Joint EU-UNHCR project “Strengthening
the Protection Capacity in the Republic of
The project is funded by the
Belarus – phase II” UNHCR co-finances and
implements the project
Cross-border exchange and evaluation of the project implementation in 2009
March 3-5, 2010, Warsaw, Poland
The event was a mid-term evaluation of activities performed in 2009 within the framework of joint EU-
UNHCR project “Strengthening the Protection Capacity in the Republic of Belarus – phase II”. It was
divided into two parts: cross-border exchange on Belarusian-Polish Border (international crossing point
“Warshavskiy Most”) and the evaluation meeting itself. The event gathered representatives of state
authorities and NGOs from Belarus, Poland and Ukraine as well as UNHCR and IOM personnel.
On March 3, 2010 Belarusian delegation visited crossing point “Warshavskiy Most – Terespol”.
Belarusian and Polish Border Guards spoke about their respective detachments, explained how the work at
the border is organized and provided basic information about their activities and its scope (including work
with migrants, irregular migrants and asylum-seekers).
Representatives of Polish Border Guard stated that in this area they manage the railway crossing point in
Kukuryki (transportation only), railway crossing point in Terespol (passengers) and road crossing point in
Terespol. In 2009 5293 foreign citizens and stateless persons applied for asylum at the border (Terespol
It was mentioned that this part of the State Border is characterized with impressive migration movement.
Through this small border crossing point Polish Border Guards receive one third of migrants if compared to
total figures in their area of competence.
The evaluation seminar took place in Warsaw on March 4, 2010. It was opened with speeches of
welcome by UNHCR Representative in Belarus Ms. Sholeh Safavi, UNHCR Deputy Regional
Representative for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Mr. Furio De Angelis, Head of International Cooperation
Department of the SBC Mr. Yury Fedorov and Head of Division on Cooperation with International
Organizations of Department of International Cooperation of the MIA Ms. Olga Stankevich.
Ms. Safavi expressed her gratitude to Polish state authorities for accepting invitation and facilitating the
organization of the seminar, to UNHCR Warsaw for logistic support and to the EU and its Member States for
their generous support of the project (both its phases). It was also stated that the project further consolidated
the procedures and practice of border monitoring; a mechanism which is based on partnership and regular
coordination between governmental bodies, international and non-governmental organizations. This
mechanism is well organized and functioning. Moreover, the second phase of the project developed the
border monitoring mechanism into the broader notion of protection monitoring and transported the
experience of cooperation with border guards to the police force.
Mr. De Angelis stated that cooperation and understanding between donors and parties to the project
based on joint efforts is a key point for successful implementation of the project. He added that the second
phase of the project is a vivid example of successful implementation of the first phase of the project. He also
suggested the audience to think over the mechanisms of ensuring the sustainability of project activities in this
sphere. He added that border monitoring and protection monitoring activities are performed not only in
Belarus, but also in Moldova and Ukraine and there are actions which could be of regional scope and,
therefore, provide positive contribution to the general progress in this sphere.
Mr. Fedorov noticed that the SBC considers this project very important for Belarus and the SBC and
views it as a logical continuation of the already implemented first phase. From his words, the action proved
its sustainability and revealed a good level of cooperation.
Ms. Stankevich stated that project’s success is based on involvement of all parties to the project into its
activities and monitoring of performed work. As the main achievement of the project in 2009 she mentioned
a good level of cooperation and understanding between counterparts as well as positive dynamics of
cooperation during the first phase of the project. She added that the project contributed into resolution of
existing problems in the sphere of migration management, protection of refugees and asylum-seekers.
State Border Committee of Belarus (SBC) – national coordinator of the project – made the first
presentation on evaluation of performed activities and achieved results. After the audience was once again
informed about the main purposes and objectives of the project, Mr. Yury Fedorov continued with the
general overview of its implementation in 2009. According to him, the project once again proved its
sustainability, continued the first phase of the action and demonstrated its necessity and relevance for
In 2009 the following achievements were made:
Border monitoring IDs for members of border monitoring team (the BMMW, the BRC and IOM) were
made and distributed. All documents are validated both by the SBC (signature of the SBC Chairman)
and respective organizations. It identifies its bearer and the core of his/her mission. The document is a
good example of understanding and cooperation between state authorities, international and non-
Computerized refugees registration system was enhanced. The special work group was established
(representatives of the SBC, the MIA, UNHCR and Scientific and Manufacturing Enterprise “TODES”).
