U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Belarus
|Publisher||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants|
|Publication Date||25 May 2004|
|Cite as||United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Belarus , 25 May 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/40b459334.html [accessed 23 April 2014]|
At the end of 2003 about 3,400 asylum seekers and refugees in need of protection were living in Belarus. These included about 600 persons recognized as refugees by the government, 300 persons who were registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and 2,500 persons – mostly from outside the former Soviet Union who were rejected by the Belarusan authorities but whom UNHCR continues to regard as "of concern." During the year, 138 persons filed asylum applications in Belarus, of whom 63 were recognized as refugees. Five applications were pending at year's end.
During the year, some 3,400 Belarusans applied for asylum abroad and about 4,300 were refugees or asylum seekers at year's end. About 16,000 stateless persons of former Soviet origin were living in Belarus in refugee-like circumstances.
Belarus' new Law on Refugees, drafted with advice from UNHCR and nongovernmental organizations, entered into force in 2003, removing certain grounds for inadmissibility into the asylum procedure, extending refugee status beyond three years, and protecting unaccompanied minors.
The new law also to soften a strict "safe third country" provision that bared asylum seekers if they traveled through countries where they ostensibly could have requested asylum, including all neighboring countries. As such, asylum seekers who transited through Russia – previously denied asylum – may now apply for asylum. Chechens have been barred in the past.