05/11/2016, 11.35
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NGO: Russia legitimizes mass deportations of migrants

by Nina Achmatova

"Civil Assistance Committee” publishes a report revealing massive increase of cases of deportation and denial of entry into the country. Previously the same group had denounced the rigidity of the Russian policy towards those fleeing war, who are never granted refugee status or political asylum


Moscow (AsiaNews) - Recent legislative changes in Russia have made it possible to "legitimize the beginning of mass deportations" of migrants from the country. The warning was sounded by the "Civil Assistance" Committee,  a group led by Human Rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, who has long cared for refugees in Moscow and several times nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yesterday in Moscow, the Committee presented its report, "Administrative expulsion:  A judicial matter or mass deportations?".  The report is based on Supreme Court data , the statistics of the Federal Immigration Service (FMS), the study of legislation and monitoring of a series of legal proceedings in the district courts.

The report shows that in 2013, over 513 thousand deportation orders were approved by the Russian courts. The spokesman of the Committee, Konstantin Troitsky, has linked the phenomenon to the introduction, in 2013, of amendments to the legislation concerning the "violation by a foreign citizen or stateless person of the rules of entry or residency in the Federation." "Deportation has become mandatory in the case of repeated violations of the law, tax evasion or administrative sanctions," said Troitsky, who also talked about an increase in the number of raids by FMS authorities.

The Russian courts, according to the analysis, decide in favor of deportations in over 70% of immigration cases. In some courts, the judges take an average of three to five minutes to speak in favor of deportation. Since  2013, the Federal Immigration Service alone has denied entry to Russia for more than 1.6 million foreign nationals: in 2013, 449,600 (more than six times greater than in 2012); in 2014, 481,400 and in 2015 676 thousand.

Activists explain Moscow's attitude with the fact that Russia's policy towards the countries of the former Soviet Union has clear objectives: to maintain the visa-free regime and to tighten the rules for work and residence of foreign nationals; try to solve the problem of illegal immigration with mass expulsions and entry bans.

In the past Gannushkina had denounced the Russian immigration policy. For example with regard to the Middle East war refugees and particularly the Syrians, who are denied refugee status and for whom obtaining political asylum is more difficult than taking citizenship.

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