The new report is dedicated to the situation of children-migrants within CIS countries. In the region, both international agreements and national migration laws mostly ignore the children as a group in need for special protective measures. Their return to the countries of origin is still regulated by the outdated Chisinau Agreement (on cooperation of the CIS states on the return of minors to countries of their permanent residence, 2002). In the changed post-Soviet reality, take place continuing violations of children rights, in a form of placing children the to closed institutions and deprivating them of normal family environment and access to education.
Some countries have humanized the system for children on the move (Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Kazakhstan have closed their police detention centers entirely; in Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine the transit functions have been delegated to social shelters, while police children institutions are also in use). However, even transit institutions that have been moved into social sphere remain places of detention: children cannot leave them at will and cannot receive visits from relatives or independent observers.
A broad understanding of the category “children left without care” results in the criminalization of children and leads to detention due to their immigration status. Thus, migrant children are to all intents and purposes deprived of their liberty only because of their migration status, which is unacceptable. This practice was condemned by the UN CRC and the UN CMW; the Council of Europe has also urged all countries to put an end to this practice.
The authors of this report believe that, given the radically altered political landscape of the former Soviet Union, the Chisinau Agreement can not be improved and is in need for replacement by bilateral agreements on the repatriation/readmission of children with the current human rights standards taken into account.
The practice of depriving separated children of their liberty and placing them in special institutions solely due to their migration status must be recognized as unacceptable in legal codes and must be fully stopped.
The photo from Russkaya planeta project