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1 Local Integration of Refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Strategy for Action Gaspar Bergman Head of Secretariat, Söderköping Process* *The Cross-Border.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Local Integration of Refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Strategy for Action Gaspar Bergman Head of Secretariat, Söderköping Process* *The Cross-Border."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Local Integration of Refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Strategy for Action Gaspar Bergman Head of Secretariat, Söderköping Process* *The Cross-Border Co-operation/Söderköping Process is a project funded by the European Union. The views expressed in this presentation do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.

2 2 Objectives / Why this analysis? Government request Integration is key & foreseen by Art. 34 of 51 Convention Need to review achievements Integration complex/no single recipe Signals indicative of problems Many partial initiatives - never holistic effort to assess all aspects Identify gaps / good practices / analyze options Think in terms of sub-region Formulate recommendations to Gvts and relevant actors

3 3 Methodology  Independence & candid observations  Based on empirical findings – triangulation  Parallel work in 3 countries/levels  Close coordination with relevant centr.authority  Actively seek-out issues/stakeholders  Corroborate/cross reference  Voluntary & confidential interviews

4 Final results 3 countries /number of localities capitals & Gomel, Svetlogorsk, Vitebsk, Odessa, Vinitsa, central and local authorities Over 130 interviews with Gvt, NGOs, RCOs, Ios 210 interviews with refugees, hum. status, naturalized & stateless > standard questionnaire Review of basic documentation/legislation Final report consisting over 200 recommendations 26 recommendations generic and applicable to all App. 60 country-specific recommendations each

5 5 Final report/ headings Institution-building, national integration policy International cooperation & resettlement needs Respect of refugee rights & access to information Documents and translation of documents Language skills, education, employment Housing, social and health issues Legal counseling and capacity of NGOs Naturalization procedures/citizenship Local community relations

6 6 Final report / Annexes Consists analysis of questionnaires per country presenting series charts, which illustrate the socio-economic and legal situation of refugees Respondents’ evaluation of quality of assistance provided by the local authorities, UNHCR and its’ implementation partners (NGOs) Comparative Statistical Analysis of 3 countries Selected quotations from individual interviews Final report in English and in Russian available: &

7 7 Generic common findings  Integration - no concept/plan, no dedicated staff, no budgets  Many macro economic factors of influence  Asylum systems developed partially (legal area/structures) Legislation /by-laws not harmonized  Except primary responsible Gvt officials most unaware  Absence of Gvt responsibility/authority – NGOs plugging holes Structures in-transparent do not engender trust UNHCR keeps subsidizing ad hoc most urgent  Commitment - nominal – no evidence of action except local  Gvts keep/reduce expenditures below thresholds / re-organize  Expectation that any expenditures should be externally funded  UNHCR attention/resources minimal & pulling out No other international agency engaged  Refugee communities weak / not sufficiently anchored

8 8 GENERIC / COMMON FINDINGS 1  Main issues: Housing / income / documentation  Housing very poor; still it absorbs most of income  Status in labor market is weak  Most employed work at markets, legally or illegally  Women isolated, the young without perspectives  Poverty affects not only individuals, families but sometimes also entire ethnic communities (Africans)  Relations with locals (levels of tolerance, racism) range considerably from country to country  Many refugees exhausted => dependency syndrome  Many wish to leave – legally, illegally, volrep

9 9 GENERIC / COMMON FINDINGS 2  Vulnerable would not survive very well without UNHCR  No equal access to many foreseen rights Trying to navigate confusing/contradictory/corrupt systems Remain more vulnerable than locals Little attention to past trauma / cultural differences  Overtly complex registration / documentation procedures (many rights connected to “propiska” mentality)  Integration crucial – but stagnating / reverses Refugees have little assistance to exercise their rights Rights violated / problem compounded Spontaneous departures / lower numbers applying

10 10 GENERIC / COMMON FINDINGS 3  Consensus that measures necessary BUT except education little done in housing, medical, guidance, language training, job assistance etc.  Presumption that refugees already equal (legally)  Social systems for citizens weak / exclude refugees Either by ignorance or rule  Current efforts do not empower but keep most dependent  Perception of reality differs in eyes of Gvt & refugee  Officials skeptical / do not know / have no funds / lack the authority/skills to promote change

11 11 JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS 1  Develop a comprehensive national integration policy  Identify a central specialized unit  Entrust it with primary responsibility for all matters pertaining to integration: To manage and define the implementation of a strategy To draw up budgets and to coordinate responses at central and local levels  Establish an integration specific budgetary line  Undertake an inventory of existing relevant legislation, identify legal/procedural gaps/deficiencies and take corrective measures

12 12 JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS 2  Seek co-financing from international sources for major projects (housing, employment, education and re-qualification programmes for refugees)  Secure the necessary trainings/study trips to examine best practices from integration policies adopted elsewhere  Establish cross-regional partnerships with similar agencies that have developed refugee integration programmes in comparable circumstances  Int. org. should provide assistance to Gvts to enhance their capacity to define and implement relevant integration projects

13 13 JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS 3  Establish a budget for interpretation and written translations required for official purposes  Train interpreters  Provide refugees with relevant guidance in the form of brochures in appropriate languages  Train authorities to recognize refugee documents and the rights they are entitled to  Increase authorities’ awareness of their obligation to provide administrative assistance to refugees  Budget funds to implement language courses per person

14 14 JOINT RECOMMENDATIONS 4  RAISE AWARENESS: Inform employers that recognized refugees have equal rights to work  PROVIDE TRAINING: Ensure that e.g. employment offices fulfill their duties to assist refugees.  AMEND PRACTICES: Eliminate dispensable administrative requirements which hinder refugees’ access to employment, housing, training, education, credits, pensions…  SEARCH EXPERTISE: Look for international assistance how to design new affordable social housing programmes and to attract appropriate bi- and multilateral donor funding


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