MINSK, 20 June (BelTA) – Last year's amendments to Belarusian laws have expanded the capabilities for helping forced refugees, BelTA learned from UNHCR Representative in the Republic of Belarus Jean-Yves Bouchardy on 20 June.
Jean-Yves Bouchardy said: “We believe that the revision of the law on forced migrants, which came into force in July 2017, is one of the key achievements of the country. The procedure for applying for shelter has been simplified. People under the purview of the UNHCR have been granted more rights. Their status in the country has improved. Ukrainian citizens, who have received additional protection, can now get all kinds of medical aid in state-run healthcare institutions for free on par with Belarusian citizens.”
In his words, in 2017 alone Belarus received applications for shelter from 748 foreign citizens, most of whom had come from Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria. The number was slightly smaller than the number registered in 2016. The UNHCR and partners work with every applicant on a case-by-case basis and with those, who came to Belarus earlier, providing targeted assistance to the most vulnerable ones. Via non-governmental partner organizations the UNHCR provides free consultations on legal affairs, humanitarian aid, social aid to vulnerable categories and helps pay for rented homes. A number of roundtable sessions on assistance with the employment of forced migrants have been held in all the oblast capitals of Belarus. Jean-Yves Bouchardy thanked government agencies, international and domestic partners, goodwill ambassadors, and members of the general public of Belarus for helping the people, who are forced to seek refuge outside their home country.More about Society