Last week 57 Somalis went on hunger strike at Temporary Holding Facility (THF) in Volyn. Illegal migrants demand immediate release and issue of documents for legitimate residence in Ukraine. However Migration Service reports: the hunger strike of the Somalis is a “play to audience”. What is real situation – it was examined by our correspondents.
THF is in the village of Zhuravychi. There are 126 migrants here. There are 57 migrants from Somalia among them. Forty of them refused to visit dining room a week ago. “But it does not mean that they do not eat”, – the staff of the centre says.
Oleksandr Lukaschuk, deputy director of THF:
- They eat food, which they get by parcels from friends living in Ukraine or beyond its borders. Not all visit the dining room.
Somalis do not have claims to administration and holding conditions. They are not satisfied by the Law of Ukraine, which came into force on December 25, 2012. Now, illegal migrants are kept at THFs not six months as it was before, but a year. So to say, this fact breaks their rights. Human Rights Organization Amnesty International has spoken in support of Africans and appealed to Ukrainian power to release the migrants from Somalia and to guarantee them right for protection. The representatives of local Refugee Department visited the centre in Zhuravychi.
Nataliya Naumenko, director of Refugee Department of Migration Service of Ukraine:
- The trip was organized with the aim to be convinced that the statement of such respectful organization as’ Amnesty International” as to violation of human rights, in particular Somali foreigners staying at this establishment, is more excogitated than is real.
It was not succeeded to get any comments from Somalis. According to the words of the management team of the centre, they refused categorically to talk “on camera”. Instead, they spent some hours talking with representative f UNO. According to their words, they managed to get on well with Somalis.
Noel Kalhun, regional counselor on legal issues of Supreme Commissar of UNO:
- These are people fleeing from such a serious situation as in Somalia. It gives them hope that they at least got to a safe place. People heard about the procedure they would undergo, what they should expect. Because they wanted to hear what are the further steps. They heard that Migration Service would accept their applications, it would consider applications concerning different forms of protection.
State Migration Service assures that they keep all resolutions of UNO concerning Somalis. They will not be sent to the country of their origin. However, first they will check once more if migrants are really from Somalia. And then, a decision will be made as to each f them. Four migrants wished to get refugee status and have already written corresponding applications.