The UN Refugee Agency calls on Ukrainian authorities to protect a refugee recognized in the US


The Regional Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees encourages the Ukrainian authorities to extend protection to a US recognized refugee who has been detained at Boryspil airport on February 5, 2013, in response to an Interpol red flag. The person is currently being held under temporary arrest while the General Prosecutor?s Office is considering the request for his extradition.

In accordance with international and Ukrainian law, refugee status has an international character.  That is, if one state recognizes a person as a refugee, then other states shall respect that determination and extend protection. Crucially, that protection shall include prevention of refoulement, i.e., forcible return to an individual?s country of origin where it has been determined that he would face a well-founded fear of persecution. 

UNHCR praises the authorities for granting UNHCR access to this person. UNHCR remains in contact with the refugee and his Ukrainian lawyer, as well as the appropriate authorities, notably the General Prosecutor?s Office and the State Migration Service. 

UNHCR remains confident that Ukraine will decline the extradition request and release this individual as soon as possible, in accordance with its obligations under international law. 



For further information please contact Nina Sorokopud, Associate Regional PI Officer at UNHCR Regional Representation for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, Public Information Unit. Tel.: +380 44 288-97-10, +380 67 505 00 56 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Web-site:


Background information:


• The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was established on December 14, 1950. It became operational on January 1, 1951. UNHCR?s contributions to the world peace have been recognized with Nobel Peace prizes in 1954 and 1981.
• UNHCR works in Ukraine since March 1994. From 1996 to 2011 UNHCR contributed over 36 million USD to Ukraine. UNHCR programmes have over the years enhanced the capacities of numerous Government agencies and non-governmental organization and provided life sustaining assistance to thousands of individuals (direct assistance in the form of food and non-food items, medical assistance or monthly subsistence allowance in 2011 amounted to 450,000 USD).
• UNHCR has since its inception provided training and material support in the form of equipment (computers, vehicles, refurbishment of premises) to numerous Government agencies (the State
• Committee for Nationalities and Religions, Regional Migration Services, Border Guards) to the tune of 2.5 million USD.
• As of January 1, 2013 there are app. 2,500 recognized refugees and 5,875 registered stateless persons in Ukraine.
• In 2011, the three countries? programmes (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine) managed by the UNHCR Regional Representation in Kyiv amounted to 4.7 million USD ex-staffing.
• UNHCR provides protection to refugees and other displaced persons on a non-political and humanitarian basis. The objective is to seek permanent solutions for persons who depend on international protection which, in the event of impossibility of return to the country of origin, entails providing for a supportive environment to integrate locally.
• Globally there are 43 million forcibly displaced persons, the majority of whom receive some form of UNHCR assistance (15.2 million refugees, 27.1 million internally displaced, 983 thousand asylum seekers).
• There are as many as 12 million stateless persons around the globe and 6.6 million are known to UNHCR in some 60 countries world wide.
• Over the past 60 years UNHCR has saved millions of lives, by bringing donor funds and international political will to bear on the world?s refugee problems on a scale unimaginable prior to its founding.
• In addition to saving lives, UNHCR continues to help millions of people to rebuild their lives, to return safely home or to find new homes.
• UNHCR notes that Ukraine accepted to abide by international refugee law 10 years ago by acceding to the 1951 Convention related to the status of refugees and currently in the process of acceding to the 1954 and 1961Conventions on Statelessness.