Russian Federation


Evelyne Schwarz

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Topic 1: Assisting the Return and Reintegration of Refugees

** An unprecedented rise of conflicts and crises has led to a major surge in the number of displaced people worldwide, thereby putting the refugee problem at the forefront of the international political agenda. The Syrian crisis continues to produce large numbers of displaced persons, both within and outside of Syria. As of December 2015, 6.5 million people were internally displaced, while 4.2 million sought refuge in other countries. Moreover, the situation in Ukraine is of deep concern to Russia, too, since it caused high numbers of Ukrainians to flee their country. Between April 2014 and March 2016, 1.1 million Ukrainian citizens from the South-East of Ukraine arrived in Russia. About 426 thousand of them requested temporary asylum or refugee status. These developments highlight the great importance of finding a long-term solution for refugees by determining the best ways to assist their voluntary repatriation and reintegration into their home country.

By signing the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol that removed the geographic and temporal limits of the 1951 Convention, the Russian Federation has underlined its concern with the protection of refugees and its adherance to the concept of non-refoulement. It urges that these concepts are preserved and upheld in order to ensure the safeguard of refugees, especially in the wake of the current high number of people fleeing their homes. In its Federal Law No. 4528-I, the Law on Refugees, Russia adopted the 1951 Refugee Convention’s definition of a refugee into national law by defining a refugee as

‘a person who is not a citizen of the Russian Federation and who because of a well-founded fear of becoming a victim of persecution by reason of race, religion, citizenship, national or social identity or political convention is to be found outside the country of his nationality and [...] cannot return to it and does not wish to do so because of such fear.’ (Art. 1 (1))

Russia regards the protection of refugees as pivotal and therefore considers the work of the UNHCR as highly significant, especially in the light of the refugee crisis. It supports the UNHCR thus with annual voluntary contributions to programs of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, amongst which were in 2014-2015 $1 million for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria. The Russian Federation continues its support of UNHCR programs by donating another...

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