formal criteria (i.e. without consideration of applications as a matter of fact) reaches 46% – it was told by a lawyer of PO “South Ukrainian Centre of Young Lawyers” (Odessa) Maryna Kurochkina. Ukraine is a signer of Convention 1951 about refugee status and it bares a complete responsibility for asylum seekers at its territory. She named already 6-year reforming of state structures that regulate a problem of asylum assignment, one of the reasons causing impossibility to realize assistance of refugees in a necessary amount.
The head of juridical-consultation centre of trade union “Solidarity”, “Human rights have no borders” (Lviv) Nataliya Dulneva reported about the problems human rights organizations face when working with refugees and asylum seekers in Lviv, Volyn and Chernivtsi regions. She paid special attention to problems appear before asylum seekers from Chechnya. The cases of non-access of lawyers to detained refugees happen often. At the same time Nataliya Dulneva marked a positive experience in cooperation with Chernivtsi Migration Service in the sphere of protection of refugees’ rights.
Ukrainian Refugee Council is informal union of Ukrainian public organizations and charitable funds working for the sake of refuges and asylum seekers’ rights and interests protection. The members of the Council are: CF “Rokada” (Kyiv), CF “Donetsk Fund of Social Protection and Charity (Donetsk), CO “Medical Aid Committee in Zakarpattya” (Uzhgorod), International Public Organization “International Movement “Amnesty International in Ukraine”, International Charitable Foundation of Environment and Health Protection “Region Karpat” (NEEKA), Foundation on Naturalization of Rights and Human Rights “Assistance” (“Spryyannya) (Simferopol), PO “Vinnytsa Human Rights Group”, Juridical-consultation Centre of trade union “Solidarity” “Human Rights have no borders” (Lviv) Trade Union “Solidarity” (Lviv), PO “South Ukrainian Centre of Young Lawyers” (Odessa), BF “Caritas”, PO “Social Action” (Kyiv), KOCF “Social Service of Assistance” (Kharkiv), Public Organization “Faith, Hope, Love” (Odessa).
The goal of the project “From interworking to partnership: accumulation of potential of Ukrainian Refugee Council” implemented by Charitable Fund “Rokada” at the support of Programme “East-East: partnership with no borders” of International Fund “Renaissance” is to spread successful practices in public actions among public organizations of Ukraine, which favor improvement of legal and social situation of refugees and persons seeking asylum in Ukraine.