Round-table discussion “Detention of migrants: are human rights observed?”

On October 6th, 2011 at 12:00 pm, a round-table discussion, dedicated to the conditions under which migrants without citizenship are held in the detention centres for foreign nationals will take place at the press-club “Zelyonaya Lampa” (Green Lamp) located on 3 Bankovsky lane, St Petersburg. The cause that gave rise to this discussion is the information that Russia has paid large compensations to three persons without citizenship, who were subjected to cruel treatment at the St. Petersburg Detention Center for Foreign Nationals.

Why do the authorities admit to the violations of human rights and pay compensations in millions, in certain cases, yet still continue to allow such violations to occur in the fight against “illegal migration?” What should the migration policy be like in a country that respects not only the government interests, but also individual rights? What kind of measures should be taken to correct the situation, humanise the conditions of non-citizens’ stay in the Russian Federation and create a more effective reaction in the Russian judicial system? What should be done to quickly and universally improve the conditions inside the isolation wards and detention centres for foreign nationals? How can the new city law, regarding the establishment of temporary detention centres for the persons subject to deportation, improve this situation?

The following people have been invited to participate in the round-table discussion:

-Anna Lakatos, Aladar Forkos, Pavel Gabor, the applicants who filed a claim with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the case “Lakatos and others v. Russia” and received compensations from the Russian government;

-Olga Tseitlina, lawyer, representing Lakatos, Forkos and Gabor at the ECHR

-Andrei Yakimov, an expert from the ADC “Memorial”;

-Representatives of the Department of Federal Migration Service (УФМС) and Chief Administration of Internal Affairs (ГУВД) of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Oblast (region);

– Representatives of the Detention Center for Foreign Nationals (ЦСИГ) on 6 Zaharyevskaya Street;

-Vitaly Milonov, chairman of the Committee on Legislation of the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg

The representatives of the Department of Federal Migration Services (УФМС) of the Northwest region, representatives of NGOs and representatives of migrant labour unions were also invited to participate in the discussion.

Anna Lakatos, Aladar Forkos and Pavel Gabor spent more than a year in the Detention Center for Foreign Nationals in St. Petersburg (6 Zakaryevskaya Street), where they were placed as a result of the court’s decision, based on the migrants’ lack of Russian citizenship or authorisation to reside in the Russian Federation.

Human rights activists and lawyers have been trying all this time to free these people, since to expel them out of the country was impossible: they turned out to be persons without citizenship, and the conditions of the detention in the ЦСИГ were intolerable for a long stay there. Unable to obtain an effective judicial defense in Russia, the lawyers and human rights defenders from ADC “Memorial” appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. The case “Lakatos and others v. Russian Federation” was reviewed by the Strasbourg Court on a priority basis. As a result, the authorities of the Russian Federation admitted to the violations of several articles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Russia was required to pay every applicant a compensation in the sum of 30,000 euros, which was received by the victims in October of 2011.

Based on the statistics of the Department of Federal Migration Service of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast (region), in the first half of 2011, there were exposed 6,107 foreign nationals or persons without citizenship, illegally residing in the Russian Federation. On the orders of the city’s prosecutor’s office, the Legislative Assembly of the St.Petersburg Parliament drafted a bill about the creation of institutions for a temporary detention of foreign nationals or persons without citizenship, subject to deportation or administrative expulsion outside the territory of the Russian Federation. The bill was passed in its first reading at the Legislative Session on September 21st.


The event will be broadcasted live on the website of the press-club in the «video» section.

Information and accreditation for the Media can be obtained at the phone number: (812)-406-93-86


Elena Lihanova – gl@greenlamp.spb.ru, phone +7921-954-66-90

Elena Kustova – info@greenlamp.spb.ru, phone +7921-323-60-15