Can people be illegal? Seminar on the problems of refugees held in ADC “Memorial”

On December 10th, 2011, a seminar dedicated to the problems of refugees was held in ADC “Memorial”. Various experts and specialists from different countries and organisations, working in the field of assistance to refugees, participated in it: Irina Fedorovich (Ukraine) – participant of the project “No borders” of the Social Action Centre (SAC), Benedict Braconne (France) – activist in the field of protection of the rights of refugees, and Valens Maniragena – head of the organisation “African Unity” (St. Petersburg).

Speakers discussed many topics related to the lives of the refugees: for example, what is the situation with the refugees in Ukraine, France and Russia; is it possible to obtain political asylum and refugee status in Ukraine with the example of the case of Dennis Solopov; how does the protection of refugees in the European Union work within the framework of the Dublin Convention; how effective is the legislation that allows to obtain asylum; what is the situation of the immigrants from Africa: economic and political causes of flight from African countries; whether hate crimes against migrants exist.

Also, an excerpt from a movie “Nowhere in Europe”» (directed by Kirstin Nikish) was shown during the seminar. The film is dedicated to the conditions of Chechen refugees in the European Union: the people traumatised by wars collide with indifference of a wealthy European society.

The discussion pertained to the problem of obtaining a political asylum or refugee status in Ukraine and countries of the European Union: on the one hand, this is a very complex and lengthy procedure, on the other hand, such status is usually denied. In addition to this, the probability of obtaining a refugee status varies from country to country (for example, it is more possible to obtain this status in France than in Poland). The civil society and activists from all countries, to the extent of their means and capabilities, try to use legislation – both national and international – to legalise the stay of stateless persons and forcefully displaced persons, as well as to fight “legal nihilism” and stereotypes of society that “not all migrants may be refugees, and not all refugees are migrants.”

Эта запись так же доступна на: Russian