“TODES” has already received joint recommendations on improvement of the system and in 2010 they
will be implemented.
Study visits to Germany (the SBC and the MIA representatives; familiarization with the best practices of
interviewing of asylum-seekers) and Belgium (the SBC and the MIA representatives; familiarization
with the best practices of identification of personality of asylum-seekers and functioning of registration
Temporary accommodation facility for migrants in the airport “Minsk” was refurbished and soon will be
ready to accommodate irregular migrants.
Informational billboards were created and will be installed in the SBC detachments in the field in 2010.
The billboards contain information on asylum and voluntary repatriation issues.
Mr. Fedorov underlined that this project is a logical continuation of its first phase. He emphasized that
the SBC is satisfied with results achieved in 2009 and the level of cooperation between the SBC and
UNHCR and expressed gratitude for assistance in enhancement of State Border management. He noticed,
however, that the partners should still strive for better results, strengthen cooperation and improve joint
efforts in development of asylum system and modernization of border infrastructure, especially at the EU
border. Additionally the spokesman noticed that there are a lot of activities to be implemented in 2010.
Mr. Ivan Saleyeu from UNHCR Belarus provided the overview of activities performed within the
framework of the project (only the information which was not mentioned before – TAS).
In 2009 UNHCR Belarus provided itself with contact persons in each SBC detachment and its Central
Apparatus. Schedule of visits of respective specialists (mainly the BMMW) to detention facilities is being
elaborated. The employees of UNHCR IPs are the first to met detained irregular migrants there.
New instruments of protection monitoring were elaborated. Along with mentioned IDs, a new
questionnaire for detained irregular migrants was introduced in 2009. This document contains a number of
questions for detainees and is filled in during the first meeting with the migrant. It helps to identify people
who seek asylum in Belarus or apply for voluntary repatriation. It also helps to satisfy any other additional
needs of apprehended foreign citizen/stateless persons.
Moreover, each protection monitoring mission is followed by a new report. The report is infilled by the
interviewer/visitor and provides the basic information about detained migrants and the problems they face.
Monthly, quarter and annual reports on border monitoring activities are important instruments. Monthly
reports are prepared by the BMMW personnel and contain information about border monitoring activities of
the BMMW and parties to the project, including information related to visits, circumstances of the visits,
performed actions and results of certain activities. As for quarter and annual reports, they provide overview
of activities in the sphere of border monitoring executed during reporting period.
UNHCR together with the BMMW and the SBC created a list of trusted interpreters who can assist
during interviews with detained irregular migrants. The list is being constantly updated.
Mr. Saleyeu provided the following statistical information on border monitoring activities in 2009.
Border monitoring visits: 41 performed by the BMMW, 10 – by IOM, 29 by the BRC; interviews: 120
performed by the BMMW, 21 – by IOM; persons assisted: the BMMW – 131; IOM – 70 persons repatriated,
32 wee informed of AVR availability, 21 obtained counselling from IOM staff in detention facilities; the
BRC – 65 individuals received clothes as well as food and hygienic parcels.
The majority of assisted migrants were citizens of Georgia (41), Russia (20), Vietnam (14), Pakistan
(12), Afghanistan (6) and Sri Lanka (6).
As the result of border monitoring activities 12 persons applied for refugee status; 8 individuals applied
to the SBC personnel, 4 – to police officials.
The rate of applications for asylum at the border was low. According to Mr. Saleyeu, the reasons for this
are the following:
lack of information about possibility to apply for refugee status;
migrants do not see Belarus as a country of final destination; almost all of them wish to go to any EU
detained migrants are not satisfied with conditions of their residence while their application is examined
(detention, comparatively low financial assistance, low recognition rate);
after receiving the information about AVR possibility, migrants prefer to use this option as the majority
of them do not have any fear of returning back home.
Ms. Tatiana Tumashik made an evaluation of results from the MIA point of view. At first, she provided
the main information about the MIA activities in the sphere of asylum, and then continued with project
implementation in 2009. According to her, the most important achievements in 2009 are (only the
information which was not mentioned before – TAS):
The first protection monitoring visit to the MIA detention facility (Minsk) and the awareness-raising
workshop for the personnel.
Equipping and furnishing the MIA interviewing facilities (Minsk and all regional departments of
citizenship and migrations).
