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NEWS: Ukrainian calls on Climbing Community to help War Refugees

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 UKC News 26 Feb 2022

A 17-year-old Ukrainian climber - currently safe in Slovakia - is helping his fellow citizens to find refuge abroad through his European climbing contacts and is calling on the community to assist him in finding and matching potential hosts with refugees. 

Illya Bakhmet-Smolensky became the youngest person in the world to climb 9a in 2018 at age 13. Now, he's coordinating an international effort to help his compatriots following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Read more

 Roberttaylor 26 Feb 2022
In reply to UKC News:

I've some space. If anyone has a colleague/climbing partner/friend in need of a place to sleep and not averse to being in Perth, drop me a DM. 

No cheeky Sheff climbers with fake accents looking for a free gaff; I'm wise to you. 

 jimtitt 26 Feb 2022
In reply to UKC News:

A laudable effort but needs some re-thinking. Refugees entering the EU (that is those seeking asylum) are not free to go where they want. Crossing the border their claim for asylum is initially processed then they are allocated to an EU land where they are registered, screened (mainly for special needs and medical treatment) then allocated accomodation. Travel outside their allocated area is restricted until their application is fully settled. They receive the right to stay (for initially 3 years if I remember right), food, money, accomodation and medical treatment etc at the states cost. 

Someone entering as a "tourist" i.e not claiming asylum on entry must show the usual means of support, proof of intention to return, health insurance etc. They can travel where they like within Schengen but must leave in 90 days. Arriving as a tourist they may later then claim asylum but are then, again allocated accomodation. It isn't a free choice.

It may seem a nice idea to give a Ukranian a bed for a while but unless the conflict is ended within a few months and they want to return it is a mistake for them not to claim asylum and be able to build a future elsewhere.

11
 Andy Hardy 26 Feb 2022
In reply to Roberttaylor:

The ever generous and warm hearted Priti Patel is not offering any visas or visa waivers to Ukrainian refugees. Changing the bulbs outside Downing Street is as far as she's prepared to go.

2
 Roberttaylor 26 Feb 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

>Someone entering as a "tourist" i.e not claiming asylum on entry must show the usual means of support, proof of intention to return, health insurance etc. They can travel where they like within Schengen but must leave in 90 days. Arriving as a tourist they may later then claim asylum but are then, again allocated accomodation. It isn't a free choice.

I get that there's a system, of course.

That said, three months of being a tourist before entering an underfunded and poorly administered system would be my preferred option, speaking as someone with resources behind him. And a lot could change with regards to visas etc. in that time. 

Post edited at 18:16
In reply to jimtitt:

Illya is compiling separate lists of people with the capacity to host and people in need of help, then matching them appropriately. He's not arranging things willy-nilly, nor will refugees expect that. At the moment people are simply keen to escape to safety and the prospect of what will happen in three months probably feels a long way off and a complete unknown, so they'll take whichever option is open to them, I suspect.

 girlymonkey 26 Feb 2022
In reply to Andy Hardy:

I was appalled to read about this! I have been ashamed of the UK government on many occasions, but this is a new low. What utter arseholes! I don't get properly angry often, but I really am at this. 

I have shared the story on Facebook, we need to all keep sharing and making noise about it to make sure that everyone knows how low this scumbag can stoop

3
 Ian W 26 Feb 2022
In reply to girlymonkey:

> I was appalled to read about this! I have been ashamed of the UK government on many occasions, but this is a new low. What utter arseholes! I don't get properly angry often, but I really am at this. 

> I have shared the story on Facebook, we need to all keep sharing and making noise about it to make sure that everyone knows how low this scumbag can stoop

Apparently, this story isnt completely true; my local MP has just put up something on instagram explaining how ukrainians can still apply. She's a tory, so its probably to be found across many mp's insta pages......

Edit to add; dont stop hating the government, though; there's plenty they are doing wrong even if this story isnt true.

