The organization is a regional social charitable non-commercial organization located in St.Petersburg. We have been working with refugees for 15 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union
The main groups we are working with are forced migrants within Russia and the former Soviet Union: refugees, labor migrants, returning Russian compatriots and illegal migrants.
The principal mission of the organization is re-establishment of migrants’ civil rights.
Our main activities are legal assistance for migrants, medical and humanitarian aid, employment assistance, creation of working places and housing possibilities for migrants. Also the RAA gathers and analyzes information about the legal, social and psychological situation of migrants, monitors the legal background of migration, collaborates with the state authorities and community organizations.
The RAA specialists are highly educated and have substantial experience in working with migrants.
This and the experience and enthusiasm of its 15 staff members are the organization’s main resources.
A brief description of our current activities
The organization in cooperation with the Russian network “Migration and Law” provides free legal assistance every Wednesday and Friday.
Medical and humanitarian aid
We have been running a medical centre for migrants, which offers free dental care and ultra-sound services. At the moment we are experiencing difficulties with the location of the centre but we are hoping to reopen it as soon as possible.
Job placement and creation of sources of income
We display a monthly list of job opportunities in our offices and on our web site.
We are devising proposals for the amendment of old and the introduction of new laws in the area of migration. Currently we are organizing a conference with representatives of NGOs, local authorities and scientists. For further information see under current projects.
Monitoring and information activities
We pay a lot of attention to the gathering of information about the current situation of migrants in the St. Petersburg region. As of March 15, 2006 our database contains information which 3 000 families voluntarily provided to us to help us understand their difficulties and needs and thus allowing us to act accordingly.
History of the organization
The RAA was established in 1990 by forced migrants registered in St. Petersburg, and by residents of the city endeavoring to provide assistance to refugees. The RAA charter was registered at the St. Petersburg Department of Justice on July 30, 1991 and reregistered December 24, 1999.
1991 – 2004 The RAA distributed packages of humanitarian aid to especially needy migrants. For example, in 1999 around 1300 packages of food assistance were distributed with the support of German partners and the St. Petersburg Christian Interchurch Deacon’s Council and a short time later a further 347 packages were distributed.
1992-1997 “Assistance for Refugees in St.Petersburg” – a complex city program involving the RAA and St.Petersburg local government with the aim of organizing temporary housing for refugees.
1992 – 1997 building of a residential house with 352 flats for migrants.
1992 - 2000 The RAA established a leather goods production facility, which employed 20 forced migrants. In 1999 it was modernized with help of the “Russian-German exchange” NGO.
1993-1995 The RAA was an initiator of a complex regional program for the integration of refugees and forced migrants, and developed a package of proposals on the principles of the program’s construction, its management, evaluation, and the regulation of its implementation.
1993-2001 constant cooperation with the state authorities in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region.
1996 "Forced migration in Russia? Is there a way out?" – a seminar in cooperation with "Civil Control" and "Russian-German Exchange" NGOs. A report based on the seminar was published containing a conception of an integration system for refugees and forced migrants in Russia.
1997 The RAA, with the support of the same organizations, conducted a seminar “Forced Migrants and the Government. Legislative Bases of Cooperation” at which an attempt was undertaken to establish a scientific-methodical Council to work on issues relating to involuntarily displaced persons. At the seminar a discussion took place about a corrective legislation project, connected with the integration of refugees and forced migrants in Russia.
1999 "Neva’s Ark" – a monthly bulletin on issues of migration in the North-West Region of Russia began publication; the project was sponsored by MATRA program of the Dutch Embassy.
1999 Sociological research was undertaken on issues of migration, which was based on the database of migrants made by RAA in previous years.
1999-2000 The Social Centre for Migrants project was implemented with the support of the Danish Refugee Council.
1999-2005 A medical centre for migrants was in operation, offering free dental service and ultra-sound diagnostics; over 70 persons a month received medical assistance each month. The project was financed by the Danish Refugee Council, the Canadian Agency for International Development and the Free Methodist World Missions
2001 A official of the RAA was nominated to the Public Chamber at a representative of the President of Russia in the North-West Region. The commission prepared a proposal for a federal law project “About Interethnic Relationships”
Since 1990, information about refugees is being compiled on a continual basis, and in 1998 a computer database of migrants, who were clients of the RAA, was created.
Since 1997, the RAA has been running a "Public Reception" (a drop-in centre) for migrants – it is a free legal, employment and housing advice and counselling centre. About a hundred migrants a month are assisted there. Also assistance has been given in the formation of migrants’ groups. From 1998-1999, the organization “Izhora” was founded in the city of Sosnoviy Bor, formed by a group of migrants in Gatchina. Organizational assistance was provided for the creation of the charitable organization “Ichumbi” for refugees from Rwanda, and in 2000 assistance was provided to a self-organized group of refugees from Chechnya.
Since 1999, the RAA has been running a medical centre for migrants, which offers free dental care and ultra-sound services. About 1200 migrants have been aided there. The project was realized with the support by Danish Refugee Council, Canadian Agency for International Development and Free Methodists World Missions
Since 2000, an employment office for migrants is in operation.
2006: The RAA presented a law bill “About the Return of Russian Compatriots” to the State Duma Committee.
2006: A federal law project “About Regulation of Migration in the St. Petersburg Region” and a Migration Program are being developed.