Round table on forced migration

Round table on forced migration was held on September 25 on the Faculty of International Relations of BSU

Within the framework of the meeting, they discussed the results of the implementation of the Law “On Granting Refugee Status, Subsidiary Protection, Asylum, and Temporary Protection in the Republic of Belarus to Foreign Citizens and Stateless Persons”. The latest edition of the document entered into force on July 1, 2017. During the discussion, experts considered the need to amend the document taking into account the current situation in Belarus, as well as the participation of states in the UN conventions on statelessness: convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons  (a person who has not received citizenship in the host country) in 1954 and convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in 1961.

On behalf of the Belarusian State University, Vice-Rector of BSU for Academic Affairs and Education Innovations Olga Chupris welcomed the guests. In her speech, she emphasized the importance of events on the topic of forced migration.

UNHCR Representative in the Republic of Belarus Jean-Yves Bouchardy noted that many consider the problem of statelessness invisible, but at the same time it exists: there are about 10 million stateless persons in the world. In accordance with article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “every person has the right to citizenship”.

The report “The role of Parliament in improving national legislation in the field of forced migration and citizenship” was delivered by Valentina Razhanets, Chairperson of the Standing Commission on Human Rights, National Relations and Mass Media of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus. In her speech, she noted that Belarusian legislation in the field of forced migration, according to experts, is a model for countries - members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus Alexey Begun highlighted the issues connected with asylum, citizenship, and statelessness in the Republic of Belarus: achievements requiring further improvement, issues and priority aim regarding the future development. He noted that the process of making proposals on Belarus joining the UN Conventions to reduce statelessness is nearing completion. Also in the near future, amendments will be made to the Law “On Citizenship of the Republic of Belarus”.

Leading specialist of the National Centre of Legislation and Legal Research of the Republic of Belarus Tatsiana Mikhaleva presented a report "The phenomena of citizenship and statelessness: basic concepts and existing challenges". In her report she made a review of existing best practices in resolving statelessness issues. 

Council of Europe expert, Director of the Migration Research Center (Moscow) Dmitry Poletaev talked about forced migration and statelessness in the post-Soviet space (on the example of Russia). He analyzed the current situation in the Russian Federation and prospects for solutions to this problem.

Associate Protection Officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the Republic of Belarus Timofey Solodkov stressed the attention on the UNHCR activities on statelessness. He told about the UNHCR Campaign to Eliminate Statelessness for 2014–2024: its goals, objectives, achievements and expected results and also underlined the importance of the UNHCR High-Level Segment on Statelessness (HLS).

The round table was organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Belarusian State University and International Non–governmental Association for Scientific Research, Information and Educational Programmes «Evolutio». The event was supported by the Council of Europe.

Full materials of the round table will be published shortly.


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