Russian refugee says long wait for asylum decision causing mental stress


Fedor Simanov has set up a tent in Adelup, seeking attention to the plight of Russian asylum seekers. Photo by Jan SN Furukawa

The long drawn-out wait for the approval of their asylum requests has been taking its toll on the physical and mental health of Russian refugees on Guam, according to one of the asylum seekers.


“In the current circumstances of hopelessness, one of the Russian asylum seekers has already committed suicide. Others are also developing depression,” said Fedor Simanov, who is holding out in Adelup, where his fellow “refugees” staged a protest on March 1.


Simanov said some Russians have been unable to adapt to the island’s climate, causing them to get sick. However, he said, they are unable to seek off-island treatments as they are not allowed to leave Guam pending decision on their asylum requests.


“In this situation, we are forced to defend our rights by holding rallies. We have to admit that the ongoing series of rallies haven't actually led to any resolution, so we are ready to go on the hunger strike in order to stop the violation of our rights,” Simanov said. “We ask everyone to support our appeals and help to bring our lives out of the darkness of hopelessness.”


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A source with a federal agency said asylum seekers on Guam are not allowed to board the plane while waiting for approval of their refugee status, which is being processed in California.