The regional representative office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine welcomes the new draft Code of Criminal Procedure submitted by President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada on January 12.

The section of the draft Code on extradition of persons who have committed a criminal offense was developed to meet Ukraine's obligations on non-refoulement of refugees in accordance with the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereto, the press service of the UNHCR mission said, according to UKRINFORM .

These persons are both recognized refugees and persons who have just applied for their recognition as refugees or persons in need of additional protection, as well as those who exercised their right to appeal relevant decisions before final consideration of such applications in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine. This section also provides for not presenting to foreign countries that submit extradition requests information on the above applications or appeals against appropriate decisions.

UNHCR also warmly welcomes introduction by the draft Criminal Procedure Code of amendments to other legislative acts of Ukraine and hopes that they will contribute to its monitoring the application of the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees, to which Ukraine joined on January 10, 2002, and improvement of cooperation with government authorities in providing international protection to refugees, the statement says.

According to UNHCR, as of January 1, 2012, there were about 2,500 recognized refugees and 5,875 stateless persons in Ukraine.

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