UNHCR urges Ukraine to refrain from returning 8 Afghanistan nationals


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is concerned about the fate of eight nationals of Afghanistan who were apprehended in Boryspil airport today while transiting to London. The group consisting of five minors (4-10 y.o.), one teenager and two women, including an elderly one (65 y.o.) is currently awaiting return in Boryspil airport.

The group stated to border guards of Ukraine as well as to the UN Refugee Agency that they are afraid of going back to their native country because of persecution and the general security situation. According to the information received by the UN Refugee Agency directly from these people, they expressed their wish to seek asylum in Ukraine. Currently UNHCR is trying to obtain access to this group to assess their protection needs.

UNHCR believes these people  should not be returned back to the country where their lives would be in danger.  The right to seek asylum is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore, people asking for asylum should be allowed to stay and benefit from the fair status determination procedure. Sending back asylum seekers may amount to the violation of the non-refoulement principle envisaged by the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Ukraine acceded to this Convention without any reservations in 2002, thus undertook to provide international protection to refugees.

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