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Implementation status of the Ten Point Plan of Action for Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration UNHCR Regional Representation for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine RR Kyiv, April 2010 Recommendations as formulated by the participants of the Workshop on 28 April 2010 Activities Remaining gaps and challenges Recommendations 1. Cooperation with key partners At the regional level Regional Steering Committees of the Regional Protection Support, Local Integration Projects are convened annually to discuss and agree on regional activities. This includes representatives of UNHCR and counterpart agencies from Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine; Connections and synergies with other related projects have been ensured through mutual consultations and coordination in design of activities. This concerns especially the projects implemented by ECRE (Monitoring Safe and Dignified Return in Belarus, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine), ICMPD (GDISC-ERIT project for Ukraine) and DRC (Legal and Social Assistance to Asylum-seeking and refugee children in Ukraine); IOM remains an important partner of UNHCR 1 for its activities in the region. Activities, trainings and projects have been designed in close cooperation and consultation. In the framework of the IOM GUMIRA project in Moldova and Ukraine, the Observatory Mechanism UNHCR is a good practice of Government, International Organisations, NGOs, and EU Member States joint monitoring work; The Soderkoping process continues to be supported by UNHCR, in close cooperation with IOM, the Swedish Migration Board and the other involved Governments; - Cross-border regional meetings (with involvement of neighbouring EU countries) have been organized with UNHCR, Government counterparts and NGO partners in order to develop cross-border cooperation, as well as enhance exchange of experience and good practices; - Regional study visits to EU member States have been organized in order to learn from their experience. At the national level Belarus: UNHCR maintains regular contacts and Similar to the Moldovan experience, Belarus will consultations with Government and NGO work on setting up an inter-agency / ministerial counterparts. IOM is a key partner of EU-funded expert working group on migration and asylum in 2 project on protection monitoring responsible for order to identify priorities and design actions in operation of AVR programme. The partners in order to address them. general have demonstrated a good level of cooperation and readiness to further work together towards building up solid grounds for the long-term and sustainable partnership. Moldova: In September 2009, UNHCR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Border Guard Service (BGS) of the Republic of Moldova, the Bureau for Migration and Asylum (BMA) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova and the Law Center of Advocates NGO. Under the memorandum of understanding, joint protection monitoring will be carried out regularly including in border areas so as to ensure asylum seekers have access to the country and to asylum procedures; UNHCR organized regular meetings with its key governmental and non-governmental partners to discuss the implementation of the Regional Protection Support Project and the Local Integration Project at the national level; In Moldova, there is an NGO network supported by the Dutch Council for Refugees (MATRA funding). 3 Ukraine: Ukraine: The National Steering Committees (NSC) for The NSC includes representatives of partner implementation of Regional Protection Support agencies mostly at the national level, and Project and Local Integration Project continue to communication and implementation of agreed Ukraine: be core coordination mechanisms amongst the main initiatives and activities to the regional/field level, stakeholders of refugee protection such as asylum and particularly, by asylum and border UNHCR will continue planning and and border authorities; law enforcement, NGOs, authorities, as well as NGOs will need further implementation of protection activities through IOM, DRC, and ECRE and other international attention and developing NSC with particular focus on specific aspects organizations, as well as refugees and asylum (related to the 10 PP) highlighted by partner seekers. Their terms of references have been agencies. Such Committees are convened by developed and agreed. UNHCR twice a year to discuss/analyze The cooperation amongst asylum and border implemented activities and agree on the work-plan At the local level, biannual Inter-Agency authorities, as well as NGOs in the region needs for the next consecutive period. Meetings (IAM) involving Government and NGO further enhancing. In particular, transfer of counterparts are held in Western Ukraine in order asylum application from border services to the UNHCR and partners will replicate the practice of to address specific issues related to refugee competent migration authority without delay, as IAM in other regions of Ukraine in 2010. protection. well as transfer of asylum claims amongst NGO partners in providing legal assistance needs to be UNHCR will promote inclusion of the URC in UNHCR continued cooperating with a network of developed. dialogue with the Government and support the NGO implementing and operational partners who URC to identify funding. provide legal and social assistance to persons of Due to the size of the country, the number of concern. Continued on-job training was provided member NGOs and the lack of own funding, the To continue support to NGOs in developing their throughout 2009. In Ukraine, a Ukrainian Refugee URC has not yet the desired impact and capacity capacities, inter alia through training and Council (URC) was created in 2008, allowing the to carry out actions. facilitation of cross-border cooperation among NGOs to better co-ordinate and cooperate amongst The URC has limited funding and relies on part- NGOs; them. time coordinators who already have full time jobs with NGOs. Advocate for speedy, smooth and efficient UNHCR maintains regular contact and In general, one of the major challenges for NGOs resolution of the question regarding the government consultations with Government counterparts. is the lack of alternative funding and/or the asylum authority. 4 limited experience in applying for alternative In 2008 and 2009 regular Civil Council meetings funding were organised by the SCNR with participation of Cross-border regional meetings with involvement NGOs and UNHCR in order to discuss refugee and The restructuring of the asylum authorities in of border and asylum authorities, NGOs, UNHCR, asylum-related issues. August 2009 and the unachieved shift of the IOM and cooperating international organizations asylum competencies from one authority to are planned in the western and eastern borders in another hampers the effectiveness of the asylum Ukraine with neighbouring EU countries and system in Ukraine. Since August 2009 no asylum Russia respectively. decisions have been taken. As of end of February 2010, there have been some 600 asylum applications pending for decision by the central migration authority. 