Hungerstrike in Ukraine against criminalization of refugees

Veröffentlicht: Januar 29, 2012 in sin banderas sin fronteras

Dear colleagues,

since weeks Somalian detainees are on hunger strike in Ukraine. Find
more information on our website:

http://bordermonitoring-ukraine.eu/

Please spread this information as wide as possible.

Border Monitoring Project Ukraine

* * *

Summery of what has happened so far:

58 Somalians have been on hunger strike since 6th January in the Lutsk
detention centre with another 15 reportedly on hunger strike in another
detention centre at Chernigiv. 13 of the hunger strikers are women (7 of
whom are under the age of 18). 17 of the men are also under 18.

The hunger strikers say that one 17 year old boy is very ill and in a
separate room and had not been examined by a doctor. Furthermore the
hunger strikers say they are detained in an asylum system which is
profoundly unjust. They say that Somalians are always refused asylum in
Ukraine and if they try to cross into the EU they are bounced back into
Ukraine and detained. The hunger strikers say that they are subject to
police harassment and corruption and can be detained by the authorities
for periods of 12 months if they don’t have a temporary permit to stay
legally in Ukraine. They say that an asylum seeker can be re-detained
within a short period after release and then faces another 12 months in
detention. Some of the hunger strikers have been in Ukraine for 5 or 6
years before they were detained. Some have been detained more then once.

Their demands to the Ukrainian Government are:
1) Somalian asylum seekers are granted asylum status in Ukraine.
2) They are released from detention.
3) Asylum seekers are to be provided with documents so they cannot be
arrested.
4) There is an end to the police harassment of asylum seekers.
5) No asylum seeker is to face re-arrest after a period of detention.

Ukraine’s asylum procedure is in chaos. The arbitrary detention of the
hunger strikers is just one more way in which the rule of law is ignored
in Ukraine. Recent asylum laws created a new Government department to
examine asylum applications, but failed to give it authority to act,
while the old department was dismantled. As a result, asylum seekers
cannot make asylum applications so they cannot get temporary residence
permits and so become illegal.

Asylum seekers who were already in the system often cannot obtain an
extension of their temporary permits and are therefore subject to arrest
as they become illegal. No decisions on refugee status are being made
and asylum appeals are postponed as the new Government department is not
recognised by judges. Even those who have been granted refugee status in
the past are often not receiving their residence permits – re-issued
each year – and so become illegal.

The Government has increased the penalty for being without temporary
residence documents from 6 to 12 months detention. Asylum seekers in
Ukraine cannot work and do not receive financial support while they
await the decision on their application.

The hunger strikers ask everyone to publicise and raise support for
their demands as widely and as quickly as possible. If you are in the
EU, please raise this with your parliamentary representative or Member
of the European Parliament as Ukraine is sensitive to EU pressure.

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