On the 31st of July 2014 International Organization for Migration, Mission in Belarus, represented by Zeynal Hajiyev, participated in the workshop on the issues of providing assistance to the persons arriving from Ukraine. The workshop organized by the Belarus Red Cross Society with the support of UNHCR brought together representatives of concerned governmental agencies, in particular of Ministries of Labour and Social Protection, Health Care, Education and Department of Citizenship and Migration (DCM), Ministry of the Interior, national NGOs active in the field as well as UNHCR and IOM.
Discussed during the meeting were the situation of Ukrainians arriving to Belarus as a result of latest developments in this neighboring country, the accurate statistics on those appealed for assistance to relevant governmental and/or non-governmental organizations in Belarus and the types of actual support they received. It was noted that over the last three four months the number of Ukrainians arriving in Belarus for either reason (in search of the refuge or for finding a safer place to wait over until the situation comes down in their homeland or for the purpose of finding a better paid jobs) has had a tendency to increase. Thus, according to the statistics of DCM of Ministry of the Interior, during the period from Jan till Jun 2014 over 20 000 Ukrainians were registered on the territory of Belarus, 2877 out of them received temporary residence permission, 1040 persons received permanent residence permission, almost 6000 persons received special work permission and 215 Ukrainians received refugee status. As far as the statistics of the Office on Citizenship and Migration of the Main directorate of Internal Affairs of the Minsk city Executive Committee is concerned, the situation regarding Ukrainians in Minsk and Minsk region is as follows: during the first half year 563 Ukrainians applied for consultations, 1940 Ukrainians applied for and received special work permission. In July total number of Ukrainians applied for special work permission accounts for 684 persons, 459 of which already have special permission and 185 applications are still under consideration.
Participants discussed in details the types of support Ukrainians currently need in Belarus, the assistance Belarusian Government has been and will be providing to them as pertains to the legalization of their status or employment, access to health care and education, meeting their needs in shelter/accommodation. Representatives of other participating organizations, NGOs, IOM and UNHCR, also shared information on the types of assistance they have provided or can provide to the vulnerable Ukrainians arriving in Belarus. Participants noted that the situation with the in-flow of Ukrainians to Belarus is not alarming and there’s no humanitarian crisis however, latest statistics reveal that all parties should be prepared to worse scenarios in case if the situation further deteriorates in Ukraine. And to this end, the participants agreed that the cooperation and coordination should be strengthened between all concerned governmental, non-governmental and international actors and developed concrete recommendations for the follow-up actions.
At the end, upon HCR’s suggestion it was decided to hold another workshop in October 2014 with the aim to monitor the implementation of the proposed recommendations.