UNHCR expresses concern over Congolese nationals at Kyiv airport


The UN Refugee Agency is urging the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from returning 6 nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo until their need for protection is assessed

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is concerned about the fate of six nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo who are current in Kyiv Boryspil airport awaiting return. Some of them may wish to seek asylum in Ukraine. UNHCR is trying to obtain access to this group to assess their protection needs.

According to the information posted on the website of the State Border Guard Service, six DRC nationals arrived to Boryspil airport on 31 August but were not allowed to enter Ukraine and were scheduled to be sent back on 2 September. The State Border Guard Service confirmed that one of the individuals actually tried to jump on to the tarmac claiming that ’he wants to stay in Ukraine’.

The State Border Guard Service reports that the DRC nationals did not fulfil the requirement stipulated in the new regulation which came into force on 25 August 2009. This regulation requires foreign nationals (it covers over 90 countries, mainly those which are considered as countries of origin of irregular migrants transiting Ukraine on their way to Western Europe) and stateless persons entering Ukraine to have no less that UAH 12.620 (about 1,000 Euro) to cover their stay in the country.

UNHCR is concerned that the financial requirement should not affect access to the asylum procedure and undermine the non-refoulement principle envisaged by the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which Ukraine acceded to without any reservations in 2002. The right to seek asylum is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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