2. Data collection and analysis At the regional level: At the regional level: UNHCR, in cooperation with IOM, has continued The Governments of Belarus, Moldova and UNHCR will continue to provide the Governments to support the Soderkoping Process for data Ukraine do not yet have fully harmonized data with support and technical advice for the research, collection and analysis; collection and analysis systems in each country harmonized collection of data and its analysis; that would permit to manage information on individual cases and to analyse general trends on All stakeholders should be involved in further At the national level: asylum and migration, including information on participatory assessments in order to gain better stateless persons knowledge of the situation of persons of concern Belarus: and the risks they might be exposed to; UNHCR continued to assist (within EU-funded UNHCR, ECRE, IOM will continue to support project) the Government (Ministry of Internal At the national level: NGOs in developing their analytical capacity Affairs – MIA and State Border Service) to through training and enhanced exchange of upgrade currently used computerized refugee experience with NGOs in EU members States. registration system and expand it to the regional level for the MIA, and the level of commandant offices for the SBC. 5 In 2009 UNHCR and its partners conducted Participatory Assessment in Belarus. Two meetings of the Multi-functional Team (MFT) on Age, Gender, Diversity Mainstreaming (AGDM) were conducted with wide participation of all members on preparation to the Participatory Assessment, choosing the themes, drafting a work plan, and discussion of results. UNHCR and NGOs in Belarus organized and conducted meetings with certain categories of refugees (families of three and more children, pensioners, representatives of certain national groups) in order to learn their situations and common problems with the aim to provide them with targeted assistance. A study visit of Belarusian officials to Belgium took place in July 2009. The visit specifically focused on studying the Eurodac system in collecting, processing and exchanging data on various categories of migrants, including asylum- seekers and refugees. The study of good international practices in this area was instrumental in adjusting requirements to the currently operational computer registration system in Belarus, and allowed to formulate more efficient specifications for upgrading the system. Moldova: The Refugee Directorate, with UNHCR support, has improved its reporting methods on asylum- seekers and refugees in Moldova in line with 6 UNHCR reporting formats; In 2009 UNHCR and its partners conducted a Participatory Assessment in Moldova; A mechanism of periodic reporting on the number of detainees, including asylum-seekers, in the Temporary Accommodation Center for Foreigners (MAC), has been established between UNHCR and IOM Moldova; Ukraine: Ukraine: UNHCR continued to support and fund the In Ukraine, a fully functioning multi-functional collection of data and development of statistical team incorporating the government is still to be reports on asylum by the Ukrainian asylum composed and other cities still need to be authority; targeted; Regarding the analysis of information collected In 2009, UNHCR and its NGO partners conducted by NGOs, their capacity to deduce general trends a Participatory Assessment in Odessa; and identify alarming development is not always consistent throughout Ukraine. NGOs collect information on individual cases that serves as a base for analysis of countries of origin, specific groups and categories of migrants, reasons for flight, etc.; A specific monthly reporting tool has been developed jointly by ECRE, IOM and UNHCR in order to collect general information and trends on migrants and asylum-seekers in detention. IOM compiles this information on a monthly basis and 7 shares the reports, containing analyzed trends and specific recommendations after consultation with UNHCR. Point 3. Protection-sensitive entry systems General - Since 2007, UNHCR Belarus is implementing a As of 01 January 2010 the EU-Ukraine UNHCR, together with its partners, will monitor EU-funded project on border monitoring under readmission agreement applies to third country the implementation of the readmission agreement AENEAS; nationals. It is not yet known how many people and react to cases of risked (chain) refoulement. will be concerned by this. Nonetheless, UNHCR - At the Regional level, and since April 2009, and its partners will have to monitor the situation UNHCR is implementing the EU-funded Regional closely in order to identify risks of (chain) Protection Support Project (RPSP) within the refoulement. framework of the Regional Protection Programme; - The IOM GUMIRA project on readmission for Moldova and Ukraine has been designed in consultation with UNHCR and comprises elements of 10 PP in Action such as monitoring of refoulement and identification of asylum-seekers; At the regional level: Adopt and implement a profiling tool for entry In the framework of the RPSP, and jointly with It appears that the information exchange officials; ECRE, a four-day study visit was organised to the mechanism among NGOs (developed in UK and Finland. Government officials and NGOs Uzhgorod in October 2008) is not yet sufficiently All stakeholders involved in training entry officials from Belarus, Moldova, the Russian Federation and well established. Information, especially the should continue to coordinate and ensure that the Ukraine participated in this visit. The visit focused information collected by Ukrainian NGOs is not same messages are being given. 8 on good practices of profiling/screening and systematically shared with counterparts in the referral of asylum seekers at the border, as well relevant bordering country. Within the framework of the RPSP, UNHCR will as Government – NGO cooperation; continue to organize small, targeted training sessions for junior border guard staff (first contact The Soderkoping Process continued to facilitate officials); cross-border cooperation between Governments on migration and asylum issues; UNHCR and its partners will continue providing on the job training during its regular and border A regional cross border seminar on border monitoring missions; monitoring with participants from Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine took place in April 2009; In addition to the leaflets UNHCR and the SBGS will disseminate posters on asylum procedures at A regional cross-border cooperation meeting border and entry points, which will not only took place in Ukraine in October 2009 with provide information for asylum-seekers but also Government and NGO participants from raise awareness of asylum procedures and Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, protection concerns of the border guards; Romania and Ukraine. The meeting included cross-border visits to Hungary and Ukraine and In cooperation with ECRE, UNHCR will continue exchange of good practices with regard to profiling to encourage and facilitate cross-border information and referral at the border, including in detention; exchange among NGOs; Both under the RPSP and under the monitoring UNHCR will organize joint cross border project that is implemented by ECRE, border monitoring missions to facilitate information and monitoring staff have been recruited in the partner experience exchange; NGOs in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine; UNHCR will organize two cross-border meetings A cross-border monitoring mechanism of with NGO and Government counterparts (at the readmissions has been established among NGOs Eastern and at the Western border) in 2010; from Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine. This mechanism includes an information sharing protocol and a readmission interview form that allows the NGOs 9 to follow-up on individual cases of alleged refoulement on both sides of the border At the national level: Belarus: In 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between UNHCR, IOM, Government counterparts and NGOs in order to establish border monitoring and referral mechanisms. Those also set up a basis for regular dialogue and information exchange; In February 2009, a working group meeting under the “Strengthening Protection Capacity in the Republic of Belarus – phase I” and “Strengthening Protection Capacity in the Republic of Belarus – phase II” projects was carried out. The participants agreed on strategy of actions for 2009. In April 2009, an evaluation meeting on cross- border cooperation and exchange of information within