United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1997 - Estonia, 1 January 1997, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a8bca.html [accessed 17 October 2017]
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During 1996, Estonia continued to make no distinction between asylum seekers and illegal migrants, and it continued to jail those whom it caught. As of late September, 46 "illegal aliens" were reportedly in detention pending deportation or a court order granting them residence. The practice of detaining undocumented foreigners, along with Estonia's failure to ratify the UN Refugee Convention, made northern European countries reluctant to return asylum seekers who have arrived via Estonia, which in turn made Estonia more attractive as a transit country. In April, the second extension of a deadline for noncitizens residing in Estonia to apply for permanent residency expired. Between 20,000 and 50,000 people still had not applied. An estimated 370,000 noncitizens lived in Estonia at year's end, the vast majority of whom were ethnic Russians. (In February 1997, Estonia's parliament adopted a national refugee law and ratified the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol.)