UN Refuge Agency (UNHCR) is concerned by the situation of Leonid Razvozzhaev, an asylum-seeker who disappeared from Kyiv on 19th October 2012 and subsequently appeared in police custody in Moscow earlier this week.
During an asylum counselling session in Kyiv on 19th October, Mr. Razvozzhaev, a national of the Russian Federation, expressed his intention to apply for asylum, both verbally and in writing. As such, he is protected by international refugee law and becomes a person of concern to UNHCR.
Both Ukraine and the Russian Federation are signatories of the 1951 Refugee Convention and thus are subject to a treaty obligation to protect refugees and asylum-seekers, UNHCR said.
UNHCR is seeking clarification of Mr. Razvozzhaev's current condition and status from the authorities in the Russian Federation and has also asked for access to him.
The circumstances of Mr. Razvozzhaev's disappearance, which happened during a short break in a legal advice session with UNHCR 's legal partner organization in Kyiv, remain unclear. His disappearance was immediately reported to the Ukrainian police. UNHCR has requested the authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate this incident.
UNHCR has called on the authorities in Kyiv to immediately implement measures to ensure that people approaching UNHCR and its partners for assistance in seeking asylum are not exposed to risks to their security by doing so.