Stateless persons

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Statelessness became a common phenomenon after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Stateless persons are deemed to have violated migration rules and are sometimes illegally held in prison conditions in temporary detention centers for foreign nationals for months or sometimes years, even though they cannot be deported for the very reason that they are stateless.

ADC Memorial defends the rights of stateless persons by providing them with legal assistance, including by pursuing strategic cases and conducting international advocacy and educational work.

Strategic cases

Kim v. Russia (2014)

In 2013, ADC Memorial worked with two lawyers to institute an action with the European Court of Human Rights. The claimant in this action was a former Soviet citizen, Roman Kim, who had no valid citizenship. He was held in the Saint Petersburg center for over two years “until expulsion.” Russian courts refused to review his complaint regarding his arbitrary, extended, and pointless detention several times, even though it was established that Kim could not be expelled because the Republic of Uzbekistan did not recognize him as its citizen. In 2014, the European Court for Human Rights found the Russian Federation guilty of violating several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, including Article 3 (the detention conditions were found inhuman and degrading), Article 5.1 (Kim’s detention had no goal or purpose), and Article 5.4 (violation of the right to speedy proceedings to determine the lawfulness of detention, lack of judicial control of the terms and lawfulness of detention). The ECtHR obligated Russia to adopt measures of a general nature to correct this situation in order to prevent similar violations in the future.

The case of Noé Mskhiladze (Constitutional Court, 2017)

Noé Mskhiladze, a stateless person born in Georgia, was convicted of violating migration rules and sent to a foreign national detention center for two extended periods “until expulsion,” even though there was no way he could be deported. With support from ADC Memorial, Mskhiladze filed a complaint with the RF Constitutional Court, which, on May 23, 2017, found a number of provisions of Russian law unconstitutional and required the federal legislature to make immediate changes to the Code of Administrative Offenses to ensure reasonable judicial control over the detention terms of stateless persons in special institutions.

Noé Mskhiladze

Lakatosh and Others v. Russia (2010)

In 2009, Anna Lakatosh, Pavel Gabor and Aladar Forkos, Magyar Roma people who were residing in Russia, were found guilty of violating Russian migration rules. They were placed in the Foreign National Detention Center for St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, where they were held in inhuman conditions for over one year.

After ADC Memorial exhausted national means of legal protection, on May 26, 2010, it filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights regarding inhuman treatment and the inability to take the required measures to expel the applicants from Russia, resulting in their extended and pointless detention. The RF admitted to violations of Articles 3, 5.1, 5.4 and 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and offered to enter into an amicable agreement and pay just compensation.

Lawyer Olga Tseytlina talks to clients in the office of ADC Memorial

Relevant publications

Human Rights Report of ADC Memorial Violations of the Rights of Stateless Persons and Foreign Citizens in Light of the ECHR Judgment in “Kim v. Russia”

This report concerns the violations of the rights of stateless persons and foreign citizens placed in the specialized institutions for the temporary detention of foreign citizens (SITDFNs) by Russian courts in order to “guarantee their expulsion from the RF”. In practice, these people are held in custody for many months, even for years, and ...

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Imprisoned Stateless Persons in Russia: The Search for a Way Out of a Legal Dead End

A new publication of ADC Memorial “Imprisoned Stateless Persons in Russia: The Search for a Way Out of a Legal Dead End”, containing an up-date of the Human Rights report “Violations of the Rights of Stateless Persons and Foreign Citizens in Light of the ECHR Judgment in “Kim v. Russia” (2016).

In the new report, the next step of litigation in ...

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Statelessness in Russia and Ukraine: possible ways to overcome the problem

Human rights report by ADC Memorial and CF «The Right to Protection», Ukraine.

Even though decades have passed since the fall of the Soviet Union, the problems of statelessness, whose roots reach way back into the past, have yet to be overcome in either Russia or Ukraine. The laws and practices of both countries are unfriendly to stateless ...

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