Russian text

“Memorial” Human Rights Center

“Migration Right”

Network of Legal Consultations for Refugees, Forced Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons in the regions of Russia

Contact information:

List of Regional Branches

Migration situation

Aims and Tasks of the Network


How Network works

 Network Partners

Relations with state structures


 Network Proceedings


Manuals for Migrants




Migration Right” Network of legal assistance to forced migrants was founded in 1996. This is one of the programmes of the “Memorial” HRC having a great experience in the field of human rights protection in Russia The basic aim of the programme is to create a qualified, effective and accessible to every forced migrant system of free legal assistance. At the present time (March 2005) Network embraces 45 regions of Russia, in which over 80% of all forced migrants reside. The total number of Network posts reached 57, four of them being located in Chechen republic, and Tatarstan, Dagestan, Rostovskaya, Voronezhskaya, Orlovskaya and Chelyabinskaya areas, Krasnodar and Stavropolsky territories having two each. Professional lawyers, including attorneys with big experience, work at our Network. First of al we try to provide legal assistance for the regions, bordering with the territories, which became permanent source of migration.

Practice has shown that the most actively operating posts are becoming units of a regional network – they organize consultative posts and find financing for them.

The Network Coordination Center is located in Moscow.

The programme functions with the support of:
the Department of the UNO Supreme Commissar for refugees (UNHCR),
Ford Foundation,
Mott Foundation.
A big role in the development of the Network was played by the support of the democratic TACIS programme of the European Union.
Project is partially funded by the European Union (EU) European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights Delegation of the European Commission to Russia;
A serious financial support is provided by the government of through the international organization the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), uniting 80 non-government organizations rendering assistance to refugees from 31 countries.

As a result of many years of cooperation between ECRE and “Migration Right” Network, on February 27, 2003 the “Memorial Human Rights Center” became the first public organization in the territory of CIS that became the member of ECRE.

Network lawyers conduct about 22000 consultations per year, render assistance in preparation of over 2000 claims, complaints and applications to court, perform about 400-500 free consultations at the temporary displacement centers and places of compact residence of migrants; lawyers of the Network represent interests of migrants in courts in over 1000 cases annually.


The Director of the network is a member of the Board f the “Memorial” Human Rights Center, member of the Government Commission on Migration, member of the Commission for Human Rights under the President of Russia Svetlana Alekseevna Gannushkina.


Contact information:

Address: 12, Maly Karetny pereulok, Moscow, 103051

Telephone: 200 65 06, 251 53 19, 790 74 55,

Fax: (499) 251 53 19,




Migration situation

Migration situation in Russia, starting from 1991, was determined by a number of factors, primarily related to the disintegration of the USSR. More than 3 mln Russian, out of 25 mln that lived outside it moved to the Russian Federation out of former Soviet Union Republics. Multi-thousand migration flows inside the country and from outside its borders were caused by armed and ethnical conflicts.

In 1993 Russia acceded to the UNO Convention of 1951 “On Refugee Status”, and at the same laws “On Refugees” and “On Forced Migrants”, second wording of which were correspondingly adopted in 1997 and 1995, became effective. By the Resolution of the Government of the RF of April 9, N 274, an order of granting a temporary shelter in the territory of the RF was determined. *)


*) In accordance with the definition of the UNO Convention of 1951, a refugee is a person, who “due o fully substantiated fears of becoming a victim of persecution according to race, religion, citizenship, membership of a certain social group or political convictions are located outside of the country of their citizenship and cannot use protection of this country…”; a similar definition is given by the RF Law “On Refugees”.

A notion of a forced migrant is given in the RF Law “On Forced Migrants”. This is an exclusively Russian notion, determining a legal status of a citizen of Russia, who left a place of permanent residence in connection with the same circumstances as a refugee.

The international law considers persons, who are forced to leave places of habitual residence as a result of an armed conflict, continuous violations of human rights, Acts of God or calamities, caused by the activity of a man, and who did not cross state borders, as internally displaced persons (IDP). There is no such notion in the Russian legislation.