the project of “Strengthening the Protection Capacity in Belarus - phase I” was carried out. This was a final event of the first phase of the said project. Afterwards, presentation of the second phase of the project was conducted. The project, its work-plan were presented and the first meeting of Advisory Board was carried out. An awareness building field seminar and 10 protection monitoring visit were carried out to the Centre of Detention of the Minsk City Executive Committee Chief Department of Interior. The aim of the visit was to see whether persons in need of international protection have access to the asylum information, procedures, as well as increase knowledge of police officers in the work with mixed groups of migrants and establish better contacts between UNHCR, IOM and NGOs; The first familiarization visit to the detention facility of MIA Belarus by UNHCR took place in November 2009 within framework of study meeting for the personnel of MIA migration authorities and detention facilities. Next familiarization visit to MIA detention facility is planned in the first quarter of 2010; NGOs in Belarus on a daily basis obtains information about detentions of irregular migrants from SBC Belarus (In 2009, UNHCR, IOM and NGO staff carried out 41 border monitoring visits and assisted some 131 persons). The Belarusian Red Cross (BRC) Social monitors continue missions and meetings with representatives of the SBC at the border and closed detention facilities providing to detained irregular migrants, including asylum seekers, humanitarian, food and psychological assistance; In 2009, Belarusian Movement of Medical Workers that runs a Refugee Counselling Service (RCS) 11 project published a booklet on activities of RCS and Belarusian Red Cross. The booklet is aimed at informing detained irregular migrants about legal counseling and assistance provided by RCS, as well as the aid provided by Belarusian Red Cross; A new questionnaire form was adopted in Belarus for interviewing with detained irregular migrants at the border. In September 2009, a border monitoring visit was arranged to the city of Brest in Belarus where a big group of asylum-seekers and migrants from Georgia crowded trying to cross Belarus-Poland border. Due to combined efforts of UNHCR offices in Belarus and Poland, the situation at the border remained under the control and majority of asylum- seekers, were able to cross the border into Poland; In 2009 special IDs were issued to members of border monitoring team in Belarus that consist of UNHCR and NGOs. The IDs bear signatures of the Chairman of State Border Committee and the head of corresponding organization that employ a member for the border monitoring team. Moldova: In 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between UNHCR, IOM, Government counterparts and NGOs in order to establish border 12 monitoring and referral mechanisms. Those also set up a basis for regular dialogue and information exchange; Refugee law course curricula were developed for the National Border Guard College and “Stefan cel Mare” Police Academy of Moldova. In September 2009 the refugee law course started at the Border Guard College and a similar course at the MoI Police Academy is due to begin in February 2010; 14 introductory trainings on access to the national asylum procedure in case of asylum- seekers applying at the state border were conducted by the UNHCR-led Protection Monitoring Team for Moldovan border guards at 22 border crossing points, border guard regional detachments and border guard posts in the northern western and south-eastern parts of the country; The UNHCR-led Protection Monitoring Team (Govt – UNHCR – NGO) was set up and has so far conducted 14 field missions to the border guard regional detachments and border guard posts in the northern western and south-eastern parts of the country; UNHCR Moldova organized a study visit to Romania for its national implementing and operational partners, inter alia, with a view to familiarizing with the protection monitoring mechanisms in Romania; 13 A mechanism of referral of asylum-seekers who apply for protection at the state border has been established in Moldova. UNHCR Moldova contributed to the elaboration of the internal Border Guard Service instructions governing transfer of asylum-seekers from the state border to the central refugee authority; A practical guide in the area of asylum for Moldovan border officials and information leaflets on the asylum procedure in Moldova for asylum- seekers applying at the border were elaborated by UNHCR and printed; Ukraine: Ukraine: UNHCR is invited on an annual basis to the State Regardless the numerous trainings that have been In Ukraine, stakeholders should establish a general Border Service academy in Ukraine to conduct conducted, it appears that entry officials, framework for NGO-government cooperation in the lectures on refugee protection; especially so called „first contact entry officials, field of information-sharing and protection i.e. staff responsible for passport control, is not monitoring; Training and discussions with border guards are fully aware of protection risks and indicators also provided during all border monitoring thereof. Asylum claims that are not directly Replicate IAM in other oblasts in Ukraine to missions, over 20 of which were conducted by expressed or in a language that entry officials do address specific local issues; UNHCR staff in 2009 not understand, including in some instances English, are not always recognized as being UNHCR staff participated in 5 trainings organised applications for refugee status and exposes by ICMPD on use of COI and interview techniques asylum-seekers to a risk of refoulement. In for screening at the border; Ukraine, UNHCR is aware of 15 cases instances of refoulement or non-access to the territory in In Ukraine, the regular monitoring missions 2009. In addition, UNHCR has conducted several carried out by UNHCR staff, always include joint protection interventions to avoid refoulement. 14 meetings with NGOs and entry officials in order to Thus, the need for training, especially for junior assess the situation, identify problems and discuss staff, remains. possible solutions; NGO access to border and detention facilities in The central asylum authority and UNHCR have Ukraine remains insufficient. The situation varies established an inter-agency meeting in Western from one region to another and if in certain Ukraine to address issues of border monitoring and regions the access and information exchange access to protection. Those meetings take place between NGOs and border guards is regular and twice a year and involve the asylum authorities, law well established, this is not the case in all regions. enforcement officials, border guards, NGOs, IOM, In some regions NGOs are denied access to ECRE, DRC and UNHCR; border and detention facilities, and thus to potential persons of concern, and border guards Leaflets on asylum procedures in six languages do not share information with NGOs. were developed and re-edited in 2009. While they are aimed at asylum-seekers, the leaflets also The experience of the Inter-Agency Meeting in provide a useful reference on asylum procedures Western Ukraine shows that such a for the border guards; comprehensive, multi-actor and consulted approach is very effective and such forums could UNHCR implementing partner NGOs conduct be established in other targeted locations as well. legal assessment interviews with asylum-seekers, including those who are apprehended at entry The profiling work done by NGOs can be points in order to identify protection concerns effective only where they have access to border and special needs. In such instances, they facilities and persons of concern in detention. The subsequently inform the local border officials and amount of information for migrants and asylum- work together with them to ensure an appropriate seekers, including persons at risk and with referral of the individual; specific needs, at border venues is not fully satisfactory. This information would serve the In the framework of the RPSP, a working group double purpose of helping arriving persons to has been set up in order to develop a profiling tool identify their needs and the procedures to follow to be used by entry officials and law enforcement and also to provide border officials with agencies in order to identify protection concerns information on protection concerns and specific and specific needs. This working group involves needs. 