Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

19 January 2012

Ukraine must release Somali asylum-seekers

Ukraine must release Somali asylum-seekers
Many asylum-seekers flee across the border to the EU, only to be returned to Ukraine, where they face police harassment and detention.

Many asylum-seekers flee across the border to the EU, only to be returned to Ukraine, where they face police harassment and detention.

© Go-Travel


Nobody is going to return and nobody is going to deport you. After 12 months you are let out. We are not criminals. Why is the government doing this to us?
Source: 
Sultan Haib, one of the Somali nationals being held in Zhuravichi
Date: 
Thu, 19/01/2012

Amnesty International is calling on the Ukrainian authorities to release Somali nationals who are currently on hunger strike in protest at being detained for up to a year “for the purposes of deportation” following court orders issued in December last year.

Approximately 60 Somali nationals – including possibly as many as 20 children – have joined the hunger strike in Zhuravichi Migrant Accommodation Centre in Western Ukraine, where they are currently being detained.

They were rounded up by police at the end of December 2011 and detained for being illegally present in Ukraine.

“Somali nationals in Ukraine have been driven to despair by a vicious cycle of detention and harassment by the police, as well as by an asylum system that fails to protect them,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s expert on Ukraine.”

“Everyone knows – the police, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Somalis themselves – that they won’t ever be deported. What they need – and are entitled to – is protection, not repeated punishment for fleeing famine and war.”

“Many flee across the border to the EU, only to be returned to Ukraine. Many have been detained repeatedly ‘for the purposes of deportation’ at the Zhuravichi Migrant Accommodation Centre.”

In a letter to Ukraine’s Minister of Interior, Amnesty International called on the Ukrainian authorities to live up to their obligations by ensuring that Somalis have access to a fair asylum procedure and to complementary protection if they cannot be recognized as a refugees.

Sultan Haib, one of the Somali nationals being held in Zhuravichi, told Amnesty International that detention for the purposes of deportation is pointless:
“Nobody is going to return and nobody is going to deport you. After 12 months you are let out. We are not criminals. Why is the government doing this to us?”

“Those currently detained include children. Children should only be detained as a last resort and unaccompanied child asylum-seekers are particularly vulnerable and should be offered additional protection,” said Heather McGill.

“There can be no question of returning Somalis indiscriminately to Somalia where the ongoing armed conflict will endanger their lives. Ukraine has an international obligation not to send anybody to a country where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations.”

“The Ukrainian authorities must immediately release all those they have no practical prospect or principled justification for deporting and ensure that they have access to asylum procedures.”

Issue

Detention 
Refugees, Displaced People And Migrants 

Country

Ukraine 

Region

Europe And Central Asia 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

21 August 2014

Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

29 August 2014

The execution of two men in Japan on Friday flies in the face of growing calls in the country to halt the use of capital punishment, said Amnesty International.

Read more »
29 August 2014

Russia’s official branding of a civil society organization as a “foreign agent”, an expression akin to “spying”, for speaking out on Ukraine is a sign of the country’s... Read more »

31 August 2014

Egypt is tightening its chokehold on civil society as the country’s independent NGOs face the risk of being shut down if they fail to comply with a compulsory requirement to... Read more »