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108th Congress, 1st Session - - - - - - - - - - - - - House Document 108-28


 
                     EMIGRATION LAWS AND POLICIES

                               __________

                                MESSAGE

                                  from

                   THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

                              transmitting

   AN UPDATED REPORT CONCERNING THE EMIGRATION LAWS AND POLICIES OF 
   ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN, KAZAKHSTAN, MOLDOVA, THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, 
TAJIKISTAN, TURKMENISTAN, UKRAINE AND UZBEKISTAN, PURSUANT TO 19 U.S.C. 
                                2432(b)

<GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT>


  February 4, 2003.--Message and accompanying papers referred to the 
         Committee on Ways and Means and ordered to be printed
To the Congress of the United States:
    On September 21, 1994, then-President Clinton determined 
and reported to the Congress that the Russian Federation was 
not in violation of paragraphs (1), (2), or (3), of subsection 
402(a) of the Trade Act of 1974, or paragraphs (1), (2), or 
(3), of subsection 409(a) of that Act. On June 3, 1997, he also 
determined and reported to the Congress that Armenia, 
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine were not in violation 
of the same provisions, and made an identical determination on 
December 5, 1998, with respect to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, 
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. These actions allowed 
for the continuation of normal trade relations for these 
countries and certain other activities without the requirement 
of an annual waiver.
    On June 29, 2000, pursuant to section 302(b) of Public Law 
106-200, then-President Clinton determined that title IV of the 
Trade Act of 1974 should no longer apply to Kyrgyzstan, and on 
December 29, 2000, pursuant to section 3002 of Public Law 106-
476, he determined that title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 
should no longer apply to Georgia.
    As required by law, I am submitting an updated report to 
the Congress that was prepared by my Administration concerning 
the emigration laws and policies of Armenia, Azerbaijan, 
Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, 
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The report indicates 
continued compliance of these countries with international 
standards concerning freedom of emigration.

                                                    George W. Bush.
    The White House, January 29, 2003.
   Report to the Congress Concerning Emigration Laws and Policies of 
   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, The Russian Federation, 
            Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan

    This report is submitted pursuant to sections 402 and 409 
of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (``the Act''), following 
Presidential Determination Number 94-51 of September 21, 1994, 
and the accompanying report to the Congress, that the Russian 
Federation is not in violation of paragraphs (1), (2), or (3), 
of section 402(a) and paragraphs (1), (2), or (3), of section 
409(a) of the Act; Presidential Determination Number 97-27 of 
June 3, 1997, and the accompanying report to the Congress, that 
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine are not in 
violation of paragraphs (1), (2), or (3), of section 402(a) and 
paragraphs (1), (2), or (3), of section 409(a) of the Act; and 
Presidential Determination Number 98-7 of December 5, 1997, and 
the accompanying report to the Congress, that Kazakhstan, 
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are not in 
violation of paragraphs (1), (2), or (3), of section 402(a) and 
paragraphs (1), (2), or (3), of section 409(a) of the Act.
    Pursuant to Section 302(b) of Public Law 106-200, the 
President determined on June 29, 2000 that Title IV of the 1974 
Trade Act should no longer apply to Kyrgyzstan, and pursuant to 
section 3002 of Public Law 106-476, the President determined on 
December 29, 2000 that Title IV of the 1974 Trade Act should no 
longer apply to Georgia. Therefore, this reporting requirement 
is no longer applicable to Kyrgyzstan and Georgia.
    All current information indicates that the emigration laws 
and practices of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the 
Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and 
Uzbekistan continue to satisfy the criteria set forth in 
sections 402(a) and 409(a) of the Act in respect of all matters 
covered in those sections.

                                ARMENIA

    The Armenian constitution guarantees the right of its 
citizens to freedom of foreign travel and emigration, and that 
right is respected in practice. Persons subject to military 
service, those who have had access to state secrets, or those 
involved in pending court cases or whose relatives have lodged 
financial claims against them can legally be denied permission 
to travel abroad, but this seldom occurs. Members of religious 
organizations other than the Armenian Apostolic Church are 
required by law to obtain prior permission from the State 
Council on Religious Affairs to travel abroad, but this law has 
not been enforced since 1997. Since independence in 1991, 
upwards of one million Armenian citizens, approximately one-
third of the population at independence, have emigrated or 
reside semi-permanently outside the Republic of Armenia.

                               AZERBAIJAN

    The right of emigration is officially protected and 
recognized in Azerbaijani law. The right of every Azerbaijani 
citizen to travel abroad is guaranteed by Azerbaijan's 1995 
constitution. The Government of Azerbaijan respects these 
rights in practice.
    Men of conscription age who have not performed their 
military service require a document from the regional military 
office before international travel. No problems have been 
reported in this area.
    Emigration has proceeded free of Government harassment. 
Many Jewish Azerbaijanis have emigrated to Israel.

                              KAZAKAHSTAN

    The right to emigrate is generally protected by 
Kazakhstan's constitution and is generally respected in 
practice. On July 26, 2001, Kazakhstan became the first country 
in Central Asia to abolish the requirement for an exit visa for 
Kazakhstani citizens temporarily traveling abroad. Outright 
refusal to grant exit visas for permanent departure is rare and 
has generally been connected with government opponents subject 
to pending legal cases. A law on national security prohibits 
persons who have had access to state secrets from taking up 
residence abroad for five years after that access. The 
Government has applied the Law on State Secrets to block the 
foreign travel of one former official since the law's passage 
in 1999. That official has since been allowed to travel.

                                MOLDOVA

    The right of citizens to emigrate is guaranteed in 
Moldova's constitution and is respected in practice. 
Individuals wishing to emigrate must satisfy any outstanding 
financial and/or judicial obligations before emigrating. No 
reports of denial of emigration rights have been recorded in 
2002. The government eliminated emigration restrictions in 1991 
and few difficulties with emigration have been reported in the 
10 years since independence.

