19.06.2017 Print

Opening of the seminarA three-day seminar for young representatives of national communities and Belarusian public associations took place on June 16-18, 2017. The event was organized by INA "Evolutio" with the support of the UNHCR Office in the Republic of Belarus. Despite the days off, there was an active discussion of topical issues of persons under the UNHCR mandate. Together, a number of sociocultural initiatives were developed that could facilitate the life in Belarus of those who found asylum and a new home here.

The event was aimed at increasing the capacity of young people / representatives of different nationalities, discussing and developing joint sociocultural initiatives and addressing refugee issues in the field of employment, medical services, leisure activities; formation of tolerant attitude towards them; establishment of relations and contacts between representatives of national communities and Belarusian public associations.

Representatives of partner organizations dealing with refugee issues took part in the seminar: the Department on Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, the Belarusian Red Cross Society, the Refugee Counseling Service, and the CCA "Evrika". Belarusian public organizations were also represented, including those dealing with issues of interethnic relations, such as the Belarusian Republican Youth Union, the Department of Educational Work with Youth of the Belarusian State University and the Council of BSU Communities. Participants of the seminar noted the special significance and importance of the presence at the seminar of Group discussionpersons who are of concern to UNHCR, who received subsidiary protection on the territory of the Republic of Belarus or stateless persons. During the seminar, the participants described their activities, got acquainted with the evolution of the concept of tolerance in Europe and the Republic of Belarus, and also talked directly with persons of concern to UNHCR in the Republic of Belarus. A number of problematic issues were outlined, including questions of medical care for persons who received subsidiary protection; registration issues in the Republic of Belarus; possibility of receiving free psychological assistance to asylum seekers; questions of the departure of stateless persons from the Republic of Belarus abroad with a residence permit; and etc.

During the practical part of the seminar, participants were asked to split into groups and on the basis of all the abovementioned to develop a series of initiatives aimed to promote the integration of refugees and forced migrants in the Republic of Belarus. Participants proposed the following initiatives:
- the organization of a "round table" with UNHCR - The Ministry of Healthcare in order to conduct explanatory work on the issue of what are the rights of persons granted refugee status or subsidiary protection in the Republic of Belarus;
- the possibility of making a sheet for refugees and persons granted subsidiary protection, with an explanation of their rights to demonstrate to government agencies and service providers in case of misunderstandings;
- the possibility of providing free psychological help to forced migrants in the regions;
Presentation of initiatives- carrying out activities at the international level for the exchange of experience at the level of the Ministry - state bodies - refugees or persons with subsidiary protection;
- working with diasporas;
- active informatization: awareness campaign (running line at Minsk National Airport or the train station with information about where forced migrants can go and what rights they have, surveys, questionnaires, opinion polls, broadcast video in the subway, in public places, handouts for different age groups, brochures for the public authorities, formation of groups in social networks to discuss these issues, development of quests on the theme of refugees and forced migration, in a similar way to a documentary film about refugees in Belarus - creation of animated films for children on these issues, formation of a collection of fairy tales from people all over the world, whose representatives are forced migrants in Belarus (Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Georgia and others.)).

On the third day of the seminar participants expressed their hope that these initiatives will be reflected in practice and thanked the organizers for the practical importance of holding such seminars with the participation of young representatives of national communities.

We, on the part of the organizers, thank all the guests and hope that such a seminar will be a good start for the joint implementation of the developed initiatives, and will also endure the conduct of similar annual events.

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