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Opinions & Interviews

26 Oct 2015

Seeking international protection in Belarus are mainly citizens of Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan

BREST, 26 October (BelTA) – Among those requesting international protection in Belarus are, mainly, the citizens of Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan, legal adviser at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representation in Belarus Timofei Solodkov told media during the UN70 Express campaign in Brest on 26 October, BelTA informs.

The UNHCR takes note of an increasing number of forced migrants. “Before 2013 the refugee status and additional protection was annually sought in Belarus by not more than 200 persons on average. In 2014-2015 the aggregate number of asylum seekers has already reached 2,000 people. Of course it cannot be compared to migrant flows to Europe. Nevertheless, we see a many-time increase in applicants who arrive in the country due to the crisis situation in Ukraine and the protracted armed conflict in Syria,” noted Timofei Solodkov.

In his words, Ukrainians account for the majority (over 75%) of those seeking the refugee status in Belarus. Second go (over 10%) citizens of Syria and those who permanently lived in the country until their arrival in Belarus. The third place is occupied by citizens of Afghanistan (about 4%). Citizens of Yemen make up a bit more than 2%. Besides, among those who officially requested the refugee status are about 150,000 Ukrainian nationals who have received permit for temporary or permanent residence in Belarus. The overwhelming majority of them are people coming from Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts.

In 2014-2015 the UNHCR Representation in cooperation with the Interior Ministry and other government bodies implemented a project on resettling three Syrian families to Belarus. At present the Syrian families live in Gomel. “We got necessary resources from our headquarters for the project and did our best to implement it,” Timofei Solodkov said.

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