Temporary asylum is given to a foreign citizen or person without citizenship when there are grounds for recognizing him a refugee or there are humane reasons that require his temporary stay in the territory of the RF (for example, state of health) until an elimination of such reasons or change of a legal position of a person.

We shall call refugees, forced migrants and IDP such persons who are in a corresponding position irrespective of the fact if they have an official status or not.


A total number of migrants at whom are Network is oriented are refugees, forced migrants, IDP, and partially, labour migrants who need protection, constitutes, according to our evaluations, about 3 million.

In May 1996 at the UN Conference on migration in CIS countries the Russian authorities declared that there were 290 thousand refugees and 900 forced migrants, having a status in the territory of the RF. Both arrived to the RF exclusively from the countries of former USSR.

During the last years these numbers have considerably dropped. Certificates of the most part of refugees were recognized as document of undue form. The certificates of the approved form were not issued to the refugees on the grounds that they had not passed a status determination procedure. A status is granted to forced migrants for the term of 5 years, upon the expiration of which migration bodies had to prolong its validity to those who did not manage to settle. However the majority of forced migrants lost the status without receiving anything from the state.

For the present day (the end of 2003) only 10 thousand persons have the status of a refugee, from whom there are 8 thousand inhabitants of Southern Osetia, who received that status in Northern Osetia-Alania.

A number of refugees from distant foreign countries are only 411 persons. There are about 1200 people who received a temporary asylum. An actual number of refugees is much more, if one takes into account that there are not less than 150 thousand Afghani only in the RF.

About 470 thousand migrants have a status of a forced migrant.

There is no special IDP status in the Russian law. The status of a forced migrant, which was given during the first Chechen campaign, already was not given after a resumption of military actions in Chechnya.

The basis of a migration policy during the last 3 years is a struggle against illegal migration to which about 2 million of residents of Russia, who previously were located in its territory on legitimate grounds, were referred.

The Federal Law “On Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in the Territory of the RF”, which became effective in November 2002, turned not less than 500 thousand persons (according to other evaluations 2 million) of our former compatriots who arrived to Russia on legitimate grounds into illegal persons. This law introduced three possible types of legal position of a foreign citizen and a person without citizenship, not making any distinctions between them, in the territory of the RF: temporary stay, temporary residence and permanent residence, a permission for which is confirmed by issuance of a residence permit. A temporary stay of foreigners having a visa is legal until the visa is valid. For CIS citizens, having a right to visa-less entry to Russia, a temporary stay cannot last for more than 3 months. Permission for a temporary residence is issued for the term of 3 years, but only within the framework of a regional quota. 6 months are given for bringing in a resolution, i.e. temporarily staying persons have no time to obtain it during one stay and are forced to cross a border several times. At last, foreign citizens who received permission for temporary residence have no right to a freedom of movement, which crudely violates article 27 of the RF Constitution and the international law.

A quadrilateral agreement between the RF, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Byelorussia of February 26, 1999, about a right of citizens of one of the parties to acquire a citizenship of other country in a simplified (registration) order, is not functioning. Such a unilateral agreement termination on the spur of the moment violates rights of compatriots moving to Russia.

Federal Law “On RF Citizenship” deprived many relatives and close persons of Russian citizens of citizenship: elderly parents, children, husbands and wives. Amendments adopted on November 11, 2003, improved the situation but did not resolve the problem completely. It is also necessary to point out that for the first time from 1993 a registration at the place of residence (propiska - residence permit) was legislatively recognized as a source of a right. In the amendments it is three times determining such a fundamental right as a right of a citizen of Russia to become its citizen. By this, achievements of the Russia legal system in overcoming consequences of the residence permit institute, liquidation of which is included into the number of international obligations of Russia, are practically coming to naught.

Adopted practice frequently does not correspond to the laws and international obligations of Russia. The Government does not take measures for implementation of the norms declared in the laws on refugees and forced migrants, which are called up to provide their settlement at a new place and integration into society. Budget allocations for accommodation of persons having a status of forced migrants and refugees are being reduced. Forced migrants do not receive loans for acquisition or construction of residence, as according to the new legislation a loan can be received by legal entities only. Subsidies, allocated for these persons are so insignificant that those not many persons to whom they were given cannot solve their residence problem for resources allocated.

