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30.11.2009

Ukraine turns down asylum application from 8 Afghan nationals

   

On Saturday, after more than 10 days in Boryspil Airport, 8 Afghan nationals were sent back to the United Arab Emirates from where they came to Ukraine.

The Press Service of the State Border Guard stated soon afterwards that the eight, including 4 children, were flying from UAE to the UK, with transfer in Ukraine. They arrived in Ukraine on 17 November. The Border Guard Service asserts that they were sent back because they were found to have forged visas to the UK.

This is at variance with earlier reports, according to which the adults in the group informed border guards on 17 November that they wished to seek asylum in Ukraine, however the Ukrainian border guards did not accept their applications and left them in the airport in the transit zone.

On Wednesday and Thursday morning representatives of UNHCR who had learned of the case from a relative of the asylum seekers tried in vain to see the people. The intervention of representatives of the Human Rights Ombudsperson who also came to the airport was also unable to help.

Human rights groups turned to the European Court of Human Rights which applied Rule 39, halting deportation pending review. The plane set off regardless, however returned. Whether this was due to the use of Rule 39 or because, as the Border Guards claim, because of the behaviour of the Afghan nationals in the air, is a matter of debate.

Once they returned, their applications for asylum were taken by migration service officials. The Department for refugee and asylum matters of the State Committee on Nationalities and Religion has decided to turn down the applications. It claims that this decision is due to the fact that the Afghans’ documents were forged, as well as to information from the UK Embassy in Ukraine suggesting that adult members of the group may be involved in terrorist activities. It also asserts that the visa stickers in their passports are from a number of visas stolen from Oldham in the UK.

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