Syrian refugees in Russia get last minute reprieve from deportation
Feb 27, 2016 03:45 AM EST
Amnesty International and human rights groups have raised concerns about Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Russia when they faced an imminent deportation. Since then, reports halting the deportation surfaced.
The decision to grant last-minute reprieve to the Syrian refugees were given while the three are being escorted to Moscow's Vnukovo airport for their flight going to Damascus. According to Civic Assistance Committee, Svetlana Gannushkina, Kremlin's human rights council, chief Mikhail Fedotov, and the European Court of Human Rights were responsible for barring the deportation.
"For now they will stay in the centre till we obtain their release and I hope temporary asylum," Gannushkina told AFP.
Associated Press reported that Amnesty International researcher, Federica Behr, said sending them back to war-ravaged Syria will be a violation of the International Refugee convention to which, Russia is one of the signatories.
Russia takes only few refugees from Syria. Currently there are over 7,000 Syrians living in Russia. About 1,000 of them applied for temporary asylum which lasts for a year and can be extended, Naharnet reported.
Human rights groups protested against the supposed deportation and criticized the Russian government by saying that the refugees cannot be returned while a war is going on in Syria. Amnesty International called the move a "shameful approach to people in need of international protection."
The three were working in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan prior to their capture. Two of them arrived on visas that had already expired while the other one used a relative's passport.
On Friday, the three were escorted back to North Caucasus where they will stay in the detention center. Since the war in Syria broke out, one of the men attempted suicide by slashing his wrist twice upon learning that his father and siblings died because of bombings.
In September, Russia launched a bombing campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.