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NEWS BRIEFS

UNHCR opens new asylum house for refugees in Bratislava

As of June 30, an 'integration centre,' featuring eight one-room and two two-room apartments, will provide shelter for refugees to whom Slovakia has formally granted refugee status. The building in which the centre is located is a former kindergarten under the wing of the Slovak Interior Ministry's Immigration Office, and was reconstructed with funding from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Bratislava. As UNHCR Slovakia spokeswoman Maria Čierna said, similar centers already serve refugees in Ruěomberok, Lučenec, Zvolen, and Modrý Kameň.

Cierna said that providing shelter for the first several years in an unknown host country is a basic condition for the successful integration of refugees into society. After their initial recovery period, she said, they are expected to find a job and become self-sufficient.

Since Slovakia was established in 1993, 2,566 refugees have applied for asylum in this country. During this period, Slovakia has granted refugee statute to 478 applicants, and 40 people have become citizens here.

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