In summer of 2003 a Resolution of the RF Government of July 4, N 404 “On the order of making compensation payments for lost residence and property, which suffered as a result of solving a crisis in Chechen Republic, to those permanently residing in its territory”. The amounts of payments envisaged by resolution N 404 is 300 thousand roubles (10000 USD) for residence and 50 thousand roubles (1500 USD) for property, which is not little for Chechen Republic. However the Resolution includes a rather doubtful mechanism of revealing lost residence. A right to receiving compensation payments was recognized only for citizens, whose residence is included into the list of the one not subject to restoration, approved by the Government of Chechen Republic and the State Committee of the RF on Construction and Housing and Public Utilities Complex upon coordination with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the RF and the Ministry of Interior of the RF. The rest inhabitants of Chechnya will get nothing, and according to the words of Chechen authorities, should wait until resources for the programmes of restoration of social and economic sphere of Chechnya are received by republican budget. Immediately a struggle for inclusion of residence into the list of residence not subject to restoration was started. This list did not include destroyed premises, and sometimes included premises not suitable for living. Authorities declared about numerous abuses and ceased payments.

Great hopes were put to item 10 of Resolution N 404, which obliged responsible ministries to submit proposals for an introduction of changes into resolution of the Government of the RF of April 30, 1997, N 510, “On the order of paying compensations for lost residence and/or property to citizens, who suffered as a result of solving crisis in Chechen Republic and who left it for good” to the Government of the RF in a 2 months time. These changes should have extended the timeframe of the validity of Resolution N 510 in such a way, so that compensation could have been received by those, who left Chechnya during the second wave of military activities. Besides, the size of the compensation, which according to resolution N 510 constituted not more than 120 thousand roubles (4000 USD) for residence and 20 thousand for property, should have been increased. However by the moment of publication of this booklet the changes have not been introduced.


Thus, in spite of the fact that Russian ratified the Convention on Refugee status of 1951 and an Additional Protocol of 1967, as well as adopted relatively liberal laws, regulating a legal position of refugees and forced migrants, nevertheless the state refuses to treat migration problems as priority ones.

Several reorganizations of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) took place during the last 3 years: its liquidation as an independent institution in May 2002 and inclusion it as a department into the Ministry on Affairs of Federation, National and Migration Policy, which was eliminated in October 2001, and FMS was included into composition of the Ministry of Interior of the RF. That brought about the fact that for a continuous period the activity of territorial bodies was actually paralyzed, financing programmes of assistance to forced migrants was practically stopped. Now, when territorial migration bodies are transformed into the Department on Migration Affairs (DMA) and are included into composition of territorial bodies of interior (municipal departments of interior - GUVD), links between FMS of the Ministry of Interior and DMA GUVD are not those of a direct subordination, but are limited by exclusively methodological support. One cannot expect a consistent and humane migration policy under such conditions for the time being.

The existing situation of legal defenselessness makes forced migrants not only overcome difficulties of settlement at a new place, but also defend their legitimate rights, one of which is becoming legalization. Violation of the rights of migrants at the level of regional and departmental normative regulation and in administrative practice is aggravated by the fact that employees of bodies of interior cannot master all peculiarities of changed and unreasonably overcomplicated normative base and procedures for issuing permissions for temporary and permanent residence during a short period of time. A lost time to stay in the territory of Russia for unlimited period of time deprives former compatriots from CIS and Baltic countries of an access to medical assistance, school education, allowances for children, pensions, hope for housing. Thus, part 3 of article 62 of the RF Constitution, according to which “foreign citizens and persons without citizenship in the RF use rights and bear obligations on equal basis with RF citizens”, is violated.

Not having enough information about their rights and obligations, and not having resources for legal support and attorney’s assistance, migrants become a permanent object of abuses by regional power structures and separate officials.

In these conditions social free consultation posts for forced migrants are becoming the main, if not the only one, source of independent and objective legal assistance.

