A new 7-million euro project on addressing irregular migration was officially launched in Minsk on 23 October 2018. The irregular migration management is one of the priority issues for almost every country, including Belarus which faces a 30% increase of irregular migrants this year as compared to last year.
The project “Helping Belarus address the phenomenon of increasing numbers of irregular migrants” is a 4-year EU-funded project to be implemented by IOM Belarus jointly with the Ministry of the Interior and the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus. Among other project partners are UNHCR Office in Belarus and civil society organizations – the Belarus Red Cross Society and the Belarusian Movement of Medical Workers.
The idea of the project we are launching today emerged some years ago when the EU and Belarus started to negotiate visa facilitation and readmission agreements and later the EU-Belarus Mobility Partnership that was agreed on in 2016”, – tells Andrea Wiktorin, Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to Belarus.
The main purpose of the project is to help Belarus develop and implement a comprehensive migration policy in compliance with the international standards. The project has three key components:
1. Amendment of legislation following a comprehensive gap and needs assessment and capacity building activities for competent migration specialists.
2. Establishment of a sustainable national AVRR system and provision of voluntary return and reintegration assistance to the most vulnerable migrants.
3. Construction and refurbishment of several specialized semi-open migrant accommodation centres in line with the best EU practices and international standards for constructing and maintaining such facilities.
Zeynal Hajiyev, Chief of IOM Mission in Belarus, pointed out that
the successful implementation of the project will require maximum involvement, flexibility and readiness for change from all concerned stakeholders to ensure that all project activities are always based on respect for the human rights of migrants.
EU and Belarus are at the final stage of negotiations on Readmission agreement under which Belarus will have an obligation to readmit migrants who entered EU from the territory of Belarus in an irregular manner. This project will help Belarus fulfill its obligations under the future Readmission agreement in compliance with international standards,
– said Nickolay Melchenko, Deputy Minister of the Interior.
By 2022 Belarus with the support of EU, IOM and other project stakeholders will have a comprehensive irregular migration management system, contemporary migrant accommodation infrastructure and effective AVRR system that would altogether operate with respect for gender dimension and migrants rights.
Within the opening ceremony IOM, UNHCR, State Border Committee and Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Belarus signed the Additional Protocol to the Protocol on the issue of monitoring of access of foreign nationals and stateless persons to the refugee status or complementary protection determination procedure in the Republic of Belarus.