The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders

Problems of granting refugee status to aliens
Nino Tugushi

On December 4 representatives of Human Rights Center held press-conference about the problems of granting refugee status to aliens in Georgia. The human rights defenders presented the cases of Dashgin Agararli, refugee from Azerbaijan on political grounds and Adam Esmurziev, refugee from Ingushetia, Russian Federation.

“We believe the policy of the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation towards foreign citizens should change because they do not adequately clarify and verify the reasons why applicants cannot get refugee or humanitarian status,” executive director of Human Rights Center Aleko Tskitishvili said.

Dashgin Agararli is member of the opposition political party Musavat in Azerbaijan; he was persecuted in Azerbaijan for years because of his political views and active criticism of the government. In 2013, Azerbaijani authority accused him of evasion from payment of taxes, just like many other political opponents in the country. The accusation referred to the period when Mr. Agararli did not work in any private company. In 2014 Dashgin Agararli was arrested in Georgia when he arrived here from Turkey; he had intention to seek political asylum in Georgia.

“In March of 2014 Dashgin Agararli applied to the Ministry of Refugees for refugee status for himself and his son. Based on the October 30, 2015 decision, Dashgin Agararli and his son were illegally, for unclear reasons, refused to receive refugee status. The notification letter of the Ministry reads that if they return to Azerbaijan, Dashgin Agararli may face threat and may become subject of violence and persecution. Despite that fact, the Ministry refused to grant refugee status to him. We still do not know the real basis of their refusal. I would like to underline that the Ministry has 6 months term to grant refugee status to an applicant but the term may be expanded for another 3 months if the Ministry provides well-grounded argument that it was impossible to make decision within 6 months. However, in case of Dashgin Agararli, the Ministry was processing his application for 2 years,” the lawyer of Agararli Tamar Avaliani of Human Rights Center said.

Head of Legal Aid Service of the Center Tamar Avaliani said the case of Adam Esmurziev is also obscure. Esmurziev is ethnic Ingush and citizen of Russia. In 1990s he fought against Russia in the Russia-Chechen war; afterwards he lived in different countries of Europe.

“In 2010 Adam Esmurziev arrived in Georgia and converted to Christianity for what he no longer can return to Ingushetia because it may be dangerous for him. Besides that, he cannot cross Russian border because he participated in the war against Russia. Consequently, on November 14, 2011 he applied to the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation for refugee status but they refused. Adam Esmurziev appealed the Ministry’s decision at the court. On November 13, 2013 the Tbilisi City Court partly satisfied his claim,” Tamar Avaliani said.

On September 2, 2015 the Ministry of Refugees notified Esmurziev that they do not think it is reasonable to grant humanitarian status to him in Georgia.

“Maybe, government of Georgia does not want to complicate relations with Azerbaijan. Also, they do not want to create additional problems with the Russian Federation while they are working to normalize relations with Russia,” Tamar Avaliani noted.











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