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Vitebsk refugee accommodation center to grow bigger

17.08.2018 The refugee accommodation center in Vitebsk is going to move to a new building, Jean-Yves Bouchardy, Representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Republic of Belarus, said as he met with staff of the Vitebsk Regional Organization of the Belarus Red Cross Society.

Jean-Yves Bouchardy noted that the refugee accommodation center has been working in Vitebsk since 2001. Representatives of the municipal government and the migration service met a day before to discuss the need to find a new building to accommodate the center. The current building is old and its repair can solve the problem only partially. One of the most important criteria for a new building is a convenient location within a walking distance to the Belarus Red Cross Society office, police departments, and the Russian language courses. Apart from that, there are plans to expand the center, so the building should be big enough to accommodate up to 50 people (now it can house just up to 30 refugees). The center will have not only residential premises, but also auxiliary facilities and a playroom for children. Vitebsk Oblast is home to about 50 refugees, mostly from Ukraine. This year financial assistance to the amount of Br25,000 was provided to them from the funds of the UNHCR; the necessary foodstuffs and personal hygiene products were purchased. Refugee children from Ukraine were invited to spend holidays at a summer camp in Postavy District. Head of the Vitebsk Regional Organization of the Belarus Red Cross Society Galina Zhelanova noted that the organization keeps in touch with several detention centers where illegal immigrants are kept. “We used to work only with the Vitebsk detention center, but this year the Vitebsk Oblast Police Department allowed us to visit people in other detention centers across the region. There is an arrangement with the Polotsk border guard service. Representatives of the Belarus Red Cross Society give the detained people an opportunity to call home and inform family members about their whereabouts. We visit them every week and give them foodstuffs (as agreed with healthcare workers), hygiene products, shoes and clothing,” Galina Zhelanova said. During his trip to Vitebsk, Jean-Yves Bouchardy is set to meet with representatives of the local business community to discuss employment opportunities for refugees. Jean-Yves Bouchardy will also meet with refugees, stateless persons and asylum seekers.

BelTA.

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