Supporting the Republic of Belarus in Addressing Irregular Migration and Promoting Human Rights of Vulnerable Migrants

About of project:

Project Period: 01.11.2013 - 31.10.2016

Budget: € 2,146,474.1; EU contribution € 1,717,179

Implementing Agency: United Nations Development Programme

Partners: State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus, International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

Location: Belarus (Minsk, Smarhoń, Brest, Hrodna, Pinsk, Homieĺ, Polack, Lida)


Belarus is a transit country, which is geographically convenient for migration. In the recent years, the transit flow of irregular migrants and asylum seekers has doubled. Governmental, nongovernmental and international organizations joined efforts to address this problem.

Goals and Objectives: the Project has three main objectives:

1. Enhancement of the system of hiring, testing and profiling candidates for employment in the State Border Committee (SBC), and their subsequent training based on European approaches. Technical re-equipment of the Training Center "Institute of the Border Services of the Republic of Belarus" (Smarhoń).

2. Reinforcement of the organizational and technical capacity of the SBC Psychological Support Service.

3. Introduction of new approaches to the prevention of human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence against migrants; development of mechanisms of legal and social assistance to the survivors, with the engagement of non-governmental organizations.

Outcomes: To achieve the first objective, a three-story building on the compound of the Border Service Training Center was renovated; training classrooms and a dormitory for border officers were built in it. The Project participants made a study trip to Slovenia in November 2014 in order to learn about personnel selection criteria, systems of testing the candidates' physical and mental condition, training programs and the career system in the EU border services. Three training events on modern training methods and practices were held for officers in June and December 2014, and in May 2016.

In the implementation of the second objective of the Project, the SBC Psychological Support Service received new equipment, materials and software. Two training workshops were held for the service staff in May and November 2015.

To address the third objective, mechanisms of legal and social assistance provision to survivors are being developed in cooperation with partner NGOs. Social workers and SBC officers acquire professional expertise during the training workshops and awareness raising activities.  A study tour to Spain was arranged in May 2015 for the representatives of partner organizations: they studied the European experience of identification of vulnerable categories of migrants, provision of assistance, prevention of and response to cases of human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, as well as cooperation of public and non-governmental entities in this sphere.

More than 300 SBC officers took part in the Project training events.

Additionally, the IOM Minsk has organized an information and education campaign aimed at the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence among the irregual migrants, including the human- rafficking victims. As a part of this awareness campaign a video for the national TV channels was created, as well as a range of printed publications and a 'Migrant's Dictionary' - a series of video-messages from the well known Belarusian performers, media persons, fashion designers and athletes who tell about the problems of safe migration, contemporary slavery and human trafficking, and about obligatory safety mesures to be taken when going abroad.

Migrant's Dictionary (in Russian):

Video #1 "Migration"
Video #2 "Violence"
Video #3 "Slavery"
Video #4 "Preventive Measures"

One of the final results of the project were the 'Standard Operational Procedures' (SOPs) approved as an internal document of the State Border Committee. The SOPs were developed on the basis of the international norms and current legislation of the Republic of Belarus and are based on the generally accepted principles of working with the violence victims. They serve as guidelines supporting the SBC personnel in identifying and effectively transferring the victims of human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence in accordance with the international principles of respecting the human rights.

Points of Contact:

Aleksandr Anifer, Project Manager

+375 17 219 37 86, +375 29 109 92 98,