15 the State Committee for Nationalities and Religion It is also hoped that the profiling questionnaire (SCNR), the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine will be finalized in near future, as this tool is seen (SBGS), the Ministry of Interior (MOI), the State as an important assistance in the identification of Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), IOM, ECRE, protection concerns. ICMPD, the URC and UNHCR. A first draft of a The challenge will be to ensure harmonized profiling questionnaire has been developed and understanding and use of this tool comprises a set of indicators of different risk groups and suggests referral and follow-up actions. The work is being continued. It is planned to provide training for the target agencies‟ junior staff on how this form is to be used. A suggestion was made by border guards to use it as a guiding brochure; In cooperation with the SBGS and the Administration of Kyiv Boryspil Airport a light box and information stands on asylum procedures in Ukraine have been set up in the airport arrival zone; Point 4. Reception Arrangements At the regional level: Through the Soderkoping process, UNHCR and the UNHCR will continue dialogue with the Governments of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Government and external stakeholders to advocate have cooperated with ENARO, receiving support for the upgrading of the reception facilities and from the latter through trainings for staff working conditions. in Temporary Accommodation Centers (TAC). Thus, a first training for participants from Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine took place in Odessa in March 2008. A second training, carried out in 16 Belarus, Moldova and in the two TACs in Ukraine (Odessa and Mukachevo), took place in February 2009. The majority of the asylum-seekers and refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine are accommodated in the private sector in conditions that are often sub-standard. In the absence of government assistance, UNHCR is providing a Monthly Subsistence Allowance to the most vulnerable. At the national level: Belarus: Meetings were conducted with relevant stakeholders in Belarus such as Minsk city executive authorities; administration of Frunze district and management of selected enterprises in Minsk, to search for premises that after renovation could be used for accommodation of recognized refugees. As the result of performed activities 4 suitable flats were identified in Minsk. Currently, the work is ongoing on technical specifications and confirmation of legal status of apartments. Consultations with the city authorities and feasibility assessment are underway for establishing an emergency temporary accommodation for asylum-seekers in Minsk; In Belarus, funds were provided to existing TACs in Vitebsk, Gomel and the Reception Facility in the airport for refurbishing of the accommodation 17 centre and improvement of interviewing/counseling conditions. A training on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) for Government and communities was conducted in 2008. SGBV issues are streamlined during all discussions with Government on migration-related issues. Moldova: Renovation works of the unfinished block of the accommodation center for asylum-seekers in Chisinau for unaccompanied minors and single women started in November 2009; Ukraine: Ukraine: In 2009, a new reception facility for asylum- The existence of an additional Temporary In Ukraine, continue advocacy for instructions on seekers and refugees was opened in Western Accommodation Centre (TAC) is seen as an the reception of unaccompanied and separated Ukraine in the framework of the EU-funded improvement, but is still not sufficient to cover children. project, implemented by the Danish Refugee the needs of all refugees and asylum-seekers in Council, on refugee and asylum-seeking children.Ukraine. Especially persons living in the central This additional accommodation centre brings the (Kyiv, Vinnitsa) or Eastern (Kharkiv, Donetsk, Lugansk) parts of Ukraine face difficulties. In total number of reception facilities to three (one in Odessa and two in Western Ukraine), with a totalgeneral, only the most vulnerable persons, such as capacity of over 300; separated children or single-headed families can be accommodated in one of the TACs. In So far, UNHCR conducted two workshops on addition, the conditions in the TACs are such that SGBV for NGOs and local authorities in Kyiv additional humanitarian assistance has to be (October 2007) and Western Ukraine (June 2009). provided by UNHCR and DRC, through their 18 Through these workshops UNHCR provided implementing partners training on identification of SGBV cases. In addition, referral procedures were developed for each region, including designated focal points in different NGOs and Government agencies. Regarding individual cases, UNHCR has dealt with seven SGBV cases in coordination with NGOs and authorities (for example in order to achieve accommodation in one of the TACs where the concerned person is protected from further risks). Point 5. Mechanisms for identification (profiling) and referral At the regional level: During the regional cross-border cooperation meeting in October 2009, UNHCR conducted a workshop on good practices with regard to profiling and referral. The collection of good practices and recommendations from Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Ukraine are compiled in the report of the meeting (attached). It is planned to keep exchanging good practices in this regard with neighboring countries; In November 2009, UNHCR, jointly with ECRE, organized a study visit, which inter alia focused on profiling and referral mechanisms at borders; NGO partners in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine 19 provide information and legal counselling to asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants. Through the registration form, the lawyers establish a preliminary profile of the person and identify risks at the earliest possible stage. Persons who do not wish to apply for asylum and who express the wish to return to their country of origin are referred to IOM for the AVR programme. At the national level: Belarus: A study visit to Germany was carried out for Belarusian officials in September 2009 to study specifically various aspects of interviewing (including on state of the applicant‟s psychological and physical health, gender considerations, interviews with victims of violence, etc.); The study visit was followed by a training/seminar in October 2009 in Minsk with participation of international experts where other eligibility officers from migration services attended sessions on interviewing of asylum- seekers; The asylum authorities in Belarus have prepared briefing materials for asylum-seekers, refugees and persons with complementary protection status with information on their rights and duties, 20 especially pertaining to RSD procedure and rules of stay during the procedure. Currently the information is being translated into different languages; In 2009 RCS (Belarus) prepared a list of interpreters for rare languages who can be available for interpretation during interviews with detained migrants and asylum-seekers. The interpreters from all the regions in Belarus were included in the list. UNHCR Moldova will continue trainings