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Visiting Temporary Holding Facilities and Special Premises of Chop and Mukachevo Border Detachments on 19-20 of July 2011

03.08.11 | A. Chernousov, transl by M. Kolokolova
The first institution, which group visited, was the Chop Border Detachment. Today it serves about 150 km of border with Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. It is the most favorable for illegal crossing of border part of state border and accordingly it is the most strained for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine. Thats why the biggest number of arrests and detention in temporary holding facilities of the State border guard service of Ukraine occurs here. According to the data, provided by employees of SBGS of Ukraine in the THF since moment of its foundation more than 15 thousand people, over 30 nationalities have been held. Today among detainees are: over 50% - citizens from the Commonwealth of Independent States (mainly from Georgia, Moldova, Russia), about 20% - citizens of Ukraine; about 30% - citizens of Asia and Africa countries.
It should be noted, that THF of Chop Border Detachment is regularly visited. There are the Prosecutors supervision, representatives of the International Organization for Migration, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Command of the SBGS of Ukraine. Thus, various NGOs and international organizations visited the THF 64 times in 2010, and 28 in 2011. The Mission of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture visited Chop THF 3 times. Such intent attention to conditions of migrants detention impacted them and work on their improving. Thus, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine currently provides large-scale reconstruction of temporary holding facilities at border detachments, as well as special facilities for the detention of irregular migrants.
Detainees are brought to the THF from the border service divisions, where they were detained. In place of detention, a protocol on administrative detention or offense is drew up, if it is for irregular migrants, or protocol of detention on suspicion of committing a crime if a person who organizes human trafficking or contributes this. At arrival to THF all detainees held sanitize, their personal clothes are disinfected, a doctor examines the migrants. Detained persons are placed in compliance with the requirements of separate holding: men are separated from women, persons who have committed administrative offences are separated from persons suspected of committing a crime, adults and juveniles separated, previously convicted separated from the people who have brought to trial for the first time, as well as provided for separate detention of persons of different nationalities and religions. After placement of detainees to the THF a fingerprint analysis is done, an inquiry is conducted.
Generally, the capacity of THF at Chop Border Detachment is 50 persons. The temporary holding facility has two separate one-story buildings, located on the territory of Chop Border Detachment. Buildings include: duty shift room, sanitary inspection rooms (male and female), toilets, shower, a room for eating and heating food, inquiry rooms, rooms for holding irregular migrants, the cell for the detention of persons detained on suspicion of committing a crime, walking and exercise yard for women and children with swings and benches, as well as playground.
The THF has rooms for detention on 3, 4, 8 persons. All rooms are spacious enough, on average, slightly more than 4 square meters per person. Rooms have nice natural light, which is provided by big windows (1,35×1,35 m.). There are no water closets in cells. There are single-stage metal beds with mattresses, pillows and blankets in rooms, bed linen is provided at the time of placing the detainee. In rooms of female block wooden beds with special equipped with ladders.
Meals for inmates is provided in compliance with the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 16 June 1992 336 "About norms of meals for people, held in institutions of penal system, in temporary holding facilities, reception centers and other asylums of the Ministry of Interior from border detachments dining room. The THF is connected to the heating boiler of the border detachment. Sanitary condition of rooms is good, system of conditioning works; all rooms have with tiles floor. But, in some rooms there are no suction ventilation aperture that causes unpleasant smell at summer time. Also critical is the question of access to natural light in rooms for detainees from THF-2, for which we received an explanation that these rooms overlook the outer perimeter of the unit and for the prevention of unauthorized contacts from outside, frosted glass with a low light capacity installed on the windows.
In the lobby of the THF there is an information desk, where the information about the procedure for obtaining refugee status (in 6 languages); rights and responsibilities of detainees; information about charity organizations, about International Committee of the Red Cross is posted. Detainees are not being used for any type of work except self-service: washing-up and cleaning the cell. We note also, that THF has room equipped for prayers (made for Muslim). All rooms for detainees are equipped with emergency button. Detainees have the right for daily two-hour walk in the fresh air on the territory of border detachment. Children and women have the right to walk without any restrictions. The total number of migrants at time of visit was 34 persons.
