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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Refugees Ordered to Military Camps

The Russian government has drafted an order to relocate all refugees currently living in Moscow to various regions of Russia, according to a government document. Human rights activists said Thursday that the plan would lead to a deterioration in the treatment of refugees.

A draft resolution by the Russian government dated Oct. 13 says refugees should be moved to military townships pending the construction of new housing in various regions of Russia.

Although the document has not yet been signed, Helsinki Watch, the international human rights organization, is worried that the refugees will be forced into worse living conditions.

"Military townships have huge problems", Alexander Petrov, a spokesman for the Helsinki Watch Moscow bureau, said Thursday. "There is hardly any health care or education and they are full of servicemen returning from abroad".

Petrov was also skeptical about the chances of refugees being moved to new apartments soon. "It will probably take years for new apartment blocks to be built", he said.

Currently, there are about 30, 000 registered refugees in Moscow who fled the Caucasus, Central Asia, Iraq and numerous African nations, but the number of refugees who do not have official status is about five times higher, according to Petrov.

"Not all of them are living in hotels or hostels", he said. "Some find accommodation with their friends or relatives, or rent a place for their own money if they can earn it".

The draft, which is marked "not for press", was disclosed two weeks after the Moscow authorities used the state of emergency to deport over 9, 000 non-Russians, mostly Caucasian nationals, from the city, leading to criticism by a number of human rights organizations.

Officials at the Federal Migration Service were not available Thursday for comment on the draft order.