UN refugee agency protests over forced return of Chinese asylum seekers from Russia
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has protested over the forced return of a Chinese asylum seeker and her eight-year-old daughter from Russia although they had both been registered by the agency as persons in need of international protection.
“UNHCR is concerned at their forcible deportation in violation of the Russian Federation's international obligations and of the Russian Federation Law on Refugees, both of which prohibit the return of asylum seekers to their country of origin before a final decision on their asylum claims has been made,” spokesman William Spindler told a news briefing in Geneva today.
The Russian Federation is a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and UNHCR is following up with the asylum seekers’ legal counsel and the Russian authorities to clarify the facts of the matter, he added.
The two were taken by the Russian authorities from their St. Petersburg residence on Wednesday and put on a plane leaving for China. They had submitted a claim for asylum in accordance with the Russian Federation Law on Refugees. Their appeal against a first negative decision was scheduled to be considered by the Dzerzhinky District court in St. Petersburg this afternoon, Mr. Spindler said.