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Opinions & Interviews

27 Oct 2015

Attitude of Belarusians to forced migrants praised

Attitude of Belarusians to forced migrants praised

GOMEL, 27 October (BelTA) – Belarusians demonstrate quite a correct attitude to the existing situation concerning forced migrants and a tolerant attitude towards refugees, BelTA learned from Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Republic of Belarus Jean-Yves Bouchardy on 27 October.

Jean-Yves Bouchardy met with students and professors of the Gomel State University in Gomel on 27 October as part of the UN70 Express campaign to talk about refugees and migration. Representatives of the Citizenship and Migration Department of the Belarusian Interior Ministry and the Gomel Oblast administration also took part in the event.

The UNHCR Representative in Belarus underlined the cooperative attitudes demonstrated by Belarusians in view of the existing situation concerning forced migrants, the tolerant attitude of Belarus residents towards refugees, the lack of xenophobia feelings towards people of different nationalities, religions and skin colors. Jean-Yves Bouchardy mentioned the warm welcome extended to refugees from Ukraine in Belarus as a confirmation of his evaluation of Belarusians. “We also talk to migrants from other countries, to Syrians, Afghans. Virtually none of them mention any problems during interaction with the local residents. At present forced migrants are rather effectively integrated into the Belarusian society, however, we aim to make the process even less complicated,” he said.

A small concert involving the persons the UNHCR Office takes care of will take place in the Gomel community center in the evening of 27 October to once again draw attention to forced migrants and refugees. Ukrainian women are expected to sing songs in their native tongues. A Syrian student of the Belarusian State Art Academy will stage a short dancing performance. The concert will end with a performance by the famous Belarusian gymnast Melitina Stanyuta, who supports efforts of the UNHCR Office and takes part in the UN70 Express events in Gomel. During the day several UN photo exhibitions will be open to highlight the families of Ukrainian forced migrants, children’s drawings and other works of art.

The events held in Gomel as part of the UN70 Belarus Express campaign are focused on reducing inequality inside countries and among them. The events include press conferences, roundtable discussions, meetings with young people, exhibitions, and concerts. The UN train is supposed to travel through Belarusian towns and cities within seven days. The train left Minsk on 23 October. It has already been to Grodno and Brest. It will stop in Mogilev on 28 October, in Vitebsk on 29 October to return to Minsk on 30 October.

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