Activities to improve the search, collection and systematization of COI: monthly COI digests (in
Russian) which are used for making decisions on refugee applications were prepared by UNHCR and the
BMMW. Translated versions of COI are available at UNHCR;
Purchasing of atlases, dictionaries, legislation compilations, etc. for DCM and local departments of
citizenship and migration.
Implementation of AVR component (for more information on this issue, see the presentation made by
IOM Mission in Belarus): study visit to the United Kingdom and Finland (familiarization with asylum
system including voluntary repatriation aspects organized and performed within the framework of
Regional Protection Support Project; workshop “Assistance in Voluntary Return of Migrants –
Methodologies and Best Practices” organized and carried out by IOM Mission in Belarus; elaboration
and distribution of DCM guidelines on AVR (sent to all local departments of citizenship and migration)
Ms. Tumashik added that in 2010 awareness-raising protection monitoring missions will be performed
according to the Work Plan of the project: in the first half of 2010 such visits will be conducted to Gomel
and Vitebsk (March 2010).
Presentation of the BMMW made by Ms. Vera Nikonchik
logically continued the statements made on behalf of
UNHCR Belarus. At first, Ms. Nikonchik provided the
information about the organization and its main activities,
both regular and within the framework of the project. She
mentioned that Memorandum of Understanding was signed
in 2008 (parties: the SBC, UNHCR, IOM, the BRC and the
BMMW). In accordance with the MoU the BMMW legal
consultants are eligible to conduct two types of border
monitoring visits: (I) informational and (II) ad hoc, i.e. after
receiving the information about detention of irregular
Informational visits aim at (a) monitoring of existing access to the territory, RSD procedure and the
availability of information on asylum system for individuals potentially in need of international protection;
(b) encouraging the SBC personnel to improve the quality of their work with persons potentially in need of
international protection; (c) improvement of cooperation between state authorities, international and non-
governmental organizations in the sphere of border monitoring and asylum.
Ad hoc visits have the following purpose: (a) to identify and register the asylum-seekers and persons
willing to return to their countries of origin; (b) to provide them with counseling on their rights and duties
and the existing RSD procedure; (c) to inspect the detention conditions; (d) to provide the migrants with
necessary supplies (food, clothes), interpretation services and medical treatment/counselling.
All meetings with detainees are comprised of certain obligatory steps. The first step is interviewing:
receiving the information from the detainee, including the reasons which forced him/her to leave his/her
country of origin; filling in the questionnaire. The second step is individual counselling: providing the person
with the information about his/her rights and obligations; refugee criteria, aspects of RSD procedure;
UNHCR, IOM, NGOs working with refugees and migration authorities (with contact details).
All detainees who express their willingness to apply for refugee status in Belarus are registered by
UNHCR or NGO personnel eligible to do this on UNHCR behalf. The SBC and the MIA personnel are
informed about this decision of migrant(s) accordingly.
One of the burning issues in border monitoring process is the interpretation assistance. The BMMW has
its staff interpreters (Dari and Farsi languages), maintains the list of interpreters (available for all parties to
the project) and covers the interpretation services provided by hired specialists.
In the end Ms. Nikonchik informed the audience about achievement and constraints.
clear and effective mechanism of cooperation between parities to the project;
good contacts with local SBC detachments and access to information on detained irregular migrants;
persons potentially in need of international protection enjoy access to RSD procedure and information
about Belarusian asylum system;
all applications for asylum were accordingly transferred to migration service of the MIA;
the BMMW legal consultants have access to the SBC facilities to execute the border monitoring visits;
all interviewed migrants are provided with proper consultative, social and humanitarian assistance;
a questionnaire for apprehended migrants was elaborated; the BMMW took part in this process;
the list of trusted interpreters was compiled; they can assist during border monitoring missions;
informational billboards were created; the BMMW took part in this process;
border monitoring IDs were made and distributed; the BMMW took part in this process;
sometimes it was very difficult to find an appropriate interpreter for uncommon languages;
lack of informational material which could be distributed among apprehended irregular migrants;
necessity to improve cooperation with the parties to the project;
necessity to carry out seminars and workshops on the aspects of new Belarusian legislation in the sphere
necessity to organize and hold workshops for interpreters who are frequently hired for border monitoring
Ms. Galina Komarovskaya from Minsk City Bar Association in her short presentation underlined the
following crucial aspects which can lead to good results and performance: intensive training, establishment
of contacts with counterparts (inside the country and abroad); unhampered access to any additional
information, familiarization with foreign practices. She added that today there are only few advocates who
defend refugees in court and, what are more important, advocates are not willing to take such cases.
