UNHCR appalled by murder in Ukraine

The UN is asking the Ukrainian authorities to consider the possibility of a racially motivated attack in their investigation of the murder of a Congolese national.

“We were shocked by the killing last weekend in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv of an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo”, the UHHCR Press Secretary William Schpindler announced.

The 19-year-old Congolese man had arrived in Ukraine in June 2007 seeking international protection. He had approached nongovernmental organizations which are partners of UNHCR immediately. They helped him prepare the necessary documents and register in the UNHCR office as an asylum seeker.

As reported here, on 27 January his body was found with knife wounds. The police stated that there were no obvious motives for the crime.

“The UN office in Ukraine, the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration have informed the Ukrainian authorities of their deep concern over this murder and have called for the investigators to consider whether it could have been a racially-motivated attack”, Mr Schpindler stated. He added that the UN institutions were calling on the authorities to inform them of the results of the investigation.

In June last year the UNHCR expressed concern over a rise in attacks on refugees and asylum seekers in Ukraine. In 2007 17 such incidents were recorded.

At the same time the UNHCR welcomed Ukraine’s efforts in resolving this problem, particularly in appointing a special emissary for this purpose.

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