                         THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

    Legal guarantees of the right to emigrate are enshrined in 
Russia's constitution and in law, and that right is generally 
respected in practice. Russian law details the procedures for 
obtaining travel documents and provides clarification of some 
controversial policies. However, it gives the government the 
right to deny permission to travel abroad for given periods up 
to 10 years to Russian nationals who had access to classified 
material.
    The law provides a measure of transparency by requiring 
that any denial of exit permission on secrecy grounds must: (1) 
specify reasons for and duration of the restriction; and (2) 
indicate the full name and legal address of the organization 
that requested the restriction. The law also formalized the 
status of an interagency commission that hears appeals of 
Russian nationals refused permission to travel based on secrecy 
grounds. As of the writing of this report, the commission had 
held eight sessions in 2002. During these eight sessions, the 
Commission reviewed 150 cases, lifting restrictions in 117 
cases (78 percent), leaving restrictions in place in 13 cases 
(8 percent) and deferring decisions in 17 cases (11 percent) 
(one case was deferred three times and counted thrice). NGOs 
that have worked with the commission from its initiation 
complain that the degree of transparency in the commission's 
work has decreased, as human rights activists are no longer 
granted free access to the names of the appellants. Other 
information and statistics on the interagency commission are 
available on the Internet, however.
    From 1995 through April 2002, out of an estimated 2726 
cases reviewed, the interagency commission lifted restrictions 
in an estimated 2245 cases (82 percent). Since the start of the 
Commission in 1995, the annual percentage of positive decisions 
had fluctuated between a low of 71 percent in 2000 and a high 
of 90 percent in 1995. So far, after eight meetings in 2002, 
the percentage of positive decisions is 78 percent for the 
year. Human rights organizations point out, however, that this 
number includes only persons who appealed the decision to 
restrict travel to the commission. The total number of persons 
who were refused passports for foreign on secrecy grounds is 
thought to be much larger. Russia's Ministry of Internal 
Affairs, however, does not publish these statistics or 
otherwise release them.
    Russian law also grants the state the right to refuse 
travel abroad to individuals who are the subject of legal 
proceedings or have evaded financial obligations imposed by a 
court and convicts who have not served their sentences.

                               TAJIKISTAN

    Tajikistan's constitution provides for the right to 
emigrate, and this right is respected in practice. Persons who 
wish to emigrate may do so with the permission of various 
ministries. Persons who wish to emigrate beyond the borders of 
the former Soviet Union must receive the approval of the 
relevant country's embassy in order to obtain their passport. 
Persons who settle abroad are required to inform the Tajikistan 
embassy or Tajikistan interests section of the nearest Russian 
embassy or consulate.
    In August 2002, the Ministry of Security dropped its 
requirement for citizens to obtain an exit visa before 
traveling abroad. Tajik citizens with a valid passport may 
travel abroad without further authorization.

                              TURKMENISTAN

    Turkmenistan's constitution guarantees the right to 
emigrate, but in practical terms citizens must first obtain 
permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In order to 
emigrate, citizens must submit an application, an invitation 
from the country of destination, evidence of freedom from debts 
and other financial obligations, and written consent from 
family members. Divorced applicants with children must present 
an affidavit of consent from their former spouse, whether or 
not the children are emigrating. Those with military 
obligations must de-register with the Ministry of Defense. By 
law the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must process the 
application and emigration documents within three months. 
Although the Ministry rarely denies such applications, some 
opposition figures have been prevented from emigrating.
    In the past, citizens were not permitted to travel outside 
the country without official permission. The Government has 
used its authority to issue passports and exit visas as a means 
of restricting international travel. In December 2001, the 
Government announced the abolition of exit visas. According to 
the announcement, as of January 1, 2002, a foreign entry visa 
or an invitation to travel outside of the country is sufficient 
to travel abroad.

                                UKRAINE

    Ukrainian law and the 1996 constitution guarantee the right 
to emigrate, and that right is respected in practice. All 
citizens are eligible for passports that permit free travel 
abroad. Border patrol do not require emigrants to have exit 
visa stamps, although Ukrainians who intend to take up 
permanent residence in another country must inform the local 
militia that they will no longer be eligible for public 
benefits. Ukraine does not impose taxes or fees on those who 
emigrate. Reports have arisen of local bureaucrats assessing 
brides for routine passport issuance. However, human rights 
groups report that persons need only appeal to national-level 
authorities to resolve their status and establish their right 
to emigrate. Some draft-age men have been refused to the right 
to emigrate pending clarification of their status with the 
military. Cases involving applicants who have had or have 
access to secret information usually take longer,but secrecy 
has not been used routinely as grounds for denying permission 
to emigrate. A large percentage of Ukraine's Jewish population 
has emigrated to Israel and the United States since Ukraine 
achieved independence in 1991.

                               UZBEKISTAN

    Uzbekistan's constitution provides for free movement within 
the country and across its borders, and the Government has 
generally respected this right. The Government requires 
citizens to obtain exit visas for foreign travel or emigration, 
but grants these permits routinely. The Government has in rare 
instances confiscated travel documents of specific individuals. 
In most of these cases, we have been able to convince the 
Government of Uzbekistan to return the documents.
    Exit visas are valid for a period of two years and no 
longer require an invitation from abroad. Several human rights 
activists were able to leave and reenter the country without 
encountering problems from the Government. It has on rare 
occasion refused to issue these visas. A large percentage of 
Uzbekistan's Jewish population has emigrated to the United 
States and Israel since Uzbekistan achieved independence in 
1991.

                                <all>


Pages: 1

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