Ms. Sholeh Safavi asked Ms. Komarovskaya why advocates refuse to work on cases of asylum-seekers
and refugees. Whether it is because they receive low wages for that work or due to the fact that positive
appeal rate on such cases is extremely small.
Ms. Komarovskaya replied that there are several reasons for this. Such cases are not profitable; only a
few advocates have the professional skills and knowledge necessary to defend asylum-seekers and refugees
in court; advocates working on such cases are discouraged by the fact that the previous decision of state
authorities had been fully supported by the court. Moreover, in accordance with recent amendment to
legislation, advocates are forced to render free of charge assistance in 70% of cases, which explains why they
are unwilling to take them.
The next point of the agenda was a presentation and discussion of the Work Plan for 2010 performed by
Ms. Tatiana Selivanova from UNHCR Belarus. The Work Plan was adopted with some commentaries. The
following discussion took place:
Ms. Tumashik stated that there was no need in developing the national regulatory legal act on
identification procedure in 2010, because in 2009 a Decree of the Council of Ministers introduced a new
instruction on identification of personality of foreign citizens and stateless persons applying for refugee
status or complimentary protection in Belarus. Correspondingly, no new legislative acts will be elaborated
after that. She proposed to shift this activity for 2009 and consider it as already implemented. Agreed.
She also underlined that it was unclear what exactly is the “digest of recommendations on conducting
identification of asylum-seekers”, because the new instruction on identification had already been adopted.
Mr. Fedorov stated that it is necessary to have an interagency instruction on identification procedure for
the SBC since the procedure is not fully developed yet. Ms. Komarovskaya supported the necessity of
development and dissemination of printed materials.
Finally, it was agreed to transfer this element to 2011 as identification system will be done in 2010.
After that Mr. Saleyeu underlined that the “guide for asylum-seekers and refugees on their rights and
obligations” was an improper name for the activity. It should be a leaflet for asylum-seekers. He also
emphasized the necessity to focus on translation of this material into languages spoken by persons of
Mr. Selivanov proposed to add the MIA and the SBC as organizations in charge of dissemination of
information on the project to the media, decision makers, civil society and public. He stated that the MIA and
the SBC actively participate in these activities and there were no obstacles for their inclusion. Agreed.
Ms. Tumashik proposed “development of DCM web-site and its maintenance” as it was previously
agreed during a bilateral meeting. Maintenance element was included. Agreed.
Ms. Safavi initiated discussion on study visit planned within the framework of the project. Ms.
Selivanova confirmed that only one study visit is planned for 2010; there is a possibility to finance
participation of individuals in COI related trainings
Mr. Fedorov, Ms. Tumashik and Ms. Stankevich proposed to carry out study visit on identification of
personality of asylum-seeker in April (second or third week). Agreed.
Mr. Saleyeu took the floor and stated that in COI related activities it was necessary to pay attention to
language training (English) and providing Internet access and to concentrate on countries of origin relevant
for Belarus, instead of methodology.
Ms. Inna Lemeshevskaya, Belarusian Red Cross, took
the floor. She stated that project implementation
should lead to the following results for the BRC: (I)
improvement of the BRC capacity in the sphere of
working with migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees,
(II) providing social and humanitarian assistance to
the irregular migrants detained at border crossing
In 2009 representatives of parties to the project
conducted two informational visits to the SBC
detachments. The SBC personnel were informed
about core issues in the sphere of asylum (Belarusian
legislation and international standards) and migration
and the activities of project’s partners.
The BRC performed the following activities related to the project:
medical assistance to apprehended irregular migrants;
transmission of migrants to health care institutions; counselling at specific physicians;
provision of detainees with necessary supplies (food, clothes, etc.);
assistance to migrants who did not apply for refugees’ status in Belarus (housing, assistance to women
with children, etc.).
