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Press releases

3 Dec 2015

Belarus to provide refugees with equal rights for medical care

MINSK, 3 December (BelTA) – The House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus passed the first reading of the amendments to some laws regarding forced migration on 3 December, BelTA informs.

In particular, the draft law envisages for foreigners that get the refugee status in Belarus the equal rights for medical care with the Belarusian citizens.

Apart from that, the single procedure of applying for the refugee status, additional protection or asylum will be introduced in the country. Belarus Deputy Interior Minister Nikolai Melchenko stated as he presented the bill in the House of Representatives that the period to process such requests would not exceed six months.

The documents will also determine the order of actions in case of massive inflow of foreigners seeking protection. “The government bodies will be vested with additional functions to register such people, provide compulsory dactyloscopic registration, medical examination and personal identification,” said Nikolai Melchenko.

According to the Interior Ministry of Belarus, as of 1 September 2015 a total of 599 people addressed the Belarusian competent bodies with a request for the refugee status or additional protection. Among them are 457 citizens of Ukraine, 77 – from Syria, 24 – from Afghanistan, 12 – from Iraq. According to the representative of the Interior Ministry, an increase in the number of migrants that seek refugee asylum or additional protection has been recently registered in Belarus. There were 106 applications of the kind in 2012, 208 in 2013, almost 900 in 2014 and over 1,160 in 2015. At present about 75% of these people are Ukrainians.

According to Nikolai Melchenko, the amendments that were passed in the first reading on 3 December are among other things the reaction to the changing migration situation. “The crisis which Western Europe is facing today has not affected the situation in our country,” the deputy minister added. At the same time he noted that Belarus should take into account the experience of the EU member states on the back of the increasing refugee flows.

Due to the fact that a big part of the border (with Russia) is open, Belarusian law enforcers hold regular investigative events together with the Federal Migration Service of Russia. Belarus also develops cooperation with the European Union in the area.

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