Member of public chamber boris altshuler stands up for the right of migrant children

Thanks to the efforts of the member of Public Chamber Boris Altshuler underage citizen of Kyrgyzstan Samikzhon Samikov, who found himself in a difficult situation due to the ban on his entry into the Russian Federation, has received the necessary assistance. This case can become an important precedent for the rights of children coming from migrant families.

Samikzhon Samikov lived in Saint Petersburg since 2011 and studied at Technology and design lyceum. His mother also lives in Saint Petersburg and has all of her documents, including work permits, in order. In June 2013 Samikov left Russian Federation via Chelyabinsk region and entered Kazakhstan. But on his return he was denied the right to enter Russia and was told that his name was listed in a database of people, who had been banned from entry to Russia for a period until 2016.

It was only due to the interference of human rights defenders, including ombudsmen for Chelyabinsk and Volgograd regions, that it was possible to find out that the ban on Samikov’s entry to Russia was ordered back in March 2013 by Volgograd regional department of the Federal migration service (FMS), the place of his previous exit from Russia, in accordance with the lists compiled by the FMS. This decision was based on the law №321-FZ adopted on December 30, 2012, which required a 3-year ban in case of any violations of the periods of stay to Russia. Samikzhon Samikov found himself in a difficult situation as he could not return to Saint Petersburg where his mother lived and where he studied, and in turn had to return to Kyrgyzstan. Being an ethnic Uzbek from the city of Osh, this was not a safe option for him. The ban on entry to Russia of underage Samikzhon Samikov was a result of the imperfectness of the Russian legislation, which prevented registration of underage children of parents living in Russia for the period of stay of the parents. ADC “Memorial” has repeatedly reported cases similar to this one in the past, including a report made to the UN Committee on the rights of the child, which had been presented at the pre-session of the committee.

Thanks to the joint efforts of human rights defenders from Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan the circumstances of this case were established and support was provided to Samikzhon Samikov for the period when he was forced to stay outside of the Russian Federation.

Member of the Public Chamber Boris Altshuler made an appeal to the head of FMS K.O.Romadanovsky, asking to consider the situation of Samikov and lift the ban on his entry to Russia, as well as “to consider the general issue of possible mitigation of the requirements of Russian legislation concerning the period of temporary stay of underage children of labor migrants by defining that the period of their stay is set by the period of legal stay of their parents in the Russian Federation”. The letter also asked “to consider child/parent relations to be part of the “force majeure circumstances” (law №14-FZ, article 26, section 8) under which the 3-year ban on entry to the Russian Federation is not applied”.

In response to this appeal FMS has written that the ban on Samikov’s entry to Russia had been lifted and corresponding documents had been sent out to the regional departments of FMS. In spite of that the procedure of implementing this decision was extremely complicated and required active participation of  Boris Altshuler. In the end we have received a report that the ban on Samikzhon Samikov’s entry to Russia had been effectively lifted and he could enter the country. He was finally able to re-start his studies, although with a delay.

We hope that the successful resolution of Samikov’s situation will further help to improve the situation of migrant children in the Russian Federation. Recently ADC “Memorial” learnt that in one of Saint Petersburg’s schools parents from migrant families had been asked to apply for annual registration of their children based on the parents’ permits to stay and work in Russia. This will hopefully get the parents out of the necessity to leave Russia together with their children every three months, as these frequent travels are really  not possible for them.  These new practices are in the best interests in terms of the rights of children and should be practiced also in other regions of the Russian Federation. The next step to be applied should be introduction of respective changes in the Russian legislation.



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