Russian Federation Law On Refugees
The Russian Federation’s Law on Refugees defines who is a “refugee” for purposes of obtaining asylum in the country. The Law defines a refugee as a “person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution. Upon receiving an asylum seeker’s application, the Russian Federal Migration Service (“FMS”) determines whether the asylum seeker meets the legislative definition of a “refugee” and should be granted asylum.
As of year end 2006, 1,020 people have been granted temporary asylum status and 405 people have been granted full refugee status by the Russian government. It is estimated, however, that there may be as many as one million “undocumented foreigners” on Russian soil awaiting initial access to the procedure of refugee status determination. The Russian authorities are notorious for denying refugee status to asylum seekers – with the approval rate for refugee status at only 2-5% of applicants.
According to an April 2007 report, individuals from Afghanistan constitute the largest number of asylum seekers in Russia. According to Vladimir Rucheikov, head of asylum issues in the Citizenship Department of the Federal Migration Service of Russia, Afghanis make up over 70% of all submitted applications. Additionally, Afghans make up the majority of those that actually gain “refugee” status (As of 2006, 962 Afghans have been granted temporary asylum status and 240 Afghans have been granted full refugee status). Asylum seekers in Russia also originate from various African and Middle Eastern countries.
Given the significant difficulty in obtaining refugee status, many asylum seekers seek non profit legal representation (such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”), that help them consider the most durable and realistic solution for them and their family. Without legal assistance, the legal intricacies of the Law on Refugees are likely to be overlooked, and their application for asylum could be denied regardless of the legitimacy of their claim.
Read more about Russian Federation Law On Refugees: Historical Development of Refugee Law in Russia, Russia’s Current Law On Refugees, Criticism of Russia’s Law On Refugees, Organizations Offering Legal Representation To Refugees, Present Day Conditions For Asylum Seekers in Russia
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