A court defense of rights of forced migrants is not always effective. Often judges do not have necessary knowledge in the field of the migration law and non-critically approaches a position of state bodies, the actions of which are appealed. Not rarely they give preference to local normative acts, instead of being guided by federal legislation. However judicial power, in the first place the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court, at present give a substantiated hope for the fact that legislation and statutory acts could be brought into correspondence with the RF Constitution and international law.


Resolution of the RF Government of April 30, 1997 N 510 on compensation to citizens, who left Chechnya for good during the time of military actions, contained a requirement of placement on record at migration bodies; besides, in 2001 the term of the validity of this Resolution was limited. Upon our application, The Supreme Court recognized that both are illegitimate. This, according to the FMS data, gave a possibility to receive compensation additionally to more than 1700 families. Each payment for a family constituted 4000-4500 dollars, and a total sum of payments as a result of these two decisions of the Supreme Court constituted the amount of the order of 7 mln dollars. We also managed in the judicial order to achieve an introduction of changes into several Moscow acts, first of all into the rules of registration at the place of residence and stay in Moscow and Moscow area: norms of living space, terms of registration and a requirement about the need of registration when accepting children to schools and kindergartens were canceled.

Not once the Constitutional Court (in 1996 and 1998) recognized laws and government resolutions, returned an institute of residence registration, limiting registration in time or by availability of a living space, charging of large additional fees from foreign citizens when they by property in the RF and others, as contradicting to the RF Constitution. In November 2001 the Constitutional Court resolved that conviction in committed crime cannot serve as a ground for depriving a forced migrant status.

Great expectations are associated with the possibilities of the European Court (EC), in spite of a big duration of its procedures. Six applications, supported by the “Memorial” Human Right Center, submitted to the EC by victims of military hostilities in Chechnya, are recognized as acceptable and are waiting for a resolution in a near future.


Aims and Tasks of the Network

An immediate task of the Network is a protection of rights and legitimate interests of forced migrants – providing a free consultative assistance to them, preparation of legal, including judicial, documents for them, support at administrative and judicial bodies. Legal assistance in the framework of the programme is first of all provided to:


In a number of cases legal assistance is also provided to other categories of migrants.

A concrete task of providing a legal assistance is only a part of a more general and perspective goal: to provide conditions for integration of migrants into the society, obtain a solution of their problems on the basis of generally accepted legal standards; eliminate a discriminatory approach and arbitrariness on behalf of officials of all levels. That is why, in addition to providing a concrete legal assistance to migrants, the Network puts more general tasks before itself.


How “Migration Right” Network works


Regional posts are the basis of the Network. As a rule, they are created on the basis of non-government organization, engaged with the problems of migration and defending rights of refugees, forced migrants and IDP. We conclude an agreement on non-commercial partnership with these organizations. Several posts are operating directly on the basis of migration bodies. This is possible in the regions where an attitude towards migrants is benevolent.

The Network turned out to be a good mechanism of effective work of the “Memorial” Human Rights Center as a whole. After resumption of military hostilities in Chechnya, receptions of a more wide profile were organized in the framework of the Network, on the basis of which the programme “Trouble spots”, which is headed by the chairman of the “Memorial” HRC Oleg Petrovich Orlov, works.

Only in Republic of Ingushetia and Chechen republic the Network pays a rent for receptions, which in addition to legal assistance are engaged in monitoring of violations of human rights and social problems. The results of the monitoring are brought to information of wide public.

The obligations of each of the posts include:

Regional posts report about their work before the Coordination center. Coordination Center:

-                      accumulates and generalizes all information about the work of the Network, including reports of regional posts, conducts an organizational work;

-                      develops programmes of training seminars, organizes them and publishes collected works and other manuals[1] according to thee results of the seminars;

-                      acquires and supplies regional posts with necessary literature, as well as technical equipment;

-                      carries out bookkeeping accounting, related to the work of the Network.

Employees of the Coordination Center periodically visit regional posts and participate in regional events and support permanent electronic communication with all posts of the Network.

Reports are sent three times a month, if a sponsor does not require to make it more often. Reports are prepared according to a single form and stored in the corresponding databases Lotus Notes. All posts are linked between themselves via Internet. For experience exchange a database on judicial cases, which is kept by lawyers of regional posts, was developed. These databases are at the server Lotus Domino, located at the Coordination Center in Moscow.

