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Human Rights Watch: It Is Dangerous To Be A Migrant in Russia

Human rights organization Human Rights Watch published a report which discussed the 2006 mass deportation of Georgian citizens from Russia.

The 78-page report bears the title �The Anti-Georgian Campaign: Goal-Directed Detentions and Dispatch of Georgians by Russian Authorities�. It is dedicated to the events in the autumn of 2006, when during the sequential aggravation between Moscow and Tbilisi; Georgians were sent from Russia on the grounds that they were on Russian territory illegally.

Georgia then blamed Russia in infringing on human rights in the course of the deporting Georgian citizens and persons of Georgian nationality. The Council of Europe expressed Concern over the events of those days.

Officially Moscow asserted that there was no anti-Georgian campaign whatsoever and that the deportation was carried out within the framework of a new stage in the fight against illegal migration.

However, in the report, Human Rights Watch states that Russian authorities intentionally detained and sent off Georgians specifically, including those who were legally residing on Russian territory.

"Planned Campaign"

"This was a coordinated campaign organized at the highest governmental level�, the director of Europe and Central Asia Human Rights Watch, Holly Carter, considers. �Human Rights Watch recognizes the right of government to control illegal migration, however, all migrants, including illegal migrants, have rights that must be observed.

The readiness of the government to use deportation of this or that ethnic group as a foreign policy tactic suggests fear.

According to the organization�s data, Russian authorities published a written indication to human rights organizations, the Federal Migration Service and courts that they were ordered to find and deport Georgians who were living in Russia on an inconsistent basis.

"High-ranking government representatives publicly and disdainfully spoke about Georgians on state television channels�, says the press release Human Rights Watch. �The police and other structures of authority disrupted the basic rights of many of those detained. Legal services and access to the help from representatives of the Georgian embassy were denied. Some of the hearings continued a total of several minutes. Many were held in over-crowded calls and terrible conditions. Two Georgians died in the end while awaiting deportation"

By estimates of Human Rights Watch, 13-20 million migrants are living in Russia, the majority of which have come from the former Soviet Union. �They are also vulnerable in the face of possible repressions in the case of an increase in political tensions between Moscow and other countries�, Human Rights Watch considers.

Migrants� Rights

"The campaign of the Russian government against Georgians took place against the background of spreading racism and xenophobia in Russia. Harsh attacks and murders owing to racial hatred became a common phenomenon, especially in big cities�, asserts Human Rights Watch. �A few suburbs, however, saw such events and the Russian government did little in dealing with this dangerous tendency. Racism is also manifested in discrimination by employers, lease-holders, store employees and others.�

Human Rights Watch concludes that the EU and the governments of other countries must imperatively demand that Russia observes the rights of migrants.

Russian authorities deny any disturbances during the detention and transport of Georgians to Georgia.

They also expressed that the deportation of illegal migrants from Russia to Georgia was in no way linked with Russian-Georgian relations, and introduced at the same time the sanctions held against Georgia were compared with the analogous measures by the US against Cuba or Iran.

Source: Russian Service BBC

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