Seminar for Capital City Officials (Kyiv, Minsk, Vilnius, Warsaw) in the Context of the Four-Country Cross-Border Co-operation Enhancement Process
On 30-31 May 2002, UNHCR held a seminar for capital city officials from Kyiv, Minsk, Vilnius and Warsaw within the context of the Four-Country Cross-Border Co-operation Enhancement (“Söderköping”) Process. This initiative enacted a proposal by the Kyiv Migration Service to promote co-operation between capital cities and to share their main experiences and concerns in asylum and migration issues.
Capital city officials of migration and border management structures from Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, Ministry of Interior officials in charge of asylum seekers` and refugees` residence registration from Belarus and Ukraine, representatives from Latvia and Moldova as observers, as well as representatives of the SMB, the Swedish Embassy in Ukraine, UNHCR, and observers from the EC, UNDP and IOM attended the event.
Country representatives gave an overview of the situations in the fields of asylum, migration and border management and of refugee registration in Kyiv, Minsk, Vilnius and Warsaw. This was followed by presentations on EU standards on reception of asylum seekers (the SMB), on the rights and duties of asylum seekers and refugees (UNHCR), and on migration management programme (IOM). Group discussions dealt with access to territory and asylum procedures, including reception of illegal migrants and asylum seekers in capitals; rights granted and facilities available; accommodation of asylum seekers in capital cities; and support for refugee local integration.
Based of the above discussions, the participants recommended, inter alia, to:
pay much further attention to and investment in proper data collection and exchange; introduce information tools on asylum procedures and ensure migrants free access to them (working group on access to procedures and reception of asylum seekers);
urgently implement sufficient unbureaucratic mechanisms of issuing and registering ID documents to asylum seekers and refugees (working group on registration and documentation);
ensure access of recognised refugees and, to the extent possible, of asylum seekers to available socio-economic benefits; reform laws and policies to allow refugees to receive unemployment benefits and welfare like citizens; and provide access of recognised refugees to language and job-oriented professional training, etc. (working group on integration);
bring up the issue of agreements facilitating repatriation to the attention of the CIS Conference Follow-up process (working group on repatriation).
To ensure follow-up to the meeting and endorse the process of establishing mechanisms of enhanced cross-border co-operation, the participants proposed a more senior level meeting.