Ms. Lemeshevskaya also provided some plans and proposals from the BRC:
The BRC could liaise with potential donors to receive the humanitarian assistance necessary for
Continuation of informational meetings and workshops with personnel of project partners;
Assistance to migrants who do not apply for refugee status in Belarus (first of all it concerns housing,
employment; assistance to unaccompanied women with children);
The BRC submitted a project proposal to the ICRC to provide detained migrants with a free of charge
phone call to their close relatives in the country of origin. If succeeded, this initiative will be
implemented in April 2010 in Minsk, Grodno, Lida and Smorgon.
Ms. Tatiana Orange, IOM Mission in Belarus, made a presentation on implementation of Assisted
Voluntary Return component of the project. At first she made a short overview of the AVR elements. The
main purposes of assisted voluntary return are the following: (I) evaluation of existing methodology of
assisted voluntary return in Belarus; (II) informing the Government of Belarus about the establishment of
sustainable AVR system as well as providing recommendations in this sphere; (iii) assistance to irregular
migrants and asylum-seekers in voluntary return to the countries of origin.
AVR component contains certain training and educational activities:
three visits to EU Member States to study the best AVR practices;
in-country seminar for the SBC, the MIA and NGOs representatives (invited international IOM
experts will share their experience with Belarusian counterparts);
regular semi-annual consultation with representatives of organizations involved in voluntary return
of irregular migrants.
The in-country seminar was conducted in 2009. It was dedicated to practical aspects of assisted
voluntary return. The seminar covered the following topics: (i) international principles and standards in AVR
sphere; (ii) IOM policy in AVR sector; (iii) AVR programme implemented by IOM Mission in Belarus, its
components and issues related to its practical implementation; (iv) existing Belarusian system of return of
migrants to their countries of origin, its legal and practical aspects; (v) AVR as a sustainable option for
irregular migrants and persons whose applications for refugee status were rejected; (vi) return of vulnerable
categories of migrants.
During the first study visit to the United Kingdom, representatives of the SBC and the MIA were
familiarized with the following issues:
activities of the UK Border Agency;
the UK AVR policy and AVR system;
joint programmes of IOM Mission in the UK and the UK Government in AVR sphere.
For information about potential beneficiaries of AVR programme and organizations working in this
sphere IOM publishes and distributes informational materials (mainly leaflets).
IOM Mission in Belarus also took part in creation of mechanism of protection monitoring and working
with mixed migration movements. Within the framework of this component IOM took part in two
familiarization visits to SBC detachments, conducted 10 monitoring visits to the SBC detachments; is
involved in protection monitoring in border crossing points and detention facilities of the MIA.
As for voluntary return itself, this activity targets at rejected asylum-seekers, persons whose applications
for refugee status were cancelled and irregular migrants. The assistance consists of the following elements:
(i) provision of access to information about possibility of voluntary return, individual counselling together
with provision of specific information on AVR issues; (ii) interviewing and identification of persons eligible
for AVR programme; (iii) travel arrangements, including trip planning, tickets (booking and acquisition),
preparation of necessary travel documents; (iv) medical examination and provision of medical assistance, if
needed; (v) travel assistance (before, during and after the voyage); (vi) medical escorts (if necessary); (vii)
provision of small reintegration grants.
While assessing potential candidates for AVR programme, IOM pays specific attention to vulnerable
categories of migrants: unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking of human beings, diseased persons.
In 2009 IOM Mission in Belarus provided consultative assistance on AVR issues to 90 migrants (about
200 persons in 2007-2009); 70 persons were returned to their countries of origin (121 beneficiaries in 2007-
Mr. Viktor Shadursky and Mr. Andrey Selivanov from the IPA “Evolutio” informed the gathering about
implementation of the project’s component on improvement the awareness of (i) relevance of refugee
protection, (ii) international standards of reception of refugees and (iii) distinction between refugees and
ordinary economic migrants. These goals are achieved by informing state authorities, educational
institutions, mass-media and public about the protection of refugees.
As for preparation and dissemination of information, it consists of the following segments:
Publications (including support of the web-site);
Working with students, post graduates and academicians;
Events, seminars and work meeting, including informational support;
Communication with journalists
In 2009 the IPA “Evolutio” prepared and published compilation of legislation in the sphere of asylum,
migration and citizenship “Forced Migration in the Republic of Belarus”; continued working on Academic
Journal “International Law and International Relations” (4 issues, 17 articles on asylum and related issues);
supported the IPA “Evolutio” web-site (Russian and English versions, approximately 250,000 visitors);
disseminated a package of publications (consists of five brochures) “Relevant Issues of Migration and
Besides, the IPA “Evolutio” organized and carried out a round table “Protection of Refugees and
Strengthening of Tolerance in Multicultural Society” and a thematic competition for students and post
Moreover, there were public awareness activities dedicated to the World Refugees Day (dissemination of
informational materials) and cooperation with mass-media. The latter included cooperation with the SBC
press service and DCM (interviews with its personnel) and provision of materials on asylum and migration
related issues (207 materials provided).