The center developed and constantly updates databases on legislation, on answers of ministries and establishments to generally important inquiries of Network employees, on the status of migration situation and its evaluation by Network lawyers, other organizations and press. Each post has a client’s programme Lotus Notes and replicas of necessary databases at their local computers. With a help of periodic replication of these bases with the server their timely updating is achieved.

Besides, a great part of information about Network work, as well as addresses of the posts, telephones and reception hours are accessible through Internet at the address

Consultants of a high qualification work at the Network, who:

-                      analyze and generalize reports of regional employees and judicial practice,

-                      answer to inquiries of regional posts, participate in the development of legislative proposals on the matters affecting the rights of forced migrants,

-                      make conclusions on draft laws or functioning federal and regional acts. These conclusions are brought to information of corresponding state bodies, State Duma deputies, non-government organizations and other interested persons.


At least twice a year “Migration Right” Network conducts seminars on the problems of migration law, topical for Russian and for the world community as a whole. Leading Western specialists in the field of migration law, Russian lawyers, leading specialists of Ministries and establishments take part in them.

In addition to training seminars, in 2002-2003 we organized 4 seminars for attorneys – members of Chechen Bar Association on the subject – “Changes in the Russian Legislation. Work of Attorneys at Courts” together with Office for Democratic Institutions ad Human Rights of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, UNHCR and Independent Council of Legal Expertise. Sessions were conducted by leading lawyers - scientists and attorneys of Moscow. Seminars caused a great interest on behalf of attorneys of Chechen Republic. The first guarded attitude to Moscow colleagues disappeared at the very first minutes of communication, when trainees understood that we are well aware of the situation in Chechnya, where representatives of our organizations permanently work and are involved with all problems.

A feeling of being cut off from the world was overcome; our trainees felt that they are lawyers again and people, whose problems are not indifferent to the world. They take this feeling to Chechnya, pass it on to other inhabitants of Chechnya, who obtain hope for a possibility to struggle with arbitrariness by legal methods.

A seminar on the same subject was conducted together with UN HCR (offices in Moscow and Valdicavcaz) and Independent Council of legal expertise for employees of “Vesta” organization, working in the Northern Caucuses.

The Network also organized tow international seminars in Moscow in cooperation with ECRE with the support of UNHCR for judges, employees of migration bodies and lawyers of NGO of Byelorussia, Russia and Ukraine. The “Concept of the third safe country” and “Access to the procedure for determination of refugees’ status” were considered at these seminars from the point of view of the international law.


The work of the “Migration Right” Network during the time of its existence has shown that legal consultations together with juridical support on separate court cases (up to the higher instance) can create a positive court practice and by this change the position of migrants to the better.

This is reached by different ways.

One of the ways is organization of a large amount of one type cases, won in courts, attracting an attention of the authorities of the Supreme Court to the problem as a whole with the aim of initiating Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court or an instruction letter of a corresponding content.


In 1997 payments of compensations for lost residence and property to citizens, who run away from Chechnya during the first wave of military activities started. Many of them had no orders for residence, without which applications for compensations were not accepted. A campaign of numerous applications to courts for establishing the fact of ownership of residence, as well as other facts of importance for receiving compensation was organized. After that we applied to the Supreme Court (SC) with a request to consider these cases not in the queue due to their great importance for destinies of many people. N.Yu. Sergeeva, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court, sent a letter, in which without encroachment upon independence of judges, recommended to consider cases of this category in the periods established by the law, i.e. in a 10 day period. In the situation of an overburden of courts such recommendation meant the first turn consideration. Besides, I connection with the military hostilities in Chechnya, the SC recommended courts to consider such applications not at the place of location of a former residence, where courts did not work, but at the place of actual location of an applicant, in order not to violate his right to a court defense.