and information sessions on identification and referral of asylum-seekers from the state border or Moldova: detention to the central refugee authority; A mechanism of referral of asylum-seekers who UNHCR Moldova will transfer the remaining EU- apply for protection at the state border has been funded vehicles to its operational partners for established in Moldova. UNHCR Moldova protection monitoring missions; contributed to the elaboration of the internal Border Guard Service instructions governing transfer of asylum-seekers from the state border to the central refugee authority; A practical guide on asylum legislation and referral of asylum-seekers from the state border to the central refugee authority has been elaborated by UNHCR Moldova. Information leaflets on the asylum procedure in Moldova, including for those applying at the border, were elaborated by UNHCR Moldova and printed; UNHCR Moldova has organized a number of In 2010, UNHCR, together with IOM, will train 21 training sessions for border guards, MAC staff NGO partners on identification of victims of and the NGO “Institute for Penal Reform”, which As mentioned above (see Point 3. Protection- trafficking. It is also planned to disseminate (or provides legal and social assistance at the MAC, on sensitive entry systems), the profiling conducted distribute – dispose means to put in the rubbish) the identification and referral of asylum-seekers to by border guards and law enforcement official self-identification posters for victims of trafficking the central refugee authority; remains inconsistent Sometimes, risks and at THFs and TACs. specific protection concerns are not identified or Ukraine: are only identified at a later stage. As mentioned above, UNHCR will conduct training session for first contact entry officials with a focus Information leaflets “Refugee status in Even though NGOs have been trained and have a on risk indicators and recommendations on follow- Ukraine” are disposed at border points and in certain amount of expertise, the quality of the up activities and referral. detention facilities. Those leaflets, available in all profiling and referral needs to be further main refugee languages inform on refugee status, strengthened and harmonized. UNHCR will conduct several resettlement trainings asylum procedures and rights and obligations; In in the regions with a focus on resettlement needs addition, A4 and A3 posters in five languages, The situation is also affected by the fact that and early identification and referral to UNHCR of containing short information on the right to seek NGOs do not always have access to persons of persons with specific needs. asylum and NGO partners‟ phone numbers, will be concerns and might in some cases not be aware printed under the Regional Protection Project for that a person with protection concerns and/or UNHCR will further focus on establishing and dissemination at entry points, transit points and in specific needs is in detention. strengthening referral mechanisms, both for NGOs detention facilities and serve as tools for self- and Government counterparts, for different identification; categories of migrants, refugees and asylum- seekers. As mentioned above, a working group has been established to develop a common profiling tool. Together with IOM and ECRE, UNHCR will The objective is not only to develop a checklist / provide training on the use of the profiling questionnaire for early identification of certain questionnaire, highlighting the importance of the groups at risk, including people in need of different risk indicators and the referral international protection and victims of trafficking, mechanisms. but also to recommend actions for referral and follow-up; UNHCR, together with its social and legal NGO partners, has developed referral mechanisms and 22 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV); UNHCR participated in trainings organised by ICMPD on screening at the border and the importance of COI therein. Point 6. Differentiated processes and procedures UNHCR will continue to support the further At the regional level: development of comprehensive approaches with regard to refugee protection in the context of mixed In the framework of the Soderkoping Process a migration in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine workshop on the European Asylum Curriculum through advice, training and monitoring of the took place in October 2009 with participants from situation; Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. The objective of this workshop was to discuss the possible UNHCR offices in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine transposition of the EAC for use in Belarus, will continue advocating for the countries‟ Moldova and Ukraine. It was decided that a accession to the UN statelessness conventions; feasibility study in this regard will be conducted in the framework of the Soderkoping Process UNHCR is working to establish a network for Russian translation. Refworld will also eventually be made available in Russian. At the national level: Belarus: In 2009, Refugee Counselling Service continued regular monitoring of recent COI documents and 23 prepared monthly updates in Russian language of new sources of COI with short annotation and internet links. These updates have been distributed to the Department for Citizenship and Migration (DCM) and UNHCR offices. They are available online at UNHCR web-site. The RCS assists in search and translation (if necessary) of requested materials for migration services and DCM. An international competition on refugee law “New Horizon” was organized in cooperation with the Academy of the MIA Belarus in June 2009 in Minsk. It familiarized some 500 police cadets with refugee law and practices of work with refugees. The event gathered 5 teams (20 participants) from Belarus, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan from the educational institutions of ministries of internal affairs. In 2009, UNHCR Belarus in cooperation with BMMW held two awareness building seminars for local executive authorities and self- governance bodies. The events gathered approximately 100 senior decision and policy makers, NGOs and international organizations. The participants were given sessions on refugee protection and migration, as well as on the work of organisations dealing with protection and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in Belarus. The seminars took place in Gomel and Grodno as continuation of training sessions previously carried out in Brest and Minsk within the Phase I of the 24 project. In 2009, a new study on compatibility of national legislation of Belarus with 1997 European Convention on Nationality was carried out with a view to discuss in 2010 possibilities of accession. As studies contain positive recommendations for accession to statelessness conventions, the DCM of MIA supported the idea to host a regional conference on statelessness scheduled in 2010. Before the conference, a smaller seminar on statelessness will be carried out for Belarusian authorities to discuss the outcomes of the studies and position of Belarus to the conference. Moldova: UNHCR conducted regular trainings and case conferences with the Refugee Directorate staff aimed at improving the quality of government RSD procedure and asylum; The Moldovan asylum legislation provides for complementary forms of protection since 2006. Ukraine: UNHCR has continued to highlight the importance Ukrainian law does not provide for any forms of UNHCR will continue to advocate for of the principle of non-refoulement with complementary protection. Thus, people in need complementary forms of protection Government counterparts. In some individual cases, of international protection who do not fall under 25 direct protection interventions by UNHCR and its the Refugee Convention do not receive the NGO partners have prevented refoulement of necessary protection. persons in need of