UN agency asks Ukraine to probe murder of Congolese asylum seeker
The United Nations refugee agency has raised asked the Government of Ukraine to investigate the recent murder of a Congolese asylum seeker in the country.
“We are shocked by the murder last weekend in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv (Kiev) of an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said William Spindler, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The 19-year old asylum seeker arrived in June 2007 in search of international protection and approached the agency's non-governmental organization (NGO) partner NGO in Kyiv for legal assistance and was officially registered as an asylum seeker.
His body was found on the night of 27 January, with numerous knife wounds and police have indicated that there is no known motive.
“The United Nations Office in Ukraine, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration have expressed to the Ukrainian authorities their grave concern over this murder and requested that a thorough investigation be conducted, including the possibility that it was a racially-motivated attack, and keep them informed of the outcome of the investigation,” Mr. Spindler said.
Last June, UNHCR expressed concern about the rise in attacks on asylum seekers and refugees in Ukraine. In 2007 some 17 persons of concern reported to UNHCR such incidents in Kyiv alone, “including unprovoked attacks, beatings and verbal abuse,” the spokesman said.
In January, organizations monitoring the situation noticed an increase in the number of incidents of violence against people of different ethnicity both in Kyiv and in other parts of the country.
UNHCR praised the Government for taking steps to address the problem, including appointing a special ambassador to address this problem.