After a number of applications, the Plenum of the SC in 1996 indicated (the case of Kakulia) to courts that for the cases, related to the refusals in granting a status of a refugee or a forced migrant, a burden of proving lies not only upon an applicant, as it happens in a usual civil process, but upon migration bodies as well, as often an applicant due to his position can only present the facts of persecution, but not to prove them. Checking of information, presented by a person seeking an asylum, is an obligation of state structures, which have all necessary possibilities for that.

Citizens of the USSR, who permanently resided in the territory of Russia as of 6.02.92 (the date of enactment of the law on citizenship) were recognized as citizens of the RF. However, for a long period of time only a registration at the place of residence (permanent residence permit), confirmed by a stamp in a passport, was recognized as a proof of permanent residence.  Lawyers of NGO organized a campaign for establishing a fact of permanent residence in the territory of Russia as of 6.02.92 courts. At the beginning the courts refused to consider such applications. The campaign was carried out, which ended in an instruction letter of the deputy chairman of the Supreme Court, in which the following position of the SC is expressed: “cases on establishing the above facts are under the jurisdiction of courts of general jurisdiction, as they cause legal consequences – recognition of the Russian citizenship”.

Other method lies in application to the Supreme Court or Constitutional Court in protection of interests of undefined group of persons, when a decision on recognition of a legal act or its part as contradictory and not subject to application, adopted by a judicial power, causes the change of a situation as a whole, and further on analogous cases are resolved without application to court.

Thus, according to the Resolution of the Government of the RF of April 30, N 510, compensation could be received only by citizens who in 1994-96 left Chechnya for good, and were placed on record at the migration bodies; besides, in 2001 the term of the validity of this resolution was restricted. The Supreme Court recognized both as illegal. This, according to the FMS gave a possibility to get compensation for 1700 families additionally. Each payment per family constituted 4000-4500 dollars and the total amount of payments as a result of these two decisions of the SC constituted the sum of the order of 7 mln dollars.

By a determination of the Constitutional Court (CC) it was recognized that practice of refusal in placement on pensions record for people, who only have permission for temporary residence (and not a residence permit) do not stem from the legislation on pensions. Consequently, such practice is illegitimate, that is why there is no need for a special resolution for that. Thus, the refusal of the CC in this determination solved this problem.


“Migration Right” Network Partners


The “migration Right” programme exists and successfully develops thanks to partnership with other organizations, engaged in the problems of migration.

First of all this is a Regional representation of the UNHCR in Moscow. It is thanks to financial support of the UNHCR that we opened and equipped the first posts of the Network. UN HCR continues funding 20 consultative posts and partially the Coordination Center in Moscow. In addition to financing, UNHCR renders a valuable methodological and organizational assistance, permitting us to follow the general world practice of the application of the Convention on refugee status and maintain contacts with organizations in other countries, analogous to the Network. We hope that fruitful cooperation with UN HCR will continue and strengthen in future.

In 1997 in the course of implementation of project according to TACIS programme the Network became a partner of ECRE and its legal network ELENA, uniting lawyers, specializing in the field of rendering legal assistance to refugee. Cooperation with ECRE/ELENA is exceptionally valuable for us thanks to the huge experience, accumulated by this international organization, assisting us in conducting training seminars for Russian lawyers, in analysis of the international situation, development of law and literature in the field of migration. We are planning to activate the participation of the lawyers of the Network in the activity of ECRE/ELENA, as well as exchange of experience and useful information, to which contributes a membership of HRC “Memorial” in ECRE.

The network successfully cooperates with foreign non- government organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Danish Council on refugees, Finnish Council for the assistance to refugees, Norwegian Council for Refugees, The Network maintains direct contacts with non-government organizations of other CIS countries, rendering assistance to forced migrants, and exchanging information with them, which allows to have an impression of the migration situation in these countries.

If one speaks about Programme partners among Russian non-government organizations these are first of all four other programmes of the “Memorial” HRC: “Discrimination due to ethnical reasons”, “Persecution according to political motives”, “Trouble Spots”, “Preparation of cases for the European Court”. All these programmes are related to monitoring of human rights observation in different regions of Russia and CIS, and especially in the zones of inter-ethnical conflicts. Knowledge of the situation with human rights in the regions of migrants exodus creates a possibility for a more qualified protection of their rights, especially in cases, when during the solution of the problem of granting status there appears a necessity to substantiate a forced character of displacement.

