As part of the work of the ODIHR OSCE, ADC Memorial will hold the side event “Foreign National Detention Centers and the Failure to Comply with EHCR Rulings on the Protection of Migrant Rights” in Hall No. 1 from 6pm – 8pm on September 28, 2015.
ADC Memorial experts will present a report on the violation of human rights in Russian Special Institutions for the Temporary Detention of Foreign Nationals (SITDFN) based on materials from the ECHR ruling in the case of Kim v. Russia and other cases that the group has been involved with.
Attorney Olga Tseytlina will speak about the systemic violation of the rights of stateless persons, some of whom have spent years in detention for no valid reason and are in need of immediate release and documents to legalize their presence in their country of stay.
Attorney Yuri Serov will spotlight the problems of migrants held in SITDFNs and the practice of refusing to grant refugee status to Ukrainian refugees forced to remain in Russia due to the war in Eastern Ukraine.
Migration is becoming one of the most discussed problems in the modern world. Millions of people leave their homes and travel abroad, some in search of work and a better life, others to escape conflicts, repressions, and violence. Countries that accept migrants often seem to welcome migration as a way to support their economies and the well-being of their citizens, but at the same time, these countries also take strict measures against migrants who lack official papers or cannot prove their identity. One of the most vulnerable groups is stateless persons, who are viewed as unwanted and have no official status or place to which they can return.
Both foreign citizens and stateless persons are often placed in detention centers for “violating the norms of migration law.” The detention conditions in these centers are no better than the conditions in prisons where people accused of a crime are held, and court control over detention periods in these institutions may even be worse: in Russia, migrants can be held in such facilities for up to two years without any court review. The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly pointed out violations of articles 3 and 5 of the European Convention in cases on the detention of stateless persons in Russian centers for foreign nationals.
In 2014, the EHCR called on Russia to take general measures to establish regular court control over detention periods, provide free legal aid to detainees, and improve detention conditions. These measures should indeed improve the situation of all foreign citizens in detention centers, including stateless ones. However, it will not be easy for Russia to implement ECHR rulings on the rights of migrants held in SITDFNs. The ECHR’s strategic rulings on Russia are of extreme importance to other Council of Europe member states, since migrant rights are also being violated on a regular basis in detention centers in these countries.