Post edited at 19:39
 mark s 26 Feb 2022
In reply to girlymonkey:

You think the Tories have reached rock bottom,then they excel themselves and go lower 

3
 girlymonkey 26 Feb 2022
In reply to Ian W:

She's a Tory, so probably lying!

6
 girlymonkey 26 Feb 2022
In reply to UKC News:

Sadiq Khan suggesting we should seize empty properties owned by oligarchs. I think this should absolutely happen and I think we should use them to house refugees!

https://www.itv.com/news/london/2022-02-25/sadiq-khan-calls-for-london-properties-owned-by-putin-allies-to-be-seized

In reply to girlymonkey:

With you 100%. I don't think we should stop at *russian* oligarchs though.

1
In reply to Ian W:

That's correct, report from The Guardian this afternoon: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/26/priti-patel-clashes-with-labour-over-visas-for-people-fleeing-ukraine

I just checked the Gov.uk page and it says the below. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-secretary-announces-visa-concessions-for-ukrainians

'Two weeks ago, the Home Secretary ordered a package of measures to support British Nationals and their families in Ukraine. This included temporarily waiving application fees for those eligible under the Family Migration route, allowing entry for 12 months for others who did not meet the requirements and fast-tracking visas through a 24/7 helpline.'

I'll amend the article accordingly.

Post edited at 20:14

But I think the main issue is that it looks very tricky for a Ukrainian without British national family members to organise a visa given the VAC centre in Kyiv is now closed, so they have to go to another country to arrange it. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-family-members-of-british-nationals-in-ukraine-and-ukrainian-nationals-in-ukraine-and-the-uk

In reply to UKC News:

Update 27/2: 

Illya has created a live document with accommodation offers that he can send to refugees seeking options. He is still accepting offers from hosts to add to the list, alongside Fedir Samoilov (UKR national team member), and requests from refugees. Contact Illya or Fedir via Instagram.

They have been heartened by the level of support on offer.

This evening's big announcement may enable hosting options for people living in other EU countries, or people with contacts abroad who may be interested in helping out (shame the UK is still lagging behind...):

The EU has announced that all member states can take in Ukrainian refugees for up to 3 years without the need for asylum applications, citing a humanitarian crisis with a predicted displacement of more than 7 million refugees: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-europe-60542877

Post edited at 20:12
In reply to mark s:

Very true. There's always something more contemptible that they can come up with. Hell, we thought the Thatcher years were bad, but some of the stuff they've done since makes me nostalgic.

jcm

1
In reply to UKC News:

I'm an expert on the UK asylum system.

The normal process is still open to Ukrainian refugees:  they can make their way to the UK  (via other countries if they want and they do not have to claim asylum in these countries) where they can inform someone at border control that they wish to claim asylum.  They will then complete a screening interview - a basic assessment on whether they may have a genuine claim.  My view is:  every Ukrainian would pass the screening interview.  They would then be sent to Initial Accommodation (few weeks or months - waaaay busy at the moment).  In their Initial Accommodation they can apply for Asylum Support (either £40wk cash OR housing OR both).  You have to prove you are destitute.  If they have the offer of accommodation in someone's house they would struggle to prove destitution.

A potential BIG problem:  if they are granted leave to remain in the UK, they would not be allowed to travel back to their country of origin.  Realistically though:  the asylum process takes soooooo long that the Ukrainian situation would be resolved (one way or the other) before e decision on their asylum claim has been reached.

Not sure what our government is whaffling on about regarding visas etc.  They don't even know their own systems and Patel is as thick as two short planks.  The right for anyone to claim asylum is enshrined in the Refugee Convention.

Edit:  I'm confident our Government will create a different system for Ukrainians similar to that created for recent Afghan evacuees (those evacuees that arrived after the Taliban take over did NOT have to claim asylum).

🌻

Post edited at 14:21
 Iamgregp 28 Feb 2022
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

Thank you for posting.

