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Illegal detention of Somalis in Ukraine continues

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17 April, 2012 in English News by Baidoanews Webmaster
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    Illegal detention of Somalis in Ukraine continues

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Although the hunger strike of 83 Somalis in detention in Ukraineended on 17 February, the campaign to fight against the violations of human rights of these detainees, and other asylum seekers, continues. Eighty-one Somalis (two of the original 83 have been released after serving their ‘sentence’), who were on hunger strike from 6 January to 17 February, are still detained within the nightmare of Ukraine’s ‘asylum procedure’.


In theory, they have been detained in order for the Ukrainian State Migration Service to obtain travel documents and deport them to Somalia. But a spokesperson for the Ukrainian State Migration Service has said publicly that no Somalis will be deported to Somalia. (It is impossible to deport anyone to Somalia anyway, due to the continued violence there.) In addition, the European Court of Human Rights has declared that deporting Somalis to Somalia would breach Article 3 (the article against torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Yet the Somalis remain in detention. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch all state that their detention is illegal.

At the end of the hunger strike on 17 February, the detainees filled in application forms for ‘humanitarian protection’ at the request of the Ukrainian State Migration Service and the UNHCR. ‘Humanitarian protection’ is the type of residence permit that many Somalis obtain in EU countries. It gives them nearly the same rights as someone with refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

A spokesperson for the Somalis said that last Wednesday the Ukrainian State Migration Service rejected some of the Somalis’ applications on the basis that the applications are ‘manifestly unfounded’. This means that the application will not be properly considered, because the State Migration Service judges that there is no basis for the application. The State Migration Service had previously promised UNHCR that they would not do this.

At the end of their hunger strike, the Somalis wanted to lodge appeals against their detention. But lodging an appeal with the court is going to be difficult – they were never told that they had only 5 days to do so, and few did so in time. The courts may now refuse to accept any late appeals against detention.

Meanwhile, the EU is negotiating with Ukraine to create a new Ukraine EU Association Agreement, as a step towards eventual Ukrainian membership of the EU. The joint statements coming from the EU and Ukraine have many phrases about the requirement for a ‘clear and effective commitment to the core values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law


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