One of the main areas of work of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) is legal assistance to asylum seekers and refugees.
These people leave their country, home, and sometimes relatives not because of their own free will, but due to persecution for political, religious, and other reasons enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention.
They hope for help, but the road to recognition as a refugee in Ukraine is usually long and thorny.
Feraz (name changed), an Iraqi national, applied to the State Migration Service of Ukraine for refugee status, but soon had to prove the right for it in court. According to the Migration Service, the plaintiff simply sought to legalize his stay in Ukraine, and also could not prove the fact of religion change and threat to his life.
Here is what Feraz says about his reasons for appeal:
«I cannot return to Iraq because I am in danger there. In July 2014, I passed the rite of baptism in Ukraine. I have converted to Christianity. I currently attend a Protestant church in Kyiv. Every Sunday I also preach in church with other people. Because I changed my religion from Muslim to Christian, my relatives and the community in which I lived threatened to persecute and kill me. According to Islamic law, a person who changes his religion must be killed in the name of the Islamic God. I cannot return to Iraq because I am in danger of dying there.»– Feraz tells.
Olena Kalashnyk, a senior lawyer and advocate at the R2P, took up Feraz’s case:
«An asylum seeker appealed to the administrative court. Our lawyers helped gather the necessary evidence: information about the country of origin from internationally recognized sources, a baptismal certificate and photo evidence, the testimony of the pastor of his church, letters of support, and more. The court of first instance dismissed the claim, but the appellate court overturned its decision and ruled in favor of the plaintiff.»– Olena tells.
Now Feraz has been granted refugee status in Ukraine and can finally start making his life and planning for the future while leaving all the fears in the past.
Read more about the legal practice in favor of asylum seekers and refugees in the review (in Ukrainian) from the National Bar Association of Ukraine and the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P).