In future the IPA “Evolutio” plans to conduct the following project related activities in 2010-2011:
preparation and publication of a leaflet for asylum-seekers and refugees (their legal status in Belarus);
preparation and publication of a brochure on identification of asylum-seekers;
large scale informational events.
Mr. Furio De Angelis, UNHCR Deputy Representative for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, presented
regional activities in the sphere of border monitoring and spoke about EU funded Regional Protection
Support Project (RPSP). He complimented the achievements in the sphere made by Belarus and
organizations involved, but also mentioned that the very activity is relevant for all three countries in the
region – Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. Thus, regional scope of the action is to be taken into consideration,
parties to the process should understand that there are activities which have regional synergies and,
correspondingly, could be implemented jointly/in coordination.
RPSP should ensure that (i) asylum–seekers and refugees in the region have access to the protection
systems established by law and in accordance to international refugee law standards; (ii) refugees have
access to resettlement to third countries in cases when adequate protection is unattainable for specific
In order to achieve this, RPSP has the three main components:
development of resettlement programme for the sub-region;
promotion of UNHCR 10 Point Plan of Action for Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration (10PP);
consolidation and harmonisation of border monitoring in the sub-region.
The project will be implemented in 2009-2011
and cover Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
Moreover, RPSP cooperates with related
regional projects to make border monitoring
activities more effective (IOM GUMIRA
project, ECRE border monitoring project and
Resettlement component includes training
and seminars for NGO partners and
Government counterparts; briefing sessions will
be conducted, position papers on resettlement
needs will be disseminated among resettlement
countries. It is also planned that the number of
resettlement countries will increase (Mr. De
Angelis informed the audience that Portugal
and Czech Republic recently became new
As for the 10PP promotion, this element includes presentation of the 10PP throughout the sub-region;
identification of priorities and gaps to be addressed in the sub-region; development and implementation of
specific plans for targeted locations.
Consolidation and harmonisation of border monitoring in the sub-region will be performed in two main
1. Improvement of coordination: development of common border monitoring tools and trainings on their
usage; development of common reporting forms for NGOs; development of communication protocols for
cross-border information sharing between NGOs; organization and execution of cross-border regional
missions for partners;
2. Training/Workshops: senior level workshops on border monitoring, screening, identification of asylum
seekers and possible refoulement; study visits; trainings for Border Guards on prevention of “chain”-
In 2009 the following important activities were implemented within the framework of RPSP:
Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Moldova. Parties: UNHCR, Border Guard Service of
Moldova, Bureau for Migration and Asylum of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Moldova and Law
Center of Advocates.
Cross-border regional meeting in Ukraine. Participants: border and asylum authorities, the MIA, NGOs,
IOM, UNHCR and international organizations from Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia,
Poland and Romania.
Study visit (in cooperation with ECRE) to the United Kingdom and Finland for representatives of borer
guards, asylum authorities, the MIA, NGOs and UNHCR from Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
Moreover, the project allowed its partners to perform independent border monitoring, which included
communication and training of border officials and establishing contacts between them and NGOs.
All efforts are aimed at enabling all asylum-seekers to apply for refugee status to correspondent
empowered state authorities. Asylum-seekers should have free and unhampered access to qualified
interpreter and legal counseling on their asylum claims. The claimants are to be released from detention
facilities after application for refugee status; all of them should pass interviewing procedure.
UNHCR together with IOM elaborated a special screening form. This form helps to perform profiling of
migrants detained either at the border or inside the country.
NGOs will produce monthly reports on monitoring of detention facilities (at the border and inside the
country); special reporting format was developed by IOM and ECRE.
