Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ukraine: Afghan citizens beaten in detention at Ukraine airport

Source: Amnesty International (AI)

Amnesty International has condemned the mistreatment of eight Afghan citizens awaiting deportation from Ukraine, who are being beaten by border guards and denied adequate food, water and medical treatment.

The eight men have been in detention at Boryspil Airport in Kyiv for three days and sources have told Amnesty International that, as a result of the ill-treatment, some of them are so severely injured that they are unable to lie down.

"The Ukrainian authorities must stop these deportations," said Andrea Huber, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

"They also need to rein in their border guards, and provide adequate medical treatment, food and water to these men as required by international law. The appalling reports of detainee abuse must be investigated immediately."

Some of the detained group applied for asylum in Ukraine, but their claims were rejected and they have not been able to appeal, contravening Ukraine's obligations under refugee law.

The Afghans claim that they were not provided with interpreters while claiming asylum, nor during the deportation procedure.

They also allege that they were required to sign documents in a language they do not understand, and that some were not present during the hearings on their cases.

"These people should not be deported until they have been given the right to appeal their asylum decision and effectively challenge their deportation, in line with Ukraine's domestic and international obligations," said Andrea Huber.

Amnesty International is also asking the Ukrainian authorities to ensure the detained men are given access to lawyers and the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

Six other Afghans who were originally detained with the group have already been deported to Afghanistan in the last two days, including an unaccompanied minor.

Also allegedly subjected to abuses by guards, some of these detainees self-harmed in protest but were deported anyway.