In particular for dispelling the consistent myth that refugees are required to claim asylum in the first country they enter (though in reality 80% do claim in a country which borders their own).

I don't know where that myth comes from but it just keep on getting quoted again and again, boils my p!ss that it's so persistent. 

 Ian W 28 Feb 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

> In particular for dispelling the consistent myth that refugees are required to claim asylum in the first country they enter (though in reality 80% do claim in a country which borders their own).

> I don't know where that myth comes from but it just keep on getting quoted again and again, boils my p!ss that it's so persistent. 

Its one of the xenophobic / racist tropes that has been doing the rounds almost as long as Farage.......

 Iamgregp 28 Feb 2022
In reply to Ian W:

Someone ought to add it to the "Commonly Believed Misconceptions" wiki page, it's been going around that long and is so often repeated.

 jimtitt 28 Feb 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

> Thank you for posting.

> In particular for dispelling the consistent myth that refugees are required to claim asylum in the first country they enter (though in reality 80% do claim in a country which borders their own).

> I don't know where that myth comes from but it just keep on getting quoted again and again, boils my p!ss that it's so persistent. 

Since 2003 under the Dublin agreement.

 Iamgregp 28 Feb 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

I'll see your 2003 Dublin Agreement and raise you a 1951 Refugee Convention.

In reply to jimtitt:

> Since 2003 under the Dublin agreement.

Nope, case law proves that this is not the case. 
From Refugee Action:

“Do people have to claim asylum in the first safe country they reach?

No. Neither the 1951 Refugee Convention, nor EU law requires a person to claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. People trying to cross the Channel can legitimately claim asylum in the UK if they reach it.

The Dublin Regulations is a system which allows one EU country to require another to accept responsibility for a person who has claimed asylum when specific conditions apply, including that the person is shown to have previously made a claim of asylum in another EU country. The intention is that asylum claims are then shared more evenly between EU countries.

The Dublin system only operates within the EU and it will almost certainly cease to apply to the UK following Brexit.”

The Dublin Regs does (for EU countries, but the UK) however allow for a person to be returned to a country they previously claimed asylum in. I know a small number of cases where this happened. 
 

From Netherlands government website:

“What does the Dublin Regulation mean for asylum seekers in the Netherlands?

The country through which the asylum seeker first entered Europe is responsible for processing their asylum application. This is laid down in the European Union's Dublin Regulation. The country must, however, be able to register the asylum seeker. If the asylum seeker passes through without registering and instead applies for asylum in another country, that other country will be responsible for their asylum procedure”

Clear as mud in some ways, case law is key. 

 jimtitt 28 Feb 2022
In reply to Iamgregp:

You are aware that the 1951 agreement only applied to events before 1951?

And that the EU had only observer status (it was the Council of Europe back then). The Dublin Agreement is a law in the EU.

1
 Iamgregp 28 Feb 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

> You are aware that the 1951 agreement only applied to events before 1951?

Indeed.  And only within Europe.  But the 1967 protocol removed both of these limitations meaning that the '51 agreement applies to all countries and peoples worldwide since then.

> And that the EU had only observer status (it was the Council of Europe back then). The Dublin Agreement is a law in the EU.

It's a system for EU Member states to decide who has responsibility for processing asylum claims.  It does not state that those claims must be initiated in the first safe country that the asylum seeker crosses into.

In reply to jimtitt:

> You are aware that the 1951 agreement only applied to events before 1951?

The 51 convention is 100% applicable to today as it provides the main framework for deciding whether to grant someone refugee status (and therefore ‘leave to remain’).

> And that the EU had only observer status (it was the Council of Europe back then). The Dublin Agreement is a law in the EU.