international protection. Currently, there are no alternatives to detention. In the framework of the IOM GUMIRA project, Asylum-seekers who apply for asylum from UNHCR was invited to several meetings, detention after a court order on detention for discussions and trainings around the issue of purposes of expulsion cannot be released from detention of migrants. At each occasion, UNHCR detention before the six-months detention period has highlighted its position on detention of asylum- has elapsed. seekers and advocated for alternatives to detention. UNHCR partner NGOs are following up In general, the awareness of protection concerns on cases of detained asylum-seekers and launching and the assessment capacity of asylum authorities court appeals against the detention decisions based and other agencies that are involved in the asylum on irregular stay in Ukraine. process, such as courts or the office of the prosecutor, need to be further strengthened. The In order to support the improvement of fair and use of Country of Origin Information remains efficient asylum procedures, UNHCR has provided insufficient, due also to a lack of available COI in and facilitated training on Country of Origin Russian or Ukrainian language. The quality of Information (COI) and Refugee Status RSD decisions is not always satisfactory. Determination (RSD) with Regional Migration Services and central authorities. In autumn 2009, the General Prosecutor‟s office has reviewed positive asylum decisions that had The SCNR established a Country of Origin been taken by the central asylum authority and Information Unit, which was funded subsequently 15 decisions, that had already consecutively by the Danish Refugee Council and entered into force have been cancelled on the under the GDISC/ERIT EU-funded project. This grounds that the refugee criteria had not been unit provides COI in Russian or Ukrainian to RMS initially met or not sufficiently been documented. upon their request. It appears in this situation that these decisions of cancellation contradict several international and UNHCR has continued to advocate for national general principles and rules set out in the complementary forms of protection and for 1951 Refugee Convention. This is seen as a accession to the Conventions on Statelessness. worrying development and UNHCR has reacted 26 to this with several letters and has developed a In order to raise awareness of the Statelessness strategy to deal with the individual cases who issue in the sub-region, a photo mission to 4 regions were concerned by the decision and to avoid such hosting the majority of stateless persons (incl. decisions in future. Crimean Tatars, ethnic Koreans and persons with expired Soviet passports) was carried out in As mentioned above, the unachieved shifting of summer 2009. The photos have been exhibited the asylum component from one State authority to during the UNHCR Excom in Geneva. another leads to a situation where currently no final RSD decisions are issued which leaves some asylum-seekers undocumented and at increased risk of being apprehended, detained and deported. 7. Solutions for refugees At the regional level: Following the Local Integration Study on Belarus, The chances for local integration remain UNHCR will continue to advocate for Moldova and Ukraine, the three governments relatively poor. Government funding is comprehensive national integration policies and the worked with UNHCR to develop a local constrained by budget shortcomings in Belarus, allocation of State resources therefore in Belarus, integration project, whose Phase I is currently Moldova and Ukraine. Governmental assistance Moldova and Ukraine. funded by the EU. The project was launched in for housing, language and employment April 2009 and aims to support Government In the framework of the LIP, UNHCR will address opportunities is thus not sufficient to cover all the structures in assisting refugees to locally integrate individual needs in the integration process and needs of refugees, or not existent at all The LIP is in the three countries. In the framework of the aiming at improving the situation in this regard; work on the development of efficient integration project, UNHCR and its implementing partners mechanisms and opportunities with involvement of support the local integration of refugees through Development and implementation of a government actors. language courses and professional development programme to attain local integration for refugees opportunities; in a context where government do not have a comprehensive integration programme, and Due to the delayed involvement of Governments in To ensure efficient implementation of the project, a where the refugee community is fragmented and local integration activities, an extension of the local regional programme training was conducted in unable to develop community-support structures, integration project until the end of 2011, as well as Moldova in July 2009. The training targeted project is a difficult venture. A sustainable integration a commencement of Phase II, is recommended. staff of the governments, implementing partners programme cannot rely only upon external 27 and UNHCR in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine; funding. Hence, to achieve sustainability of integration projects the existing administrative and socio-economic structure of the country needs to absorb the spirit and the structures of the project into its own fabric. The international economic crisis has affected the economic systems of Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, and the space for economic integration of refugees has significantly shrunk. UNHCR has applied for a second phase of the project under the new thematic call. It appears crucial that the support to development of national integration policies and mechanisms continues in order to achieve sustainable results. The support to individuals with regard to language and employment are also considered to be necessary in future; Training on early identification of resettlement EU Member States should consider introducing or needs was conducted with NGO partners from expanding their existing resettlement quota for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine in April 2009 and at Resettlement process has been considerable refugees in the three countries. a workshop in November 2009. affected by the rotation and/or absence of UNHCR will plan regular resettlement missions to Refugee Status Determination experts; the regions in order to identify urgent resettlement needs and provide on-the-job training to NGO partners. UNHCR will open a staff position for a Refugee Status Determination expert (Associate Resettlement Officer) and a Resettlement Assistant 28 in order to increase the capacity of Resettlement At the national level: Unit. Belarus: The number of naturalized refugees in Belarus In Belarus, the LIP was registered later in As proposed by the first National Steering increased by 32 and thus, bringing the total October 2010 and has delayed the Committee, the project implementation period number of refugees who received the Belarusian commencement of the Local Integration of should be extended until the end of 2011 to ensure citizenship to 108 persons; Refugees Project. that all planned activities are implemented. The LI project opened a new area for the structured The increased cost of living had a negative work on integration of refugees in Belarus. The impact not only on the cost of project activities local integration has been further promoted as a but on all spheres of refugee well-being, having durable solution in Belarus and resulted in an an adverse affect on their capacity to integrate. increased multi-stakeholder dialogue on this issue. The involvement of the MIA, established cooperation with executive authorities including in the regions, increased awareness of line Ministries have been achieved and have a special value for implementation of the project; Government authorities are interested in the implementation of the project and committed to support to the project at the national and regional/local levels. Partially due to the state approval mechanism, local integration has been further promoted as a durable solution for recognized refugees in Belarus and resulted in an increased multi-stakeholder dialogue. 