The important part of the project is raising public awareness about refugees, migration and border
monitoring issues. The following efforts were executed in this sphere:
regional leaflet on RPSP was developed;
RPSP website was created (as a part of unhcr.org.ua web-site);
leaflets on national RSD procedures in languages spoken by asylum-seekers were printed and distributed
at border points, temporary accommodation facilities and detention centre;
informational light-box, posters and stands were developed for airports and other international border
awareness-raising events were held for government authorities, journalists, NGOs;
practical guides were developed and printed for border guards;
Refugee Law classes were organized at border guard colleges.
Ms. Karolina Rusiłowicz from Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) made a presentation on
ECRE’s border monitoring project funded by the European Union.
The spokesman initially mentioned that ECRE is a network of 70 NGOs in 30 European countries
lobbying for fair EU asylum policies; it has been cooperating with refugee-assisting organizations in Russia,
Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine since 1996.
The project is funded within the framework of the EU Thematic programme on Migration and Asylum;
its implementation timeframes are 2009-11; the project is implemented by 10 NGO partners, including the
The project has the following goals:
gathering of evidence and information about what is happening to refugees and asylum-seekers on
information exchange and working on individual cases between ECRE Members and ECRE NGO
partners in Eastern European countries;
development of monitoring and advocacy skills of partner organisations;
working with vulnerable migrants of partner organisations;
training for local authorities involved in border management and refugee issues.
The project focuses on monitoring of land borders (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine) as well as monitoring
of returns to Chechnya (Russia), prevention of refoulement and administrative deportation (Russia) and
monitoring of a sea port in St. Petersburg (Russia).
Main project related activities:
NGO direct human rights monitoring;
legal advice/advocacy in individual cases;
writing reports on returns in the region (including detention practices);
regional conference on returns to Western CIS countries;
meetings with the EU officials in Brussels and at regional level;
regional and national trainings for NGOs/judges/migration service officials;
bursaries for NGOs and government officials to attend training events;
regional and national advocacy;
translations of relevant documents
Presentation of Poland Border guard representative, Mr. Szymon Grigiel, was divided into two main
parts: migration flows and asylum procedure in Poland.
Mr. Grigiel stated that for most migrants Poland is not a country of final destination and they usually
wish to reach “more developed” states like Germany, France, United Kingdom and etc. Still, 39 149
foreigners are officially registered in Poland. The majority came from Ukraine (13 277), Russia (2762) and
Belarus (2322). One third of these persons are students (13 425 in 2009). On the whole in 2009 22 103
foreign citizens received official invitation to enter Poland (Belarus – 8862, Ukraine – 7568, Russia – 1798),
13 953 individuals received work permits (Ukraine – 4066, China – 1873, Vietnam – 1286); 32 559
applications for residence permit are in process (Ukraine – 7518, Vietnam – 4503, Belarus – 2389).
As for existing asylum procedure, all foreign citizens and stateless persons can apply for refugee status
(i) at the border (without the right to enter the country), (ii) in the detachment of Border Guard of Poland in
Warsaw (regardless of legality of their residence in Poland), (iii) in detention centers (prison, criminal
When a person applies for asylum in Poland (i) his/her Polish visa is cancelled; (ii) previous decision to
voluntary leave Polish territory within 7 days is cancelled; (iii) decision on expulsion from Poland is
postponed (he/she cannot be expelled from Poland until final decision upon the asylum claim is made). If
asylum-seeker submits the second asylum application, he/she can be expelled (except of the case when there
is a request for withdrawal of the execution of return decision attached to the asylum application).
Application for asylum is made in three steps. First, a foreigner expresses willingness to apply for
refugee status; after that he is informed about asylum procedure in Poland and his/her rights and obligations;
finally the application is made by the claimant (filled in by BG staff member). Application is submitted in a
separate room, interpreter is provideded in case of necessity.
Asylum application contains the following basic information/elements/attachments: personal information
about the claimant, documents available (travel documents, other ID), place and date of entry to Poland,
route from the country of origin to Poland, information about asylum applications submitted in other
countries, information of any family members residing in Poland or in the other EU Member State, short
description of reasons of application for refugee status.
When the application is received by BGs, all applicant’s ID documents are taken (like deposit); provided
personal information is checked in a data base of asylum-seekers; the claimants and his/her family members
pass compulsory fingerprinting procedure (valid for 14YO and older); photos of claimants are made; medical
examination is performed (if necessary); temporary ID documents are issued. All temporary ID documents
are valid during 30 days and could be then extended; each adult is provided with separate document;
personal data and photos of children are put in the document of one parent.