The Dublin convention may well be law in the EU but it is rarely enacted in the way you initially outlined * otherwise almost all refugees in the last two years (almost no international flights due to Covid) from the Middle East would have had to have claimed asylum in countries other than Germany, France etc as these countries would not have been the first safe country.  France would send them back to Germany who would send them back to….  until they would be concertina’d back into mainly Greece and Bulgaria. 
 

 jimtitt 28 Feb 2022
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

The Dublin agreement said that the member state primarily responsible for examining asylum application was the first point of irregular entry. This kinda fell apart in 2015 where some states refused to process asylum seekers and others agreed informally to do this ( which is why I can see a refugee processing centre from my living room window). The revision is now saying that countries in a crisis may may ask for the border rule be suspended. It also says member states may grant immediate protection to defined groups due to armed conflict, the current status.

In reply to jimtitt:

The Dublin regs never really worked. Too many other conflicting laws/conventions/practicalities. 

And those revisions you outline get a big thumbs up from me. 
🌻

 Roberttaylor 01 Mar 2022
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

Might be worth mentioning to him that a lot of people who own flats and houses don't have instagram, or facebook. 

If you could post an email that'd be ideal. 

Post edited at 21:32
In reply to UKC News:

Not sure this is the best thread to place this on, but I thought this was a brilliant Tweet:

https://twitter.com/ginsolvesitall/status/1498768496523726848?s=20&t=TWvIgcGZoE38_UZ5pJsfjw

In reply to Iamgregp:

> In particular for dispelling the consistent myth that refugees are required to claim asylum in the first country they enter (though in reality 80% do claim in a country which borders their own).

> I don't know where that myth comes from but it just keep on getting quoted again and again, boils my p!ss that it's so persistent. 

In my old job I dealt with connected issues to this, so my knowledge is out of date and I'm fuzzy on some details - but while there isn't an obligation under international law for a refugee to claim asylum in the first safe country, there is (was?) an EU obligation under "Dublin II" for the first EU country a refugee arrives in to be one that takes responsibility for processing an asylum application. This was great for the UK, Ireland, Sweden etc. and rubbish for Italy and Greece (and Spain to a lesser degree) as they got the vast majority of the refugee arrivals. When I lived in Finland I volunteered for the Finnish Red Cross and went to the "Alien detention centre" (not nearly as MiB as it sounds!) and the Police Prison to visit incarcerated foreigners. Many were being kicked out of Finland for crimes (mostly petty) or just for trying to claim asylum there when they had already claimed it in usually at the time Italy. Back then, there were regular charter flights by EU governments to return migrants to Italy and Greece. Often the people couldn't be returned to Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia etc. as they were deemed unsafe, but the Finns or the Brits could kick 'em out and tell the Greeks or the Italians, these people were their problem.

In reply to jimtitt:

> You are aware that the 1951 agreement only applied to events before 1951?

I don't think that's how laws work!

> And that the EU had only observer status (it was the Council of Europe back then).

The Council of Europe is an independent human rights organisation (ironically Russia is a member!) and as far as I remember has never been connected to the EU or its successors going right back to the ECSC.

>The Dublin Agreement is a law in the EU.

I think we're on the third Dublin Agreement - I'm no lawyer but I'm pretty certain it doesn't remove signatories from their fundamental obligations under international human rights laws. 

 jimtitt 02 Mar 2022
In reply to TobyA:

It was never a law and that's what it said.

No UN treaty is a "law", they have to be ratified into national law.

To what extent EU Regulations supercede member states individual laws and treaties has often been discussed!

 cahil91 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Natalie Berry - UKC:

I can't seem to get into instagram (my email has an account already but i cant seem to reset password?) but since UK gov has changed tact would be able to sponsor someone coming to the UK, is there another way to get in touch with Illya?

In reply to cahil91:

I'll email you. For anyone who doesn't have Instagram, just send me an email. Wary of posting his personal email here.

In reply to jimtitt:

> It was never a law and that's what it said.

> No UN treaty is a "law", they have to be ratified into national law.

Not necessarily, that's why we have the ICC at the Hague. It might not be law in country A but if it is in countries B and C the former president of country A may still end up in the dock at the ICC.


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