Of significant importance for the operation of the Network is a constructive cooperation with organizations of migrants themselves, first of all with their association – a Forum of migrants’ organizations. The Forum puts as its task a protection of interests of migrants organizations in their relations with public organizations in the center and locally, and its departments exist in many Russian regions. In some regions lawyers of the Network are working directly on the basis of organizations included into the Forum; in any case they are striving for establishing a working interaction with them.

The most close working and human relations exist between the Network and oldest non-government organization, which takes up care about forced migrants – Moscow Committee for Assistance to Refugees and Forced Migrants- “Civic Assistance Committee”, on the basis of which Moscow post of the Network works. HRC “Memorial” and “Civic Assistance” Committee are carrying out joint work in Ingushetia and Chechnya, where at our receptions assistance to ill persons is rendered and to where batches of food products, gathered by the “Civic Assistance” Committee, are sent.

One more partner of the Programme is an Independent Council of Legal Expertise, which includes notorious lawyers-researchers and practitioners. This organization renders assistance to the Network in conducting seminars, preparation of expert conclusions about draft laws and functioning normative acts, touching upon rights of forced migrants, as well as in an analysis of the existing enforcement practice.

Locally, Network posts are cooperating with regional human rights organizations, first of all with “Memorial’s” departments and migrants’ organizations, associations of lawyers, communities of migrants. Network posts work on their basis, their addresses and names can be found in the below list of Network posts. We thank all our regional partners for cooperation and permanent support of the “Migration Right” Network.


Relations with state structures

We realize that the main tasks of the Network – protection of migrants’ rights and development of a legal approach to the solution of migration problems with the account of the international obligations of the Russian Federation and the RF Constitution- cannot be achieved without constructive cooperation with official structures. By this the relations of the Network with state bodies, in this or that extent involved in the solution of issues related to legal position of refugees and forced migrants, are determined.

The most important role in granting registration to newly arrived migrants, in status determination, their settlement, is played by the Ministry of Interior. Local bodies of interior are far from always aware of the differences between rights of usual travelers and forced migrants, victims of national dissension, violence, and discrimination. The Network tries to achieve uniformity in application of laws and normative acts of the RF by the bodies of interior through the Ministry of Interior.

Not seldom does the Network apply to the Office of Attorney General with petitions for the introduction of protests in respect of regional and departmental normative acts, contradicting to the federal legislation. Such applications are supported by experts’ conclusions prepared by consultants of the Coordination Center or Independent Council of Legal expertise. Often the Office of Attorney General, sharing the point of view expressed by us, submits a protest to the address of a corresponding state body, and if the protest is rejected, they apply to judicial instances. Such active and fruitful cooperation many times caused cancellation of illegitimate normative acts and gives grounds to believe that a uniform understanding and application of federal legislation in the whole territory of Russia is not an unattainable goal.

Sometimes we apply to the Ministry of Justice with a request to make an examination of a contested act. Such examination strengthens our position in courts.

One of the ways of adjusting mutual understanding between the Network and executive power bodies is participation of representatives of the FMS, PVD of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Attorney General and other institutions in the seminars for lawyers of the Network. Information, in which they state the position of their establishments, answers to the questions and participation in a general discussion are extremely useful for further work. As a rule, establishments reveal an interest in such cooperation, which undoubtedly helps to find answers to many complicated questions which migrants face. Besides, lawyers from regions obtain a possibility of a direct communication with representatives of federal structures.

Taking into account an urgent need in partial updating and improving legislation, regulating a legal position of forced migrants, the Network is striving to attract attention of the State Duma to this problem. Here it is based on the support of a number of deputies – like minded persons, first of all the deputy V.V. Igrunov, one of the initiators of the creation of the “Memorial” HRC and ‘Civic Assistance” Committee.






“Migration Right” Network Seminars Materials


Seminar 1, Moscow, 1996, December 19-20


Setting up a network of legal assistance for refugees and forced migrants in Russia. "Zvenya", Moscow, 1997.

