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IOM-led Monitoring Checked Holding Facilities for Irregular Migrants in Zakarpattia

25 April 2012

Representatives of Ukrainian governmental bodies, international organizations, Ombudsman?s Office, Embassy of the Netherlands and NGOs visited three special holding facilities for irregular migrants in Zakarpattia: Chop Temporary Holding Facility (THF), Mukachevo THF and Luzhanka Special Premise (SP). These facilities with the capacity of 60, 32 and 6 places respectively are administered by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.

The visit took place in the framework of the Observatory Mechanism, coordinated by IOM and designed to conduct joint assessments of migrants? accommodation conditions.

After touring the facilities the participants of the mission confirmed positive changes comparing to previous years. Accommodation conditions have been considerably improved according to participants? impressions. Due to recent legislative changes, irregular migrants are detained in THFs for several days maximum, (comparing to possible several months detention in previous years).

At the moment of monitoring migrants were detained only in the Chop THF and claimed no problems with their basic needs satisfaction. Availability of written information on migrants? rights translated in several languages was positively assessed by the monitors.

One of the practical recommendations developed as an immediate result of the visit concerned a need to avoid detention of unaccompanied minors by immediately informing relevant state authorities on the fact of children?s apprehension.

IOM Ukraine assists migrants in the Chop THF through its partner NGO ?Caritas?, providing social, psychological and medical assistance. IOM also guarantees migrants? access to legal advice and provides translation if needed. Starting from May 2012 IOM will also extend its legal and interpreter assistance to the Mukachevo THF and Luzhanka SP.

Monitoring missions to the temporary holding facilities and migrant accommodation centres are organized by IOM in the framework of the EU-funded SIREADA Project, aimed to support the implementation of the EU Readmission Agreements with Ukraine, Moldova, and the Russian Federation. The successive handover of the responsibility of full coverage of migrants? basic needs in detention from international organizations to the Governments of Moldova and Ukraine is planned by 1 September 2012. The provision of legal assistance to detained migrants within the framework of the SIREADA project will be upheld until February 2013.

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