Asylum legislation and enhancement of Belarusian asylum system

With a single-minded goal of ensuring international protection for people fleeing conflict and persecution, and with the help of partners working side by side, UNHCR fulfills its task to promote the establishment of a coherent international asylum system.

Since the beginning of its operation in the country in September 1995, UNHCR has provided support to the Government in improving national asylum legislation and law enforcement practices to ensure their compliance with the international standards.


⇒ The 2009, a new version of the Law on Refugees was introduced and included the following important amendments:

  • introduction of complementary protection (in addition to refugee status that had been granted since 1997)
  • absolute ban on removal from Belarus of individuals who will be tortured in their countries of origin

⇒ The 2017, a new version of the Law on Refugees accumulated the country’s experience in dealing with refugees, including mass arrivals of citizens of Ukraine in 2014-2015. The new law:

  • eliminated almost all grounds for rejection not in line with the 1951 Convention;
  • provided a clear obligation for the border guards to receive asylum applications from individuals who are situated at the border, including in airport transit zone;
  • granted refugees similar socio-economic rights as citizens, and in cases when the provisions in the Law on Refugees and other Belarusian legislation differ, the regulations of the Law on Refugees should apply.

⇒ Asylum-seekers now enjoy unhindered access to the territory of Belarus and to the state refugee status determination procedure, including from detention

⇒ Apprehended irregular migrants now receive free of charge legal, social, humanitarian and medical counselling and assistance

⇒ Referral mechanisms of asylum-seekers are strengthened through training and technical assistance

⇒ Reception conditions, including physical infrastructure, were improved