29 2 persons (2 cases) had voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan (UNHCR VolRep) from Belarus; 4 cases (17 persons) submitted for resettlement; 3 cases (13 persons) persons departed for Canada; 4 cases (15 persons) pending for decision by the resettlement country; The work was carried out for distribution of integration grant collecting information on refugees in rural areas, as well as contacts were established with state employment agencies and information was obtained about vacancies and available living accommodations in Belarus. This information was published in the magazine “Sadai Afghan” to the refugee communities; In Belarus, the committee of refugee parents has been operational and took part in the decision making process and organizing community activities, in particular, events/festivals on national cultures, Navruz, Women‟s International Day; excursions around Belarus. All these activities mostly included refugee women who were encouraged to take active roles and participation. Monthly refugee newsletters were issued and distributed among communities by refugee volunteers. This was supported by the CCA “Evrika” in Belarus. 30 Moldova: Governmental and NGO partners actively engaged Many potential employers in Chisinau, especially UNHCR and partners will increase information for in the implementation of the Local Integration in the manufacturing sector, coped with the harsh the refugee population on the new activities as impact of the international economic crisis offered under the Local Integration Project. Project and thus local integration as the durable solution. Tangible developments in language reducing number of employees. At the same time very many Moldovan migrant workers are training, vocational training, job counseling, and socio-cultural events should be marked. returning after having lost their jobs in other European countries. Vacancies are now few and priority is given to Moldovan citizens. Refugees, A durable solutions assessment in case of most who are already less competitive on the market vulnerable refugees and beneficiaries of (due to their skills profile, education background humanitarian protection was conducted by UNHCR or language barriers), find it more and more Moldova. difficult to get employment. Community development services in Moldova were focused on facilitation of integration of vulnerable categories into society and supporting their community building and self-sufficiency through organizing cultural orientation and extra- curricular activities in co-operation with other NGOs, Government and international organizations was provided; Free Romanian language course is provided to refugees and beneficiaries of humanitarian protection in Moldova by Free International University of Moldova; Under the Local Integration Project, specialized medical assistance in the form of psychotherapeutic and psychological assistance to 31 asylum seekers, refugees and beneficiaries of humanitarian status, was included in the general health care; The Istanbul Protocol - manual on the effective investigation and documentation of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment containing internationally recognized standards and procedures on how to recognize and document symptoms of torture for doctors and lawyers in Moldova - was edited and printed (4000 copies); Employment programme (including assessment of skills, identification of relevant vacancies, vocational training, job placement etc.) established in partnership with UNDP Moldova to assist refugees and beneficiaries with humanitarian protection; UNHCR Moldova organized a study visit to Romania for its national implementing and operational partners, in order to make an exchange of good practices in the area of local integration. Particular attention was paid to housing, employment and legal issues, as main components of the integration procedure; Ukraine: 32 Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the In Ukraine, the implementation of the LIP has UNHCR and partners will introduce opportunities Resolution No. 853-r, according to which the been considerably affected and delayed by the for employment or self-employment through the government Refugee Integration Plan is already mentioned restructuring of the asylum provision of support to refugee employment and adopted. While the Refugee Integration Plan authorities in Ukraine. The government is not yet opening of self-reliance grants. reflects in many instances the Local Integration willing to take the responsibility of the project UNHCR, with the support of other UN agencies, Project, no funding is envisaged for the and thus ensure the ownership of the local will foster the involvement of employers‟ implementation of the activities. integration activities. Some actions are being associations to promote employment opportunities done in parallel without consulting with UNHCR. for refugees. Partners of the project have established working Without the overall support from the government contact with government. side, it is very difficult to push forward the activities aimed at local integration of refugees. There is growing number of refugees opting for the activities that should lead to local integration The situation in the official employment system is (i.e. language training, vocational training, diploma such that governmental services are able to recognition) channel only the information on the low-paid vacancies that do not meet refugee needs In 2009 UNHCR has put specific efforts into increase the number of refugees resettled to safe third countries and the number of submissions and departures increased by 100% in the region. Briefings were conducted with Embassies of EU Member States in order to raise awareness of those about the poor chances of local integration for some categories of refugees and their resettlement needs. 8. Addressing secondary movement UNHCR and its NGO partners have continued to Secondary movement remains a reality in the sub- UNHCR will continue to advocate and provide provide counseling to asylum-seekers on region due in part to the protection situation, support to the development of fair and efficient 33 potential adverse consequences of secondary reception conditions and difficulties faced in asylum systems and reception conditions in movement; securing durable solutions in Belarus, Moldova Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine that would ensure and Ukraine.. safety and protection to asylum seekers and UNHCR has elaborated Standard Operating Some asylum-seekers repeatedly attempt to cross refugees. Procedures on Legal Assistance according to the border into the EU, which has a negative which asylum-seekers are informed at the earliest impact on the acceptance and assessment of their In the meantime, UNHCR and its partners will stage of the registration that will not receive legal asylum claim, the applications being rejected as continue to provide counseling on the possible assistance from UNHCR and its partners in case manifestly not credible or unfounded. negative consequences of secondary movement. they repeatedly cross or attempt to cross the border irregularly; All stakeholders should obtain information about the existence of family members of asylum seekers UNHCR has continued to advocate with living in EU Member States and should prioritise Government authorities on the fact that the simple support for family reunification in these cases. intention of secondary movement or even the attempt to cross the border should not be seen as grounds to consider the asylum application as manifestly unfounded or abusive. 