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Moscow opens a tent camp for illegal migrants

August 06, 2013, 11:19 UTC+3

A tent camp for 1,000 people is already almost filled to capacity, but the initiative's legal status is unclear yet

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A large-scale campaign against illegal migrants in the Russian capital resulted in lack of seats for detainees at special detention centers. Russian Interior Ministry’s main department in Moscow together with the Ministry of Emergency Situations opened a tent camp for 1,000 people. It is already almost filled to capacity, but the legal status of the initiative is unclear yet. However, some reports were made public that the Federal Migration Service had already drafted a bill to create 83 new centers for keeping illegal migrants in Russia.

The campaign against the migrants was launched in Russia after a brawl on July 27, the Kommersant daily recalled. The police came to the Matveyevsky market to detain Magomed Magomedov, who is suspected of rape. His relatives from Dagestan tried to hamper the police. As a result a policeman was hospitalized with a head injury.

Since July 29 the police have launched the police raids at the Moscow markets. Despite the fact that participants in the brawl were Russian citizens, the police began to detain mainly illegal migrants. Right 1,400 people, mainly the Vietnamese, were detained at a warehouse in Irtyshsky Bystreet. All of them worked at the underground clothes-making shop.

The police faced unexpected difficulties, as there were simply not enough seats for the migrants at three Moscow special detention centers. “People are being kept at police stations, bear cages and police offices. There are horrible anti-sanitary conditions at bear cages, as tens of people are cramping in small premises and don’t have even an opportunity to have a wash,” head of the Moscow information legal centre Migration and Law Gavar Dzhurayeva told the Kommersant daily. “People depend from the arbitrariness of duty police officers at police stations, as some of them permit to pass a parcel and some others seize even a blanket from the detainees,” she said.

Finally, the Interior Ministry’s main department in Moscow has taken an unprecedented step: a tent camp was opened for migrants near the shops, where the Vietnamese were working. 200 army canvas tents are standing in several lines on the asphalt. The detainees, mainly the Vietnamese, though Egyptians, Syrians and even Afghans are detained, are sleeping on two-layer beds. Even a family with a little child was detained. 100 bio-toilets are placed nearby, field kitchens, where the buckwheat porridge with stewed meat is being cooked, are located there.

“The standards of keeping the illegal migrants are violated, people are lacking the air in the tents, as the asphalt is instead of the floor for them,” head of the Civil Assistance Foundation Svetlana Gannushkina told the daily. “According to the law, people can be deprived of freedom only at proper agencies - police stations, prison and special detention centers. This turns out that we in Moscow have the place, where people are deprived of freedom without any legal reasons,” she said.

However, the Federal Migration Service has already drafted a bill, which should settle the problem over the keeping of illegal migrants, the Kommersant daily claims. The document, which is posted at, conditions the need to create a whole network of “special agencies for keeping under the court verdict foreign citizens, who are subject to administrative expulsion from Russia or deportation” in Russia.

In September the Russian government will approve a resolution over which state agencies have a right to ban an entry to foreign citizens in Russia, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported. The draft document is made in the Federal Migration Service to fulfill new provisions of the law on the procedure of leaving and arrival in Russia. Eleven federal ministries and services are permitted to impose a ban on the arrival in Russia. All agencies, which have a right to deport foreigners, will be coordinating their actions with the Federal Security Service. Or at least the same agencies will report to the security services, which are in charge of impenetrability of borders.

The newspaper recalled that the amendments to the law on the conditions of staying in Russia will take effect from September that increases the number of reasons to notify the foreigners that their stay in Russia is undesirable.

The media have made public the reports that FMS intends to open the same camps throughout Russia. The FMS press service pledged to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily that this is not so. This concerns permanent stations of keeping the foreigners about to be deported from Russia.

However, the scandal is already being fanned up highly. For instance, the FMS branch in St. Petersburg had to state that the city will not create temporary centers for detained migrants.

The Embassy of Vietnam, the citizens of which are mainly being kept in Golyanovo, already began criticizing the Russian authorities on Monday, naming the conditions of keeping the detainees inhumane. According to the newspaper, members of the Presidential Council of Human Rights also intend on Wednesday to give a negative assessment to the current situation at “an ethnic concentration camp”, as it was described in the blogs.

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