Secure and tolerant country

Sholeh Safavi, of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, has told the New Horizon International Contest on the Rights of Refugees at the Belarusian Interior Ministry’s Academy that Belarus offers a safe haven for refugees, since it does not choose to immediately return them to their country of origin.

By Mikhail Malashenkov

The country considers their petitions carefully and provides schooling for the children of those applying for refugee status, as it does for Belarusian citizens. Asylum seekers are also granted equal rights to seek employment and social protection. According to UNHCR data, over the last 2-3 years, 150-160 people have annually applied to the Belarusian authorities for refugee status. Moreover, 5-10 percent of these receive this status; the others are granted additional forms of protection or residence permits. Belarus primarily remains a transit country for those who see themselves as refugees.

Ms. Safavi underlined that Belarus is a secure and tolerant country, adding that refugees are primarily seeking safe asylum. Representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan took part in the international competition in Minsk, featuring Sholeh Safavi.

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