Complaint Submitted to ECtHR Regarding the RF Government’s Refusal to Accept Responsibility for the Death of the Infant Umarali Nazarov

The European Court of Human Rights has received a complaint from Zarina Yunosova and Rustam Nazarov, the parents of five-month-old Umarali Nazarov, who died in October 2015. This complaint was submitted with the support of ADC Memorial attorneys.

For the past one and a half years, Zarina and Rustam have attempted to force the Russian government to admit that it is responsible for the death of their child, which was directly connected with the mother’s illegal detention with Umarali and his subsequent separation from his family. The courts to which the victims have applied have dismissed the parents’ complaints regarding police actions.

According to the attorneys who prepared the complaint, RF law enforcement agencies violated a number of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights: Article 2 (Right to Life), Article 3 (Prohibition of Torture), Article 8 (Right to Respect for Private and Family Life), since the authorities’ actions led to the suffering and death of an infant taken from his mother, and, in particular, Article 14 (Prohibition of Discrimination), since Umarali’s family suffered due to his mother’s foreign origin as a migrant from Tajikistan.

The mother and infant were detained by police during an antimigration raid in their own home. They were driven away before they could collect their documents and then separated when Umarali was sent to the hospital, where he died under unexplained circumstances (when he was admitted to the hospital, the doctor who examined him found him healthy).

Over the next four days, the parents were unable to get any information about the location of their child’s body or the cause of his death, and Umarali’s mother was deported on an expedited basis from Russia for violating migration laws, even though she was the main witness and a victim in a case on the death of a child. In the end, Umarali’s body was sent back to Tajikistan with her, making it impossible for the victims’ representatives to conduct the necessary expert examination.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child affirms that states must take measures to ensure the best interests of the child during migration. This includes decisions regarding their parents.

In their joint general comments No. 3 and No. 22, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Migrants and Members of their Families emphasize that responsibility for protecting the lives and health of migrant children lies fully with the countries of their stay.

Additionally, both of these committees and the Council of Europe in its strategy to stop the deprivation of liberty of migrant children clearly ban both the separation of migrant children from their parents and restrictions on their liberty and the liberty of the family members of minors regardless of their migration status.

Umarali’s status is a glaring example of the existing RF practice of violating international legal norms by depriving foreign citizens who have violated migration rules of their liberty and placing them in foreign national detention centers pursuant to a court decision, while their children are taken to hospitals or orphanages. Human rights defenders have repeatedly raised the issue of the discriminatory treatment of migrant mothers and the illegal removal of their children.

ADC Memorial expects that the ECtHR will adopt a precedent-setting judgment in Yunusova’s and Nazarov’s complaint. This will not only help attain justice in the case of Umarali’s death, but will also contribute to ending the illegal separation of minor children from their parents, discrimination against migrants, and violations of the principle of “the best interests of the child.”

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