It should be noted, that many achievements in the area of providing social and legal services for irregular migrants became possible thanks to financial support of the European Union and organizational support of International Organization for Migration, Charity foundation Caritas of Mukachevo Greek Catholic Eparchy. We note that Foundations employees constantly interact with border guards and are present at the territory of the border detachment, giving all necessary help. The Foundation secured for THF of the Chop border detachment 5 lawyers, 2 social workers and one doctor on a permanent basis. At the THF a social worker and a doctor are on duty every day, a lawyer gives consultations three times a week, but if it is necessary he can give it immediately. At the expense of the European Union the Foundation drilled artesian well of 70 m deep for regular provision of border detachment and the THF with drinking water. Caritas also:
provides food sets personally for each irregular migrant;
provides a package with individual hygiene means;
provides specific medical aid including medical expertise for determine detainees age;
provides a telephone for migrants for calls to any world countries;
repairs THF and mounts equipment and furniture;
provides for detained migrants clothes and shoes if necessary.
Also during the monitoring weve visited special premises for holding irregular migrants of Mukachevo Border Detachment, which according to the decision of Collegiums of SBGS of Ukraine of 18.02.2001 is under reconstruction. Planned capacity of the special premises (SP) after reconstruction must be 16 persons. All constructing works are realized at the expense of state budget. Its planned that in the fourth quarter of 2011 SP will be opened.
Weve also visited the hostel for migrants women and children which has been functioned till April 2011 and was rented in the building of Lviv Railway. Currently activity of the hostel is stopped; a question about possible using property in repaired SP of Mukachevo Border Detachment is being decided.
At last we also visited an international Checkpoint Luzhanka on Ukrainian-Hungarian border, where Special Premises for 9 persons is also being built.
Among questions, which are the most critical we figure out procedural for example where legitimate governments are absent (Somali) and they cant or dont provide information about own citizens, that makes work on identification of migrant and decision about his future destiny more difficult. Often migrants intentionally mislead employees of Border Guard Service, giving wrong information about their country of origin or about age. All this requires additional study, expertise, inquires.
A separate question is holding of irregular migrants in THF above identified terms. Thus, during the visit we spoke to citizens of Turkey, which stay at THF more than 14 days awaiting a deportation to Turkey, in spite of normative documents, particularly the Order of the Administration of SBGS of Ukraine 494 of 30.06.2004 On Approval of the Instruction on the Procedure of Keeping in the Custody the Individuals Detained by Agencies of the State Border Service of Ukraine by Way of the Administrative Procedure for the Violation of the Legislation on the State Border of Ukraine, and on Suspicion of the Commitment a Crime, define a term in 10 days. After its expiring irregular migrants have to be sent to the Temporary holding Facilities for Foreigners and persons without citizenship. But it doesnt happen because these people expect a flight to Turkey and their transportation is inappropriate in the words of employees of the SBGS of Ukraine.
Another problem is a lack of information for migrants with irregular status about the place and time of their trials in administrative court. A representative of the Transcarpathian Administrative Court explained that a court has no obligation to inform people, although Art. 12 of the Code of Administrative Legal Procedure of Ukraine contains the following: " No one can be restricted the right to receive the administrative court about the date, time and place of his case and approved it in judicial decisions". In our opinion this is also a violation of Art. 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which concerns with information about the nature, the character of charges (Mattoccia vs. Italy). To resolve this problem, we consider that its necessary to oblige the bodies of the State Border Service of Ukraine to inform irregular migrants. Of course, a participation of migrants in the trials will set up new and more difficult tasks for SBGS of Ukraine providing them with interpreters and lawyers is a significant problem today there are no money and migrants can expect legal aid from such organizations as CARITAS and NIKA.