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Opinions & Interviews

15 Sep 2016

UNCHR: Forced migrants enjoy all kinds of assistance in Belarus

UNCHR: Forced migrants enjoy all kinds of assistance in Belarus

BREST, 15 September (BelTA) – Belarus provides all kinds of assistance to forced migrants, UNHCR Representative in Belarus Jean-Yves Bouchardy told the media, BelTA has learned.

“Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, Belarus has received about 160,000 citizens of that country, which represents about 1.5% of the population of Belarus. If we compare these figures, the ratio will be comparable with that in Germany: I mean that the number of refugees which the 80-million Germany has received. We should express gratitude to the Belarusian Government for assuming the additional burden, additional costs and making strenuous efforts to help forced migrants, including at the legislative level,” Jean-Yves Bouchardy said.

The Brest Oblast Executive Committee hosted a meeting with representatives of the diplomatic missions accredited in Belarus who traveled to the region on a study visit at the invitation of UNHCR and UNICEF. Deputy Chairman of the Brest Oblast Executive Council Leonid Tsuprik said that in January-August, the Office of Citizenship and Migration of the Brest Oblast Executive Committee received 53 applications for refugee status or subsidiary protection. Of those seeking protection, 25 are from Ukraine, 11 from Tajikistan, 8 from Afghanistan, 3 from the Russian Federation, 2 from Georgia, and one from Pakistan, Eritrea, Bulgaria and Croatia each.

“All foreign citizens seeking asylum in Belarus are provided with full information on migration laws. They are also provided with necessary assistance with employment and legal matters,” said Leonid Tsuprik.

A total of 146 foreigners, including 113 residents of Lugansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine, addressed the labor, employment and social security bodies of Brest Oblast in 2016. Some 66 people inquired about pensions, with 46 of them included into the country’s pension payment system. The major reason to deny a request for pension was the absence of the minimal length of service required for the payment of a pension and the absence of the documents confirming the right for early retirement, Leonid Tsuprik said.

In January-August 2016, a total of 1,147 applications requesting the right to engage in labor activity in Belarus were submitted to relevant agencies. Applications from Ukrainians accounted for 75% of the total. Seeking employment in Belarus were also citizens of Lithuania (7% of the total), Uzbekistan (about 5%), and Poland (4%).

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