Kyiv, 10 October 2013 – UNHCR Regional Representation for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine in partnership with the Institute of International relations of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University and Ukrainian Association of International Law held the seminar “International Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons in Ukraine.”

UNHCR Deputy Regional Representative Vanno Noupech in the opening speech mentioned that European standards in the area of human rights protection, and namely refugees and asylum seekers, are constantly updated. He also paid attention to the fact that professionals working in the field of refugee protection in Ukraine could never stop learning and upgrading. “It is a demanding field of study, but one that is worthwhile in its humanitarian mission, as well as one that is intellectually fascinating.”

UNHCR Senior Regional Protection Officer Noel Calhoun stated that Ukraine had made certain progress in the area of asylum since the State Migration Service of Ukraine was established in 2010. In 2012 152 persons received the status of refugee or complementary protection, in comparison with 2010 when only 124 persons were given the status of refugee. However, neighbouring Romania and Hungary granted the status of refugee to 305 and 460 persons respectively. Such comparison highlights a number of problems in the legislation of Ukraine, and great efforts shall be made to update the procedure of granting the status of refugee and complementary protection.

Independent expert Valentyna Subotenko stressed that Ukraine has to make legislative alterations to implement the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons of 1954, applying the practice of the states of Europe.

During discussion the participants suggested a number of steps necessary for further cooperation to update the legislation of Ukraine in the field of asylum in accordance with the European standards.

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