Right to Protection is an NGO dedicatedto protecting the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, stateless andundocumented persons, as well as internally displaced and conflict affected persons.
Category: Asylum seekers
Ukraine is a signatory to the Convention on Status of Refugees. Article 33 of this document prohibits extradition of a person to the frontiers of territories where his/her life or freedom would be threatened on account of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The same principle is enshrined in the Ukrainian legislation, particularly in the Criminal Procedure Code in the section on extradition.
It is prohibited in Ukraine:
to forcibly return not only recognized refugees, but also persons who have applied for international protection (asylum seekers).
If another state applies to Ukraine with an official request for extradition, then an extradition check is mandatory. It must be established whether there are circumstances that prevent the extradition of a person.
If a person applied to the State Migration Service of Ukraine with an application for refugee status or appealing a negative decision on his/her application, then this fact must be established during the extradition checking. In this case, the migration procedure will be the main argument for non extradition of a person.
The extradition procedure consists of the several stages:
another state makes an official appeal to Ukraine;
decision on the extradition request (which can be appealed in court);
The complexity of the procedure requires qualified legal assistance.
If you are a protection seeker and you are concerned that extradition may be initiated against you, be sure to inform your lawyer about that. In case extradition begins, legal assistance is essential.
When submitting an application for recognition as a refugee to the Migration Service of Ukraine, you need to provide evidence in support of your fears for your life and that you are being persecuted in your country of origin. However, we advise you to indicate these evidence in your application as attachments so that they are not lost. In addition, it can be useful if the Migration Service refuses to recognize you as a refugee so in the future you will be able to confirm that you have tried to prove the existence of conventional grounds.
The main evidence in court will be protocol of your interview with the Migration Service. Therefore, you need to make sure that all explanations you provide during the interview are recorded clearly and in detail.
Evidence that you can submit to the Migration Service or to the court:
Country of Origin Information (COI);
Written evidence (letters from human rights organizations, characteristics, testimonies, etc.);
Video, audio recordings of rallies, demonstrations, radio recordings;
Video reports from journalists, bloggers, etc.;
Screenshots of pages from social networks;
Testimony of witnesses;
Other evidence, which you have.
Country of Origin Information (COI) is a very important part. COI is the information, which covers the situation in the applicant’s country of origin. It must be relevant; reliable, balanced; precise and up-to-date.
What might COI include?
Reports of international human rights organizations;
Reports of governmental and non-governmental organizations;
National legislation of the applicant’s country of origin;
Where to find information on the Country of Origin?
Recently we told the story of Mykhailo, who had to flee persecution from Tajikistan. Thanks to the grant from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine he began his own business and integration. Today he is a successful businessman and owns several cafes in Irpin and Bucha (Kyiv Region, Ukraine). His story is an example that nothing is impossible.
If you have a status of refugee, a person with additional protection, or You are an asylum seeker in Ukraine and You also wish to start your own business, we suggest you pay attention to the UNHCR Self-Reliance Grants for 2021.
Self-reliance grant is a one-time assistance that can be provided to recognized refugees, persons granted complementary protection in Ukraine and asylum seekers in Ukraine who meet UNHCR criteria and have strong will to become self-reliant through starting a small or medium scale business, agricultural activity in rural areas or undergoing vocational training.
Taking quarantine into the account, most attention will be paid to applicants who have a clear vision and plan to adapt their business to the new conditions and realities caused by COVID-19.
Deadline for applications: 1-st of April 2021
You can learn more about the program and the conditions of participation following the link:
Back in the days Mykhailo had to flee persecution from Tajikistan. Nowadays he runs a successful business in the cities of Irpin and Bucha (Kyiv Region) – the Mazza_cafe_halal.
These cafes specialize in traditional Eastern cuisine. Here everyone can enjoy pilaf, chebureks, doner kebabs and other famous delicacies.
His success in business is the result of hard work and constant development. According to Mykhailo, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) business grant helped him to get a kickstart.
Earlier, Mykhailo joined the Right to Protection CF training for beneficiaries «How to make money and find yourself in Ukraine», where he shared his experience of successful integration and on starting a career in Ukraine. We decided to go to the city of Irpin and visit Mr. Mykhailo’s cafe and talk with him about his life, development, and the path to success.
More – in our video:
The Right to Protection CF draws attention to the fact that the provisions of this bill apply not only to prisoners of war, but also to foreign civilians who are on the territory of Ukraine, and therefore considers it necessary to make such a statement.
Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (IV Geneva Convention), adopted on 12 August 1949 in Geneva and subsequently ratified by Ukraine in 2006, shall apply to all cases of declared war or any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more States, even if one of them does not recognize the state of war, as well as to cases of partial or complete occupation.
The Convention establishes provisions for the protection of persons who, at any time and under any circumstances, find themselves, in the conflict or in occupation, under the authority of a party to the conflict or of the occupying Power of which they are not nationals.
Article 44 of the Convention stipulates that in applying the control measures provided for in this Convention, the detaining State shall not treat refugees as enemies, solely on the basis of their legal affiliation with the opposing State as they are not under the protection of any government .
At the same time, according to the Right to Protection CF, the draft law contains a number of provisions that may negatively affect the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and persons in need of additional protection.
The draft proposes additions to the grounds for banning the departure of foreigners or stateless persons from Ukraine, provided for in part two of Article 22 of the Law of Ukraine “On Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” with the paragraph “until internment decision will be revoked”.
The project significantly expands the powers of the Security Service of Ukraine. In particular, it entrusts this body during a special period of measures to identify persons who pose a threat to the national security of Ukraine and the citizens of a state which threatens to attack or carry out aggression against Ukraine (…).
The draft gives the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine the right to decide on the internment of citizens of a state that threatens to attack or carry out aggression against Ukraine, who, according to the Security Service of Ukraine, are a threat to the national security of Ukraine or connected to such attack or aggression.
In this regard, the Right to Protection CF considers it necessary to state that in the event of the adoption of this bill there is a high probability that the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms may be violated, namely:
The right to liberty and security of person provided for in Article 5 of the European Convention;
The right to privacy provided for in Article 8 of the European Convention;
The right to freedom of movement provided for in Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 to the European Convention.
In addition, the adoption of Bill № 4327 may result in a breach of the guarantees set out in Articles 35, 43 and 44 of the IV Geneva Convention. The draft law does not contain any safeguards against the internment of civilian citizens of the Russian Federation who are refugees or persons in need of additional protection or seekers of protection, which is directly contrary to the provisions of Article 44 IV of the Geneva Convention.
The Right to Protection CF believes that the project should be brought in line with Ukraine’s international obligations under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, in particular, refugees, persons in need of additional protection and protection seekers should be excluded out of the regulation of this bill.
Right to Protection CF presents a report on the situation with the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons. Despite the state’s efforts, some challenges remain unresolved for many years and are the subject of a review of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council.
«The preparation of the national interim report on the state of implementation of UPR recommendations is a good initiative to launch a dialogue between the public and the Government to address serious challenges and improve the rights of vulnerable groups,»
– said Ksenia Karagyaur, the Legal Analyst at Right to Protection CF.
We, the non-governmental human rights sector organizations who work with the protection of the rights of victims of the armed conflict in Ukraine, with the fullest respect for You express our demand not to narrow the scope of the National Strategy for Human Rights.
Adopted through the Decree of the President of Ukraine in 2015, the National Strategy in the field of human rights needs to be updated. In the summer of 2020, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine began work on developing amendments to the Strategy and drafting the Action Plan for its implementation. Representatives of the human rights NGO sector in Ukraine and international partners were involved in the work.
During October, the Directorate for Strategic Planning and European Integration of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine held a series of meetings of thematic groups to develop an Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy in the field of human rights for 2021-2023.
The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations Concerning the Protection of the Rights of Persons Affected by the Armed Conflict in Ukraine submitted proposals to the Action Plan, which includes about 90 measures for overcoming the negative consequences of the armed conflict caused by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation and to protect, ensure and exercise the rights of internally displaced persons and residents of the occupied territories, those who live near the contact line in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, persons deprived of liberty as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, persons who have disappeared in unknown circumstances and members of their families.
The proposals were prepared and sent by experts from the NGO Sector Coalition and were partially taken into account. In particular, the Ministry of Justice proposes to combine the protection of internally displaced persons, residents of the temporarily occupied territories and residents of the so-called “gray zone” in one group – victims of armed aggression in Ukraine. At the same time, according to the logic of the Ministry of Justice, the categories of persons who disappeared during the conflict or who were deprived of personal liberty as a result of the armed conflict are not considered victims.
