Visit to Volyn Detention Centre for Illegal Migrants



On 19 September, RAMU “Umma” delegates led by Mufti Said Ismagilov visited Volyn Detention Centre for Illegal Migrants in Zhuravychi village. They arrived upon the facility administration’s invitation. Noteworthy, Lviv Muslim community has been working with that Detention Centre for quite a while. At the Centre, there are detainees of many ethnic and religious backgrounds, mostly from Asia and Africa, who tried to get to EU countries, but were detained by the Ukrainian Border Guards.

That was the visit of pastoral care, but they didn’t come empty-handed: having learned that they were to award the local winner football team with a champion cup, and that the football the detainees were playing with was well-worn, the Imams bought them a new one. Besides, they brought sweets for child-migrants, warm clothes, personal hygiene items and some books for the local library.

RAMU “Umma” delegates also specifically met the Centre’s Muslims in order to discuss some religious matters, preach, and pray together. The migrants, on their part, shared both their spiritual and worldly troubles. For instance, that they hadn’t eaten meat for a long time due to the lack of halal meals, and also regularly found themselves in a situation where they could not understand what was going on in the courtroom where their fate was being sealed due to the absence of interpreters, meaning they couldn’t present their pleas and provide explanations for the judge as well. The Mufti promised to send an official letter upon those matters to the State Migration Service of Ukraine on behalf of RAMU “Umma”.

The delegation noted that the overall conditions at the Centre were quite good, had it not been for the personal tragedies that brought all those people to that place. The Centre is situated at a former military base on Ukraine's border with Poland, surrounded by woods that provide fresh air. Children of school age have classes with teachers who come to the centre every day from the nearby village, for school education is mandatory in Ukraine. Of course, the first thing those kids are taught in Ukrainian, for without them being able to speak and understand Ukrainian, the rest of the classes are quite impossible to teach. 

The Imams noted that each dormitory has its own prayer room that the migrants are free to attend, with Qur’an’s to read and a possibility to perform friday prayers together. The detainees also have the possibility to fast during Ramadan.

A year and a half are the maximum term migrants are kept at the Centre, while their cases are tried. Following the examination and required legal procedures, they either get a refugee card or get deported.

RAMU “Umma” thank the Administration of Volyn Detention Centre for Illegal Migrants in Zhuravychi village for the possibility of providing spiritual guidance for the detainees.