KYIV, Ukraine, 24 January 2017 (UNHCR). The UN Refugee Agency welcomes the Action Plan toward the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine1. With this legislative development, Ukraine has taken an encouraging step toward fulfilling its international obligations to protect the rights of all citizens without discrimination and prevent further displacement. The Action Plan is also in line with the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2202, aimed at the peaceful settlement of the current crisis in eastern regions of Ukraine.
UNHCR is particularly pleased that the Plan starts with the goal of improving the procedures for crossing the line of contact. During the visit of the High Commissioner to Ukraine in November 2016, he appealed to all parties involved in the conflict in Ukraine to improve freedom of movement at check points.
The Plan contains several other positive measures. It signals the Government’s intentions to provide various administrative services at centers near the contact line where people can apply for passports or register civil acts, such as births, deaths and marriages. These centers would make it easier for citizens from all of eastern Ukraine to access critical documentation and decrease the risk of statelessness.
Furthermore, in light of the stated goal to guarantee all citizens their constitutional rights, the Plan includes a number of measures to improve social protection and access to social services and free legal aid in areas close to the line of contact. The Plan gives particular attention to the situation of children living in the non-government controlled areas, for example by calling for measures to facilitate family reunification of children who are separated from their parents. It also sets the goal of ensuring that all citizens living on territory not controlled by the government enjoy unhindered access to educational institutions in government-controlled territory.
Taken together, these measures establish a solid foundation for protecting the rights of all citizens without discrimination and strengthening social cohesion.
The UN Refugee Agency stands ready to provide support to the Government of Ukraine with implementation of the Plan. In particular, UNHCR confirms its readiness to assist the authorities with improving conditions at the checkpoints and bringing government services closer to the line of contact.
For additional information please contact Nina Sorokopud, Public Information Officer, UNHCR Ukraine: +380 50 310 1767, firstname.lastname@example.org
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR has been working in Ukraine since 1994, first, protecting rights of asylum-seekers, stateless persons and later also the rights of conflict affected citizens of Ukraine.
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1 On 11 January 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted Order # 8-r approving the Plan of Actions directed at implementation of certain principles of internal policy on particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions where public authorities temporarily do not exercise their powers.
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