However, although the text of the draft amendments to the National Strategy for Human Rights includes some proposals submitted by NGOs, the draft Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy ignores these proposals.
Due to the fact that not all the measures planned for 2020 were implemented, NGO Sector proposed to update some of the measures and add new ones that would simplify access to education, administrative services, pensions, social benefits, intensify the process of land demining, introduce an evaluation mechanism of the needs of internally displaced persons and ensure the process of permanent financing of housing programs for IDPs.
Unfortunately, instead of developing high-quality and effective measures, the Ministry of Justice has chosen to focus on steps that are easier to implement and less conflicting to agree with other ministries. In particular, most of the measures proposed by the Ministry relate to the development and submission of draft regulations, although the drafting of regulations alone does not change the situation with human rights in Ukraine.
Such a plan, even if fully implemented, will not lead to the achievement of the goals set by the Strategy, which in turn will result in withdrawal of Ukraine’s movement towards a democratic state governed by the rule of law. Instead, the draft of the updated Action Plan, which focuses on regulatory activities, transforms the document into a formal and technical one, focused exclusively on quantitative indicators and does not introduce systemic changes.
We once again draw attention to the fact that the adoption of certain regulations does not necessarily lead to ensuring the realization of human rights and freedoms. Moreover, the decision to adopt them is the power of Parliament, as the National Strategy is a document that shows the intentions and specific actions of public authorities in certain areas.
We, the non-governmental human rights sector organizations who work with the protection of the rights of victims of the armed conflict in Ukraine, call to take into account the provided proposals and develop amendments to the National Strategy for Human Rights, as well as to the Action Plan for its implementation, taking into account the real needs of all categories of victims of the conflict caused by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation.
We emphasize that in the process of proposal for the Action Plan preparation we relied on our experience in the field of protection of the above mentioned persons and indicated their specific needs, that are not taken into account in the Ministry of Justice broad framework of the National Strategy.
On November 26, 2020, the Right to Protection CF, an executive partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine (UNHCR) hosted an online School of Migration Law.
Law students from different cities and different universities of Ukraine had the opportunity to join the event, during which they were introduced to such concepts as “asylum seeker”, “recognized refugee”, “person in need of additional protection in Ukraine” and “stateless person”, and also received information on the legislation of Ukraine, which regulates the status of such persons in Ukraine.
Participants of the Migration School also had the opportunity to communicate with representatives of asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons in Ukraine, hear their personal stories, as well as learn about problems and difficulties they face often .
«The main purpose of the Migration School was to provide students with theoretical and practical information on the protection of the rights of recognized refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons in Ukraine, as well as to acquaint them with the practice of asylum seekers in the ECtHR. All participants were active and asked lots of questions to our lawyers, as well as wished the Migration School to be held more often»,
– summed up Oleksandra Lukyanenko, the lawyer at Right to Protection CF
R2P expresses sincere gratitude to all the students who joined the online School!
On October 30, 2020 in Chernihiv, Ukraine, Right to Protection CF held a workshop «Common action of public authorities, legal aid centers and the public sector in support of asylum seekers in Ukraine»
Event was attended by the representatives of the State Migration Service of Ukraine and the Department of the State Migration Service in Chernihiv Oblast, the State Border Guard Service, the Chernihiv City Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid, the Regional Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid in the Chernihiv Region, the Chernihiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office, and the Chernihiv Temporary Holding Facility as well as the Ripky District Court of Chernihiv Region.
During the Discussion such issues were spoken out:
Peculiarities of interaction of public authorities with the secondary free legal aid centers and human rights organizations in cases for asylum seekers, which are located in temporary holding facilities for foreigners during the quarantine operation;
difficulties for governmental institutions in the process of processing the cases of asylum seekers;
The ways to solve the existing problems.
The seminar was held in a mixed format – most participants were physically present on the event, some joined through the use of videoconferencing tools, which became a new and interesting practice for participants. They were actively involved in the discussion.
According to Oleksandra Lukyanenko, a lawyer at Right to Protection CF, such meetings are a very important tool for establishing joint action with public authorities, free legal aid centers and human rights organizations in our common sphere of providing aid to the asylum seekers in Ukraine.
Project Manager, Lawyer at R2P Oleksandra Zhurko noted that such workshops are useful as they provide an opportunity to meet directly with all parties, as everyone are able to get answers to their questions in the shortest time possible.