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MOSCOW, August 10 (RIA Novosti) – Hundreds of labor migrants forcibly placed in a tent camp in eastern Moscow ahead of their deportation will be moved to summer camps, the Kremlin’s human rights council said Saturday.
Last weekend, more than 600 people have been placed in green tents with bunk beds in the camp after police detained some 1,400 migrants, mostly from Vietnam, over alleged violations of migration rules. Officials said they had to set up the tented camp as an emergency measure as the permanent centers for detained foreigners were full. The inmates are waiting for the courts and migration authorities to decide on their deportation.
Following complaints from human rights groups and individuals, the Moscow government beefed up sanitary measures in the camp in the eastern Golyanovo district, the council said in a statement Saturday.
It said that Moscow government plans to move the camp’s inhabitants to “more adapted conditions” in vacant summer camps for children.
Hundreds of summer camps for children operate in the Moscow region, authorities say.
The council inspected the camp Friday and said the tents were overpopulated and lacked cleanliness.
Russian media reports Thursday said some two dozen detainees allegedly had chickenpox, but there has been no official confirmation. The Human Rights Watch non-governmental organization claimed 30 of the camp’s inmates had been hospitalized “due to severe skin rash and allergies of unknown origin.”
The raids on Moscow markets and other migrant workplaces began last week in the wake of an attack on a police officer who was seriously injured at a market while trying to detain a suspected sex offender.
Economic growth driven by revenues from oil exports and a dwindling domestic labor force have made Russia a magnet for millions of labor migrants, mostly from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Some 11.3 million foreigners entered Russia this year, of whom 3 million work illegally, Federal Migration Service chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said in late July.
Labor migration has triggered xenophobia and hate attacks and has become a focal point in campaigning for Moscow’s mayoral election, set for September 8.
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Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.