Interior Ministry develops identification document for persons without citizenship

Interior Ministry develops identification document for persons without citizenship
A senior Russian human rights official has told reporters that a special identification document is being developed by Russia’s Interior Ministry for people who have no passports, such as refugees and homeless people who have lost their documents.

“A document must be introduced that will allow the identification of persons without citizenship. This document will be valid until they receive their residence permits. There are a lot of people that need this kind of paper, both in refugee centers and homeless shelters,” the chairman of Migration Policies Commission of Russia’s Council for Human Rights, Yevgeniy Bobrov, told Izvestia daily.

According to Izvestia, this has been confirmed by unnamed sources in the Russian government and law enforcement agencies.

Bobrov added that the Interior Ministry is currently developing this new form of ID. The document will contain a photo of its holder and all of their personal details, including the address of their temporary residence. The document will be issued even to applicants who have no other documents in their possession.

The Interior Ministry’s press service said there are currently about 400 people lacking citizenship living in Russia with permanent residence permits and seven thousand with permanent residence permits.

In 2014, the UN’s high commissioner for refugees said in an annual report that Russia had accepted more applications from asylum seekers fleeing repression or war than any other in the world. The report states that, in 2014, about 275,000 foreigners applied for political asylum due to wars or unfounded persecution at home. Some 7,000 of these were applications for refugee status and almost 268,000 were requests for temporary asylum.

The report blamed the surge in the number of asylum applications on the armed conflict in Ukraine, as it had never been higher than 5,000 in previous years. Over 271,000 requests came from Ukrainian citizens, making up 99 percent of the total, the report reads. Another possible factor is that Russia has proven to be much more accepting of Ukrainian applicants than Western countries.