Seminar 2, Moscow, 1997, April 25-26


Dealing with the problems of refugees and forced migrants through the legislative, judicial and administrative systems.


Seminar 3, Moscow, 1997, November 27-28


Violation of international norms and the Russian legislation on the rights of refugees and forced migrants. (2 and 3 seminar in one book). "Zvenya", Moscow, 1999.


Seminar 4, Moscow, 1998, April  24-26


Current problems of migration. International mechanism for refugees' rights protection. "URAO", Moscow, 1999.

Seminar 5, Moscow, 1998,  December 3-5


Legal problems of citizenship acquisition by forced migrants and their job placement on the territory of the Russian Federation. "Valent", Moscow, 2000.

Seminar  6, Moscow, 1999, April 22-24


Legal issues concerning the social protection of forced migrants in Russia (in two parts). "R.Valent", Moscow, 2000.


Seminar 7, Moscow, 1999, October 21-24

ELENA International Course on Refugee and Asylum Law.

(was not published)


Seminar, Prague, 1999,  December 3-4

Refugee status determination: standard of proof and status determination of undocumented asylum seekers. "R.Valent", Moscow, 2000.

Seminar 8, Moscow, 2000,  April 25-28


Problems of victims of warfare in the Chechen Republic. Mechanism for the execution of court judgements and implementation of prosecution response measures. "R.Valent", Moscow, 2000.


Seminar 9, Moscow, 2000, September 28- October 1


State of administrative and judicial practice on the issues pertaining to the situation of refugees and forced settlers (is being translated)



M. Lobov. Issues concerning the application of the European Convention on Human Rights. Guarantees of rights to property. Protection of refugees' rights. Supervision over the execution of the European Court decisions. "R.Valent", Moscow, 2001.


Seminar 10, Moscow, 2001, January 17-19


Tax and tariff legislation as applied to problems of forced migrants. "R.Valent", Moscow, 2001.


Seminar 11, Moscow, 2001, April  26-28


Legal and social situation of forced migrants in Russia. Minimal international guarantees (there is no translation). "R.Valent", Moscow, 2001.


Seminar 12, Moscow, 2001, October, 26 – 28 ã

Work with Asylum Seekers

Seminar 13, Moscow, 2002, April 27-29

Legal and social problems of internally displaced persons (IDP)

Seminar 14, Moscow, 2002, October 24-28

Problems of theory and practice of application of new legislative norms




S. Gannushkina. On the Implementation by the Russian Federation of the Programme of Action Developed in May 1996 at the Regional Conference to Address the Problems of Refugees, Displaced Persons, Other Forms of Involuntary Displacement and Returnees in the Counties of the CIS and Relevant Neighboring States. "R-Valent", Moscow, 2000. Re-published in 2001.

S.A. Gannushkina The Internally Displaced Persons from Chechnya in the Russian Federation.  "R-Valent", Moscow, 2002.


S.A. Gannushkina The Internally Displaced Persons from Chechnya in the Russian Federation/ June 2002 – May 2003. "R-Valent", Moscow, 2003.

Orlov O.P. Conditional Justice. About situation with investigation of crimes against civil persons, committed by representatives of federal forces in the territory of Chechen Republic in the course of military actions of 1999-2003 (as of May 2003). "R-Valent", Moscow, 2003.

Anna Politkovskaya Alien War, or Life behind the Barrier. Chechnya. "R-Valent", Moscow, 2002.


Manuals for Migrants

L.V.  Andreychenko, E.V. Belousova. In an assistance to forced migrants. “Zvenya”, Moscow, 1999.


Petrosyan M.E. A foced migrant has a right. Legal handbook. "R-Valent", Moscow, 2002.

(published upon order of the “Civic Assistance Committee”)


Dulnev B.N. Checking documents and registration at a public place…

"R-Valent", Moscow, 2002.

(published upon order of the “Civic Assistance Committee”)



"Civic Assistance" Committee (format 20x20). "R-Valent", Moscow , 2000.

"Civic Assistance" Committee (format 10x20). “R-Valent", Moscow, 2000.

"Migration Right" Network. "R-Valent", Moscow, 2000.


[1] See list of publications