For the upcoming 27th session of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) ADC “Memorial” has pointed to various issues that are of utmost importance to the migrant workers and members of their families coming from Tajikistan to Russia.
Tajikistan remains one of the main countries, where labor migrants to the Russian Federation come from. Russia’s strict immigration policy worsens the situation of labor migrants, but unfortunately the Russian Federation is not a member of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. However, this Convention has been ratified by the Republic of Tajikistan, which makes it possible to seek the response of Tajik authorities to systematic violations of the rights of its citizens in the Russian Federation.
Experts of ADC “Memorial” pointed to the cases when attacks by racists that had posed threat to the lives of Tajik migrants remained without a fair investigation in the Russian Federation, and the victims themselves were brought to criminal justice instead (for example, such a criminal case was opened against a citizen of Tajikistan charged with taking part in a fight, this did not allow the latter to leave for his home country in order to get a new passport, which, in turn, led to his administrative prosecution for a “violation of the immigration regulations” and further expulsion from the Russian Federation and a ban on entry).
The fight against terrorism and religious radicalism also often makes people from Central Asia, including Tajikistan, victims of unjust prosecution in Russia. According to the lawyers, migrant workers who become suspected violators of immigrant regulations sometimes end up in secret prisons, where they are tortured in order to obtain confessions from them (and perhaps possibly also self-incriminations).
The children of labor migrants are particularly vulnerable, as they are sometimes left without parents in their country of origin while waiting for them to return, or as they travel with their families to Russia. ADC “Memorial” has repeatedly drawn attention to the violation of children’s rights when small children were being separated from their parents as a result of police raids. One of the most egregious cases was the tragic death under unascertained circumstances of a small Tajik child, Umarali Nazarov, who had been taken away by the police from his mother.
These problems, as well as many other, including protection of labor, social and economic rights of labor migrants, require attention of the country of origin of migrant workers. It is necessary to monitor all cases of violations of the rights of Tajik citizens in the Russian Federation, to properly respond to them by protecting people in a foreign country from arbitrariness, violence and discrimination.