Has refugee status become accessible?


0,,17843211_303,00The number of positive decision on refugee status grant as increased in Ukraine. However, the foreigners complain about the continuous terms of case consideration.

There are people applying for asylum in Ukraine

Belarusian woman Galyna Sarochyk, coordinator of the Solidarity Movement “Razom” reports that six month ago she together with her colleagues applied for refugee status in Ukraine. After Maidan the woman is afraid to return home because of her active participation in the events on the part of Ukrainian citizens.

“Together with my daughter we rescued the wounded, fed people, helped as much as we could. Our faces saw much. And I am convinced to be present in the lists of Belarus Committee for State Security. Moreover, our car was burnt, I think, special services were involved in this”, – Sarochyk explained her wish to stay in Ukraine during the interview given to DW. The woman provided with the example that had recently happened with her colleague: “Our friend, activist, went to his family to Russia. He was detained at the border immediately and deported to Belarus. I do not want to be in such a situation”.

At the same time, the activist complains of her case consideration delay by the Ukrainian departments. “I know that decision could be resolved in the course of three months. As we have submitted our application yet in spring.  I visited Migration Service twice, my residence certificate was prolonged, but no status was issued. I was even called by SSU for the talk”, – Sarochyk tells. Belarus woman has been living in Ukraine for three years. She moved from her motherland because of “problems with regimen” as she was the participant of actions not agreeing with the policy of the President Oleksandra Lukashenko.

No preferences

State Migration Service of Ukraine informed DW that four citizens of Belarus submitted corresponding applications and the term of case consideration correspond to ones stipulated by the law. “All cases are considered in individual order and there is no preference in granting the refugee status for any category of the foreigners. The Service is obliged to keep international convention and national legislation with input clear criteria as for the refugees”, – the speaker of State Migration Service Sergiy Gunko stated.

He informed that in the course of the six months of 2014 (January-June) 553 foreigners applied to the department with the request to grant them status or subsidiary protection and positive decision have already been made in almost 200 cases. “It is 35% of satisfied applications. Besides that this index comprised approximately 20% last year and in 2012 – even less” – Gunko presents the statistics and remarks that in general the citizens from post-Soviet countries not often apply for the refugee status.

Chances of the Belarus citizens

The fact that the case pf  Sarochyk pending for more than six months, does not surprise the expert on refugees rights Maxim Boutkevitch. Unfortunately, he says, the asylum system in Ukraine has not faced any reforms. “We see no systematic changes neither in the procedure of status granting nor in the evaluation of the information on the country of origin. The cases are considered too long – six months is not yet big period, it can take even a year or two,” – Butkevych remarks.

Unfortunately, he says, the asylum system in Ukraine has not undergone any reforms. “We see no systematic changes neither in the process of status granting nor in the evaluation of information about the country of origin. The cases are considered during too long period  – six months is not a long period, it can even take a year or two,” – Butkevych says.

On his viewpoint, Department,  directly engaging in cases of the refugees,  lacks qualified personnel, there is insufficient level of expertise to decide the fate of people. The expert explains that the citizens of post-Soviet countries do not apply for the status because their chances almost negligible. “As to the general trend of the previous years, applicants from Uzbekistan or Belarus had no any chances. Hopefully, things will change, but I do not have any grounds for optimism” – human rights activist said.

However, a member of the Ukrainian Refugee Council Marina Kurochkina believes that Belarus peopel still have every chance to get the refugee status in Ukraine. She recommends to enlist the support of the professional lawyers and representatives of UNHCR. “This will keep the matter under control, monitor its consideration and, if necessary, appeal against the decisions up to the European Court of Human Rights” – Kurochkina explained in her interview to DW. Due to active public positions and actions of UNHCR, the percentage of positive decisions for asylum seekers have risen substantially, the expert said.

Aren’t intergovernmental relations taken into account?  

Belarus people are in the list of those countries, where human rights are systematically violated, CEO Amnesty International in Ukraine Tatyana Mazur says. It means that an objective factor for asylum seekers from the country of origin is provided, but Migration Service has to take into account the subjective factors, i.e. personal story of the applicant. “Refugees is a special group of people who suffer persecution, or international relations between the countries such as, for example, between Ukraine and Belarus would not be taken into account when considering such cases,” – human rights activist says, analyzing the chances of Belarusians in the light of recent peacekeeping negotiation processes in Minsk.

Source: http://www.dw.de/%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%83%D1%81-%D0%B1%D1%96%D0%B6%D0%B5%D0%BD%D1%86%D1%8F-%D0%B2-%D1%83%D0%BA%D1%80%D0%B0%D1%97%D0%BD%D1%96-%D1%81%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B2-%D0%B4%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%82%D1%83%D0%BF%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BC/a-17920381