A wrecked building in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, April 20 2022 | Photo: ARCHIVE ANSA/LORENZO ATTIANESE
A wrecked building in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, April 20 2022 | Photo: ARCHIVE ANSA/LORENZO ATTIANESE

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that migrants and asylum seekers locked up in a migrant detention center in Mykolaiv on the edge of the frontlines in southern Ukraine are in danger and need to be released.

Migrants and asylum seekers locked up in a migrant detention center in Mykolaiv on the edge of the frontlines in southern Ukraine and other locations are in danger, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement published May 6, urging their release.

According to HRW, there are dozens of migrants and asylum seekers in the Mykolaiv and another detention center who are being arbitrarily detained.

"Ukraine should urgently release (them) ... and allow them to reach safety in neighboring countries," the statement said.

Also read: Migrants trapped in Ukrainian detention center while war rages on

Locked up for almost two months, terrorized and in danger

"Migrants and asylum seekers have been locked up for nearly two months on the edge of a war zone," said Nadia Hardman, refugee and migrant rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"Detainees are terrified and in danger, and there is no justification for keeping them in immigration detention," she added.

Human Rights Watch on April 4 had released a report based on interviews with migrants and asylum seekers detained in the Zhuravychi Migrant Accommodation Center in Volyn' oblast.

In mid-April HRW then interviewed two men by telephone who were being held in the Temporary Holding Center for Foreigners and Stateless People in Mykolaiv region, close to frontline hostilities.

"People interviewed in both centers said that they had been detained in the months prior to the Russian invasion for irregularly trying to cross the border into Poland or for visa irregularities," HRW notes in its most recent statement.

"Whatever the original basis for detaining them, their continued detention is arbitrary and places them at risk of harm from military hostilities," it said.

Also read: 'Please rescue us,' Bangladeshi migrants stuck in Ukraine urge

'EU should do all it can to facilitate' migrants' release

The NGO noted that: "The European Union has long funded Ukraine's border control and migration management programs."

Now that "Ukraine has become a war zone, the EU should do all it can to facilitate the release and safe passage of people that Ukraine has detained based, in part, on agreements and financial support from the EU," Hardman said.

 

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