December 20, 2010

Part III, New Information on the Shermeyateva 16, Refugees in Moscow Airport

Contribution by Dani Grisby, Posted December 12, 2010
Good news! The Shermeyateva 16 is now down to 14. Two members have been resettled to Sweden.

Bad news: there are still 14 people stuck in the Moscow airport. We cannot stop writing Amnesty International, asking them to take this deserving group on as a focus case.
Here's an e-mail I recently received from Suheeb, one of the 16 stranded, which really expresses the severity of their situation.
Dear Dani,
We are doing good but are still in the airport. We were told we may get to go to Sweden but we're not sure.
Two of us have recently been sent to Sweden, they came to the airport before us. Now we are hoping insha Allah.

It will be very painful to be stateless for the new year. Especially as we have almost been here a year.

We don't know who to blame for this situation. But it's really bad when this huge planet cannot find room for you within any border, for no reason. We did not commit a crime, we are just seeking asylum. Maybe we can go to the planet mars, maybe life is better there.

Also, it's really hard for me to see what the two women who are with us have to go through. Most of us, we are men, But for the women to suffer, it really hurts me, too much. They have no privacy.

Any information you have from amnesty on our case?

Thank you,


If you've emailed on their behalf before, please do so, again. While we received a response from AI-USA (telling us to talk to the London office) we have yet to hear anything from London.

Send emails to:


My name is _____________, and I am writing to request that Amnesty International take up, as an urgent action, the case of 16 Somalis who, as victims of a smuggling scheme, have been stranded in the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow for the past ten months. The Russian Federation is required under international law to assist these Somalis and allow them to access courts and other mechanisms that would facilitate their right to asylum. So far, the Russian Federation has failed to meet even the most basic of its international obligations in this case. We, as members of the international community, thus have an obligation to stand in solidarity with the Somalis and to make our voices be heard.

Thank you for taking this case into consideration.


Your Name Here"

Write to the author of this post Dani Grisby, Policy Intern, at

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