18.01.2012

Report from PRO ASYL and Border Monitoring Project Ukraine (BMPU) uncovers systematic exploitation of asylum seekers
European refugee policy is responsible for this, too

Refugees who are passing through Ukraine trying to reach the European Union are not only exposed to massive human rights violations, but also find themselves exposed to a system of extensive corruption. Whether it is release from detention, issuing of papers or a place in an accommodation for refugees: nothing of this is available for refugees in Ukraine without having to pay bribes. Often, even for help from non-governmental organizations the payment of bribes is necessary.

These conditions are documented in the 34-pages report published by PRO ASYL and Border Monitoring Project Ukraine (BMPU) “You want to be free? You pay money!”. The report is based on research in Ukraine which has been conducted over several years and which involved around one hundred interviews with refugees. The results are alarming: reports of corruption are running like a red thread through almost all biographies of asylum seekers who were passing through Ukraine on their escape route to the EU.

This is particularly scandalous against the background that for years the EU is granting organizational as well as financial support to Ukraine to build up a migration system which prevents refugees to reach Europe. For many years, neighboring countries such as Hungary and Slovakia deport refugees back to Ukraine. It is the increasing externalization of the European refugee protection to neighboring third countries which further reinforces the corruption documented by the report: If countries as the Ukraine – where wages and remunerations are scarcely enough to make a living – are stopping refugees on behalf of the EU, it is not surprising, that asylum seekers are exposed to corruption. Therefore it is not only the Ukraine which has to fight against corruption in the Ukrainian Asylum System.

PRO ASYL and Border Monitoring Project Ukraine call on the Ukrainian investigative authorities to prosecute cases of corruption within the asylum and detention system. Further to this, the European Union as a partner and promoter of the Ukrainian migration and asylum system has to take control measures against corruption. The same is to be done by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UNHCR, their Ukrainian partner organizations and any other organizations that are involved in the Ukrainian asylum system. Refugees who are victims or witnesses of corruption must be given the opportunity to press charges without fearing the retaliation from the offenders. The systematic black mailing of asylum seekers in Ukraine must be stopped immediately. Especially Hungary and Slovakia must urgently stop illegal deportations to Ukraine.

The complete report in English can be found at bit.ly/Corruption-Report_Ukraine as well as on the homepages of Pro Asyl (www.proasyl.de) and Border Monitoring Project Ukraine (www.bordermonitoring-ukraine.eu). On demand we will send you an in print version of the report. 

On request we are also able to arrange the contacts to some of the refugees who in the meantime are living in Germany. 

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