For Russia’s Labor Migrants, a Life on the Edge

In slum settlements on the outskirts of Moscow, foreign workers are adjusting to the realities of Russia’s economic crisis.

Not so long ago, the migrant population of Chelobityevo in northern Moscow lived in fear of the police. These were times when uniformed officers would descend on the village unannounced, beating and arresting undocumented workers in their path.

Chechen Asylum Seekers Stranded in Belarus

Chechen asylum seekers say they are stranded in ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’ and are turned away at Polish border.

Brest, Belarus –  At noon each day, the small, echoing arrivals hall of the Soviet-era train station in the Belarusian city of Brest is lined with people waiting to meet relatives who have been turned away from the border with Poland.

“We do not know if they made it, ” says an elderly Chechen woman waiting with her daughter as she watches the wooden arrivals doors. Like many others at the train station, her family has been divided as some members have attempted to cross into Poland.

Of the hundreds who attempt the crossing each day, only one or two families are typically permitted to enter.

Russia: Failing to do Fair Share to Help Syrian Refugees

Russia’s contribution to meeting the needs of refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict has been negligible, while its military involvement in the conflict has been significant. Russia should use the upcoming summit meetings on the global refugee crisis to make commitments to share responsibility for refugees in line with its capacity.

The United Nations Refugee and Migration Summit will be held on September 19, 2016, followed by a Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis the next day. Russia should also address serious shortcomings in its asylum system that are preventing most Syrian asylum seekers who have made it to Russian territory from receiving the protection they are entitled to under international law.

Fleeing Chechen Refugees Reported Trapped on Polish Border

As many as a several hundred Chechens fleeing the regime of Ramzan Kadyrov are reported to be trapped on the Polish border in Belarus. Belsat TV, a Belarusian opposition channel based in Warsaw, reported that some refugees had been camping “for months” after being refused entry to the country.

Poland’s Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has already announced that Warsaw has no intention of accepting the refugees. “There is no war in Chechnya, unlike some years ago, ” he said. Błaszczak called the situation “an attempt to open another route for the influx of Muslims to Europe, ” and claimed “as long as I am interior minister and as long as Law and Justice [Poland’s ruling party] is in power, we will not put Poland in danger of terrorism.”

Poland’s nationalist government has pursued an anti-refugee policy since coming to power in November last year and has faced accusations of xenophobia.

Norway to Build Border Fence with Russia to Keep Out Refugees

Norway is building a steel fence at its arctic border with Russia after an influx of thousands of refugees last year.

The new fence, which will be around 660 feet long and 11 feet high, will stretch from the Skorskog border point, sources in the Norwegian government told Reuters. Construction of the fence is due to finish before winter frosts set in, making it harder to enter Norway through the forest.

North Korean Refugee Granted Temporary Asylum in Russia on Fourth Attempt

Russia’s Federal Migration Service has granted temporary asylum to a North Korean refugee who has been seeking this status since 2013. The foreigner has held his new status since May 26, having had his application rejected on three occasions previously.

Most countries that have signed the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees agree that absolutely all North Korean citizens have the right to be granted asylum elsewhere regardless of the circumstances surrounding their escape from the country. The North Korean government sees all people who have left the territory without authorization as criminals.

Germany Sees Increase in Russian Asylum Seekers

The number of Russians seeking asylum in Germany has risen dramatically. A German paper suspects a plot by the Russian president to create instability in Germany – something many observers dismiss as nonsense.

The story on the front page of Monday’s edition of “Die Welt” sounds threatening. It posits that a Kremlin power play is behind the strong rise recently in the number of asylum seekers from Russia, and Chechnya in particular.

Russia Ranked Least Welcoming Country for Refugees – Survey

Russia is rated the least welcoming country to refugees, according to a survey commissioned by Amnesty International and conducted by consulting firm GlobeScan.

The survey, published Thursday, created a Refugees Welcome Index that ranks countries on a scale from zero to 100, where zero means that all survey respondents would refuse refugees entry to their country and 100 means that all respondents would accept refugees into their neighborhood. Russia was given an index score of 18, the lowest.

Half a Million Foreigners Deported from Russia in 4 Years

Recent legislation has lead to a sharp rise in the number of foreigners being deported from Russia, a leading refugee charity reported Tuesday.

Research from migration organization the Civic Assistance Committee shows that more than 513, 000 deportation orders have been passed by the Russian courts since 2013. Civic Assistance Committee spokesman Konstantin Troitsky linked the increase to tougher migration legislature passed in July of 2013. “Deportation has become mandatory in case of repeated violations of law, tax evasion or administrative fines, ” Troitsky said.

Russia: Attack on Migrant Puts Racism Back on Agenda

An ugly dust-up in Moscow, seemingly provoked by racial hatred, has landed a migrant laborer from Tajikistan in the hospital and threatens to leave him blind in one eye.

On the evening of April 8, Tajik citizen Sulaiman Saidov was targeted in an apparently unprovoked assault that culminated in him being shot four times with an Osa traumatic handgun. Saidov’s cousin, Dilshod Abdurahmonov, told that the incident started when the attacker approached Saidov on a metro train and made a threatening remark: “Either you disappear or it will be the end of you.” Judging the man to be drunk, Saidov, who was in a metro carriage with another one of his cousins, 19-year old Muhammadjon Hakimov, ignored the warning.

“But then suddenly the man pulled out a pistol and fired one shot.

Russia, North Korea Deal Leaves Defectors Exposed, Activist Says

Svetlana Gannushkina said a repatriation agreement leaves North Koreans in Russia vulnerable to deportation.

MOSCOW, March 22 (UPI) – A Russian human rights activist said an agreement between Moscow and Pyongyang on North Korean defectors living in Russia is tantamount to a defector repatriation agreement. The agreement on the repatriation of “illegal” persons signed on Feb. 2 increases the vulnerability of North Korean refugees, said Svetlana Gannushkina, a prominent rights activist.