Refugees in Ukraine run up against corruption, can’t work, marry, look after children

These were some of the problems mentioned by the Coalition against Discrimination during a press club to mark International Refugee Day with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation.


Concern over plight of Somali asylum seekers in Ukraine

The Ukrainian Refugee Council has issued an open appeal to the President, Minister of Internal Affairs, Head of the Migration Service and others calling on them to take all measures needed to regulate the situation of Somali asylum seekers presently in Ukraine.


90% of asylum seekers in Ukraine turned down

Ukrainian NGOs report that over the ten years since Ukraine signed the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, it has not created a system for giving effective assistance to asylum seekers.


Will the new law make life easier for refugees?

As reported, the Law on Refugees and People who need Additional or Temporary Protection came into force on 4 August 2011. While reception has been generally positive, there are doubts as to its practical enforcement.


Ukraine to pay refugee from Russian Federation 6 thousand euro in moral compensation

On 5 July 2011 the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgement confirming the amicable agreement between Lema Susarov and Ukraine. According to the judgement in the Case of Susarov v. Ukraine, Chechen Lema Susarov withdrew his claim against Ukraine, while the Ukrainian Government agreed to pay him 6 thousand euro in moral compensation.


Calls for release of mandate refugee Denis Solopov

On 20 June, International Refugee Day, human rights activists and artists picketed the Prosecutor General’s Office demanding the release from detention of Moscow artist and civic activist, Denis Solopov. As reported, Denis Solopov was an active participant in last year’s protests against the felling of Khimki Forest in the Moscow Region in order to build a highway.


Denis Sopolov, Khimki Forest defender still in danger of extradition to Russia

As reported, Denis Sopolov came to Ukraine fearing persecution in the Russian Federation in connection with protests over the destruction of the Khimki forest in the Moscow region. An application for his remand in custody pending a decision on an extradition request is soon to be heard by a Kyiv court, and both Ukrainian and Russian human rights activists are seeking to get him released and all threat of extradition removed. They are presently endeavouring to get Denis released on a surety from others.


Refugees cannot be extradited – release Sopolov!

The “No Borders” Project of the Social Action Centre has issued a statement over the arrest of refugee Denis Sopolov who came to Ukraine fleeing persecution by the authorities of the Russian Federation. He approached the UNHCR Office in Ukraine asking for protection, and having studied his case, the latter decided that Denis’s prosecution by the authorities was politically motivated and declared him a mandate refugee.


Work in Ukraine’s Shadow Economy

The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy reports that between one and a half and two million Ukrainians work without the necessary legal documents. Illegal labour is mainly common where services are provided, in trade, in construction and in the transport industry. At the same time around 300 thousand Ukrainians work in conditions which do not comply with health and safety requirements.


Kyiv Regional Police boast of “successes” in breach of the Constitution

Upbeat reports about police search operations demonstrate contempt for Ukraine’s Constitution and human rights. The “No Borders” Project reiterates that Ukraine’s authorities are obliged to protect the rights of asylum seekers, and not violate the principle of the presumption of innocence.


Ukrainian Refugee Council concerned over detention of asylum seekers from Uzbekistan

The Refugee Council has expressed its concern over reports of a number of detentions by Ukrainian law enforcement bodies of asylum seekers from Uzbekistan. According to their information, this is pending extradition procedure since they are wanted by the Uzbekistan authorities.


Have the Ukrainian authorities decided to hand asylum seekers over en masse to their Uzbek “colleagues”?

Over the last two weeks two asylum seekers from Uzbekistan have been detained by the enforcement bodies. They are being held in custody to begin the procedure for handing them over to those from whom they once managed to flee – the Uzbekistan punitive structures. Other Uzbek asylum seekers have been informally warned that they’re next in line for extradition.


Will Ukraine protect the rights of asylum seeker Umid Khamroyev?

Umid Khamroyev, an Uzbekistan national, asked for refugee status in Ukraine in 2009. He stated that he feared persecution from the Uzbekistan authorities for his religious believes and because many of the people he knew had been imprisoned under “political” and “religious” articles. The Ukrainian authorities turned down his application, deciding that there were no grounds for his fears of persecution.


Court confirms that asylum seekers may work

The detention and conviction of asylum seekers for working without special permits has been standard both for the police and for Ukrainian courts. However a Judge from the Sviatoshynsky District Court in Kyiv has found that there is no administrative offence in a person seeking asylum, i.e. refugee status, in Ukraine working without a special permit. This means that asylum seekers who work without special permits envisaged by Ukrainian legislation for foreigners have the right to do so and are not breaking the law.


Igor Koktysh freed at last

In the Crimea after two and a half years in the Simferopol SIZO [pre-trial detention centre] Belarusian youth activist and rock musician, Igor Koktysh has finally been released. The 29-year-old’s extradition had been sought by Belarus supposedly because he was suspected of committing a serious crime in his own country. As reported already, however, the European Court of Human Rights in December last year found that Ukraine would be violating Article 3 (prohibition of torture and ill-treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights if it sent Igor back to Belarus. The Court also found that there had been a violation of Article 3 over the conditions of Koktysh’ detention and transportation, as well as of Article 5, (the right to liberty and personal security).

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