9. Return arrangements and alternative migration options for non-refugees UNHCR, NGO partners and government Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine still lack UNHCR will continue close cooperation with IOM counterparts continued to coordinate with IOM on comprehensive migration policies that would on screening of migrants. This also implies further the referral of non-refugees for Assisted Voluntary provide for strategies on protection, regular and work on the joint profiling tool (see above) that Return (AVR) and counseling on return; irregular migration. would assist border and law enforcement officials, as well as NGOs, in profiling and referral of UNHCR implementing partners conduct a legal Governments do not have budgets for assisted different categories of migrants and harmonise the assessment at the earliest possible stage in order to voluntary return. overall coordination of processes. identify those persons whose claim appears to be related to the 1951 refugee convention. In case of a The EU-funded GUMIRA project implemented UNHCR and its partners will continue to advocate negative decision, persons are counseled on the by IOM has only limited funding for assisted for and support the development of comprehensive available options, including return, and referred to voluntary return. migration policies that provide for strategies also 34 IOM. with regard to return arrangements of non-refugees (and safeguards therein). 10. Information strategy in countries of origin, - Continue raising awareness through the transit and arrival1 website and make better use of new media (social platforms, twitter, blogging etc). At the regional level: - Continue vigorous monitoring of public attitudes and media coverage in the region. UNHCR takes active part in various discussions, - Engage more with opinion-leaders and including on broader migration issues to make sure sources of information (like press services that asylum and refugee issues are taken into of the government) consideration and adequately reflected. - Continue advocacy and maximize impact through partnership and cooperation with UNHCR is engaged in a dialogue with a range of AI, OSCE/ODIHR, CoE, EU etc partners, including the governments, international community, civil society, media and refugee communities and monitors public attitudes and UNHCR will continue to raise awareness about media reporting. refugees among Government, NGOs and media through targeted trainings and workshops and UNHCR Regional website maintained in 4 through UNHCR public channels. languages (English, Russian, Ukrainian and The Diversity Initiative should continue to monitor Romanian) provides regular and up to date the situation and media reports in order to identify information concerning UNHCR activities, policies xenophobia and hate speech and to react to it in an and implementation of 10pp plan. The increasing appropriate manner. number of visitors proves that the website is seen as - UNHCR strongly advises the government of a useful and reliable source of information in the Ukraine to take use of various resources offered by region and beyond. OSCE/ODIHR, in particular a training programme for law-enforcement officers and analysis/review of At the national level: national legislation in order to bring it in line with international standards.? Belarus: 1 Please also refer to Information Strategies mentioned under other points, such as Point 3 and Point 5. 35 Not all segments of the population have a positive In Belarus, IPA “Evolutio” continued preparation attitude towards foreigners or minority groups, and edition of the academic Journal on however UNHCR office in Minsk feels that International Law and International Relations. except for sporadic and isolated incidents, there is In 2009 four issues of the journal were published, no widespread or pattern of racially motivated 17 articles were devoted to asylum and refugee crimes. issues. The journal is available in hard copy and published in the Internet; A compilation of legislation on asylum, migration and citizenship titled as “Forced Migration in the Republic of Belarus” was prepared jointly by the IPA “Evolutio” and the MIA. 1000 copies of this edition were published in January 2010 and being disseminated among professional groups involved in refugee and migration work; In December 2009, the research on “Protection of Refugees and Strengthening of Tolerance in the Multicultural Society” was compiled by 49 students and postgraduates from 19 higher educational institutions in Belarus in cooperation with UNHCR and IPA “Evolutio”. Five winners were awarded with diplomas and scholarships; IPA “Evolutio” operated a web site in Russian language on refugee issues that contains information on current project activities for refugees in Belarus, legal documents and related documents. For the period of January-December 2009, the web site was visited by some 250 000 users. It can be accessed through a following link: 36 link: http://en.evolutio.info; - BRC organized a summer camp for its volunteers and refugees where they played an educational role-play “Youth on the Run” with simulation of refugee situation. Ukraine: In Ukraine, UNHCR is part of the Diversity Since 2005 incidents of xenophobia and racism in Initiative in which international organizations and Ukraine have increased. Though 2009 saw some NGOs participate. The objective it is to identify, improvement of the situation due to orchestrated report and combat xenophobia and hate crimes; efforst of civil society and the law-enforcement bodies, following the pressure of the international UNHCR has been monitoring public statements community, little has been done to assist the made by central and local authorities and has victims and put the end to impunity. Government reacted to each xenophobic statement; officials, especially in border regions and politicians were a source of hate speech widely UNHCR has organized two trainings / disseminated by media. The Presidential election roundtables for journalists and press services in campaign and political discourse in Ukraine was order to raise their awareness and increase the full of migrantophobia and hate speech. This objectiveness of their reporting on migration and greatly affected safety and protection of asylum asylum; seekers and refugees. RR Kyiv noticed overall deterioration of the A workshop on xenophobia has been conducted satiation of the civil society (inspections by law- with NGO partners in November 2009. enforcement of NGO offices and staff, intimidation and vandalization of NGO offices in In Ukraine, UNHCR is part of the Diversity border region and Kyiv). Initiative in which international organizations and NGOs participate. The objective it is to identify, report and combat xenophobia and hate crimes; 37 UNHCR has been monitoring public statements Concretely, the problem seems to be linked to made by central and local authorities and has different factors: reacted to each xenophobic statement; - Lack of political will to tackle xenophobia; institutionalized racism; UNHCR has organized two trainings / - Absence of training for law enforcement roundtables for journalists and press services in officials; wide-spread corruption among order to raise their awareness and increase the the police; objectiveness of their reporting on migration and - Lack of information for broader asylum; population on distinction between irregular migrants and refugees; lack of A workshop on xenophobia has been conducted awareness about protection and with NGO partners in November 2009. integration needs; - Demonization and politicization of migrants and refugees. - Insufficient legislation and improper implementation of the legislation; - Lack of reliable statistics on hate crimes; vast underreporting of the problem. 38
"Implementation status of the Ten Point Plan of Action for Refugee "