Russian asylum seekers hold protest in front of district court

(PNC photo by Louella Losinio)

After their hunger strike last month, Russian asylum seekers held another protest in front of the District Court of Guam over the weekend.

With no action yet on the part of the federal government, Russian asylum-seekers protested on Saturday, hoping to get the attention of the authorities once again to what they say is the continuing delay over their application and the restrictions imposed over their movement within the United States.

The asylum seekers went to Guam seeking protection because they have suffered persecution (or fear that they will suffer persecution) due to race, religion, membership in a particular social group, or their political opinion.

Fedor Simanov, one of the asylum seekers, spoke to PNC about the protest.

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Chris Rasmussen, a UOG Assistant Professor, has done research on the plight of Russian asylum seekers on Guam. He says the current situation for the asylum seekers here is in some ways similar to people seeking asylum in the United States in that there is simply silence from the federal agencies.

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“The problem with asylum seekers here is that much like in the United States, their claims are not processed and they are in this limbo. Now, one of the things that is different for asylum seekers here is that they lack the ability to move around. If they were in the United States, they’d do that. And this creates a lot of difficulties, particularly for those with medical conditions as well as others who might have economic opportunities in the mainland,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen says asylum seekers have a right to seek asylum and right now, the United States is denying those rights.