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Call for improving migration-related legislation in Belarus

26.05.16

Belarusian legislation in the field of migration needs improving, Belarusian Deputy Interior Minister Nikolai Melchenko said at a roundtable Migration in the Republic of Belarus: Trends, Challenges, Prospects on 26 May, BelTA has learned.

“Belarus is facing new challenges and threats arising from the international political, economic and environmental situation. We should improve the legal framework in the field of migration, introduce new forms and methods of work, and use modern information technologies and resources,” Nikolai Melchenko pointed out.

He emphasized that the state sees migrants not just as subjects of monitoring and regulation but as individuals with their own needs and problems and potential to make contribution to the country's development.

Zeynal Hajiyev, Chief of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Belarus, noted that although Belarus has not been directly affected by the refugee crisis, it is involved in the processes as a transit country and is an immediate neighbor of the European Union. “To address the migration challenges effectively, Belarus needs a proper migration policy based on commitment to international standards and respect for migrants and reflecting current realities and national interests. Besides, the government should use the potential of the migration processes to promote the social and economic development of the society,” Zeynal Hajiyev emphasized.

The Chief of the IOM Mission spoke about three trends that have emerged in recent years and that now directly affect the general migration situation in the country. The first one is the growing importance of labor migration as Belarus is both a donor and a recipient of labor migrants. The second is the large inflow of Ukrainian nationals, mainly forced migrants from the south-eastern part of the country. Finally, the migration situation is influenced by the rise in irregular transit migration through Belarus. All these and some other migration-related issues are on the agenda of the roundtable.

The event has been organized by the Belarusian Interior Ministry and the IOM Mission in Belarus with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Partaking in the roundtable are representatives of government agencies, international organizations, public associations, academia, diplomatic corps, private sector and also independent experts.

The roundtable will develop recommendations on how to tackle the migration issues Belarus is faced with. The document will be used to draft an effective migration policy.

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