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Ukraine murder of a Rwandan refugee doctor

Briefing notes

Ukraine murder of a Rwandan refugee doctor

13 July 2001

UNHCR is shocked and saddened by the murder last weekend in Ukraine of a Rwandan refugee doctor and respected community leader. Dr. Patrice Nshimumuremi was beaten to death outside his home in Vinnytsya, south-east of Kiev, on returning home from a celebration of the founding of a local refugee NGO, of which he was chairman. Dr. Nshimumuremi's murder is all the more shocking in light of his stature in the Vinnytsya community. A resident in Ukraine since 1987, graduate of the Vinnytsya Medical University, husband of a Ukrainian woman, father to an 18-month-old baby, and contributor to a local human rights organisation, Dr. Nshimumuremi would have been considered a model refugee. Unable to return to his native Rwanda in the wake of the genocide there, Dr. Nshimumuremi had sought safety in Ukraine.

The attack raises concerns about xenophobia towards refugees in the Ukraine and elsewhere, and highlights the difficulties and even dangers that refugees can face integrating into their new societies around the world. It is especially disappointing in light of recent positive developments in the Ukraine, including a new refugee law adopted in June which is in line with the 1951 Refugee Convention, and a new citizenship law, adopted in February this year, which eases the acquisition of Ukrainian citizenship for refugees. Ukraine hosts some 3,900 refugees.