Treatment on return of failed asylum claimants [BYS30360.E]

Please note that Canada does not inform foreign governments "that their nationals being returned are failed refugee claimants" excepting those persons with criminal convictions, and that "we do not monitor the treatment of individuals who have been removed from Canada" (CIC 15 Apr. 1998).

Officials with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Minsk Office and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who were contacted by telephone on 30 October 1998, stated that they were unaware of any asylum claimants returning to Belarus. As such, they indicated that it is difficult to provide an answer to a general question since the answer depends on individual circumstances.

Given this, the Acting Head of Office of the IOM stated that if the failed asylum claimant were not a well-known political opponent of the government there likely would not be any problems upon their return. The Acting Head of Office did say that if the person were a high profile political opponent, they would not be "persecuted", but they could have difficulties in finding employment.

The Deputy Head to Belarus of OSCE stated that Belarus is a safe country and that nothing "bad" would happen to people returning. However, if the individual claimant had been a member of a political opposition group the Deputy Head stated that problems could be encountered. The Deputy Head asserted that in Belarus "they have political prisoners who were charged with criminal offences." The Deputy Head further likened the application of law in Belarus to the former Soviet Union stating that "the rule of law does not apply in Belarus." Furthermore, the Deputy Head said that if the individual claimant had been active in the political opposition then "they'd surely have problems finding work."

When the United States granted asylum to Zenon Poznyak and Sergei Naumchik of the Belarussian Popular Front in August 1996 (AFP 23 Aug. 1996; Reuters 23 Aug. 1996), Valeryy Tsepkala, Belarus' First Deputy Foreign Minister, stated that there was "no real ground" for political opponents to claim asylum (Belapan 28 Aug. 1996). A year later, Belarusian Presidential Spokesman Dusan Doskocil referred to reports of claims for asylum in the Czech Republic on the part of two members of the political opposition, as "a provocation by the opposition forces which are trying to create a negative image of the Belarusian leadership" (Interfax 27 Aug. 1997). Quoting an American State Department spokesperson Reuters also reported on 1 August 1996 that U.S. officials "[have] been concerned by a lot of the actions of the government and been concerned by some of the infringements on human rights."

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 23 August 1996. "US Grants Asylum to Two Belarussian Dissidents." (NEXIS)

Belapan [Minsk, in English]. 28 August 1996. "Belarus: U.S. Asylum for Dissidents May Not be Regarded as 'Friendly'." (FBIS-SOV-96-168 28 Aug. 1996/WNC).

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). 15 April 1998. E-mail.

Interfax [Moscow, in English]. 27 August 1997. "Belarus: Minsk BSF Opposition Members Claiming Asylum Abroad." (FBIS-SOV-97-239 27 Aug. 1997/WNC).

International Organization for Migration (IOM), Minsk Office. 30 October 1998. Telephone interview with Acting Head of Office.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). 30 October 1998. Telephone interview with Deputy Head to Belarus.

Reuters. 23 August 1996. "Two Belarussians Granted U.S. Asylum." (NEXIS)

_____. 1 August 1996. "U.S. Seriously Reviewing Belarussians' Asylum Plea." (NEXIS)