Migrants treated with tolerance

UNHCR Representative to Belarus, Sholeh Safavi, tells press conference that Belarus has become a safe haven for refugees

“The tolerance demonstrated by Belarusian society is essential for migrants and refugees, since it helps them start a new, decent life,” Ms. Safavi stressed. She thanked state bodies, as well as non-state organisations, scientific establishments and the media for efficient partnership and true professionalism throughout all the stages of collaboration.

The UNHCR Representative Office opened in Belarus in July 1995, aiming to help Belarus fulfil its international obligations relating to the protection of refugees. In recent years, the UNHCR has invested $8.5m in refugee assistance projects, in addition to funds provided by the state.

“Amid the expansion of the European Union’s borders, the UNHCR is determined to strengthen the potential of the refuge institution in the context of mixed migration flow, creating an enabling environment for the integration of refugees,” Ms. Safavi explained. She noted that, amid the current political situation, the problem of major displacement of people is unlikely to ease. Belarus will be affected by this problem sooner or later. However, Ms. Safavi is convinced that the Belarusian authorities will be able to handle the increased inflow of asylum seekers. Ms. Safavi expressed her hope that, being active in fighting human trafficking, Belarus will campaign for countries’ joining the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

The UNHCR runs offices in 110 countries worldwide to help refugees regain their lives after being forced to leave their homeland. Ms. Safavi informs us that, in 2011, the UNHCR rolled out its ‘1’ campaign to increase awareness of the needs and problems of each forcibly displaced person.

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