All applicants are informed of the possibility to be accommodated in a temporary accommodation
facility. Information about the application for asylum and claimants themselves is entered into the data base;
all materials related to the specific asylum case are transferred to the state authority responsible for RSD
All asylum-seekers can be accommodated either in reception centre (central facility near Warsaw and 20
other TACs in the country) or detention facility or on their own (private address, if possible and agreed).
The general rule is that the asylum-seeker is not apprehended. Still, the claimant can be apprehended if
for identification of personality;
in order to prevent the abuse of RSD procedure;
if a person threats security, health or life of other persons;
for security of state or public order.
The asylum-seeker can also be apprehended if he/she has crossed (or attempted to cross) the border
illegally (except for the cases when the asylum-seeker has crossed the border coming directly from the
country of persecution) and his/her behavior threatens security, health or life of other persons in a reception
centre. A person can be apprehended for 48 hours maximum; he/she is explained his/her rights and
obligations; asylum claim is infilled before the apprehension protocol.
Recently there have been a lot of applications from minors who, in fact, were older than they declared.
That is why the Border Guard of Poland performs medical examination in order to establish the age of the
claimant (for example, by means of dental examination). If the person does not agree for this procedure,
he/she is recognized as an adult.
As for real minors, they are accommodated in so-called children’s home in Warsaw and official legal
representative is announced. The decisions related to both issues are made by the local court on the basis of
the request of Border Guard of Poland. After the decision is made, minor applicants for refugee status are
transported to accommodation facility by BGs. They, as well as the other vulnerable categories of asylum-
seekers, cannot be detained.
In 2009 10606 persons applied for refugees status. The majority of applicants were from Russia (5 745),
Georgia (4 214), Armenia (147) and Vietnam (67).
As the result of the meeting the following conclusions were made by the participants:
Implementation of the second phase of the project has been progressing well and was on the right course
according to the Work Plan;
Partnership and coordination of activities between state authorities, international and non-governmental
organizations and donors is of vital necessity;
Cross-border contacts for exchanging knowledge, experience and best practices in border management
and protection monitoring are useful;
Established network of cooperation, as a formal expression of partnership that clearly defines modalities
of work, roles and responsibilities of all parties, is very important;
The Phase II of the project should focus on the condition of asylum seekers inside the country
(protection monitoring); visits to detention facilities in the regions are of key importance;
The work in the following areas should continue: upgrading the computerized registration system;
improvement of the interviewing facilities; better access to up-to-date COI; enhancement of the MIA
website; installation of information board at the airport and border crossings;
Necessity to examine the reasons for low number of asylum applications submitted at the border;
Capacity building activities (seminars, study visits, etc.) should continue; they should be well planned
and better targeted in order to maximize their impact;
Sustainability of the listed activities, i.e. the streamlining of these activities into the state migration and
asylum programme, is of vital importance;
Continuation of comprehensive durable solutions for rejected asylum-seekers (AVR and for a limited
numbers, the resettlement option) is needed;
Further improvement in dissemination of information and public awareness tactics is needed;
The idea of nurturing connections between country-based and regional activities was supported by the
The fact that the project should help create conditions for closer involvement of lawyers/advocates in
various stages of border monitoring/protection monitoring, and not only at the very last stages, was
The Work Plan for 2010 (with comments) was adopted; it will be circulated to all the participants for
their final review and approval after all comments are incorporated;
The fact that for rendering social assistance to asylum-seekers and other vulnerable categories of
migrants more resources should be made available to the Belarusian Red Cross (for procuring food,
hygiene items, clothes, footwear, etc.) was noted;
The need for systematization and harmonization in profiling and referral was noted;
The importance of AVR and the need to seek more resources to ensure the reintegration of returnees and,
hence, sustainability of the return was noted.
On March 5, 2010 the following separate meetings took place:
The IPA "Evolutio" had a bilateral meeting with the Institute of International Relations of University of
Warsaw; migration and refugees issues in the educational process were discussed.
The BRC had bilateral meeting with the Polish Red Cross; issues related to donation of humanitarian
assistance as well as strategies for sustainability and fundraising/joint finding submissions were
Belarusian, Polish and Ukrainian Border Guards held tripartite meeting on development of joint project
proposals under ENPI Programme.
Belarusian and Polish Border Guards held bilateral meeting on draft of Inter-State Treaty on Border
Regime at the Belarus-Poland border.