The problem of IDP integration does not lose its relevance even despite the significant number of measures taken by the state to ensure their well-being and adaptation. In particular, special social protection programs are being developed at the local level to support people in difficult life circumstances.
Problems of IDP integration. The Residence Registration
One of the most striking problems for IDPs is the issue of “registration”. Residence registration still determines access to most of the government services, as well as the ability to participate in the local programs and receive benefits.
Currently, the vast majority of internally displaced persons do not have a registered place of residence in their new community. However, they want to register at a new place of residence. The main reason for the impossibility of changing the “registration” is the lack of housing in which a person could register. And this position is absolutely logical.
Thus, for the most part, IDPs do not change their registered place of residence due to possible difficulties in crossing the contact line and/or selling real estate in the temporarily occupied territories. Also, the unwillingness to change the registration address is associated with the fear of losing social guarantees and benefits. Thus, IDPs without registration at a new place of residence deprive themselves of the opportunity for local social guarantees and the ability to participate in programs. The only thing left is the right to social benefits for IDPs, which are also temporary.
Local programs for IDPs integration
Such programs exist, in particular, in the fields of culture, housing, public health, social protection, education support, etc. They are approved by the local government and financed from the local budget.
Of course, housing programs remain the main need of IDPs in the 7th year of conflict in the east of Ukraine. There is also a high level of interest in the field of social protection, health care, education, science, and small business support. Unfortunately, internally displaced persons are often excluded from the process of developing, discussing, and agreeing on the local programs.
At CF “Right to Protection” (R2P), we are working to change approaches to ensuring the inclusion of IDPs in community life, IDP integration, access to local programs, and the use of local democracy tools, as well as to provide several other opportunities.
The main tool that can help solve the problems with IDPs integration is the formation of IDP initiative groups and the subsequent establishment of an IDP Advisory Council. It can act as an advisory body and deal with the implementation of state and local policies in the field of IDP protection, promote their integration and provide support to the local host territorial communities. The approach is based on the model of the Advisory Council created in Zaporizhia, which has been working effectively for the second year in a row.
Exchange of experience and dissemination of successful practices remain one of the important areas of our work. For example, on June 11, specialists of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) organized an online meeting for initiative groups of internally displaced persons from Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, and Donetsk regions. The central theme of the event was the exchange of experiences on the integration of migrants into community life. The event was joined by 18 initiative IDPs from 15 ATCs.
The purpose of such activities is to exchange experiences and practices on the formation of IDP initiative groups with their further formalization at the local level and the establishment of the IDP Advisory Council.
During the event on June 11, representatives of the IDP Advisory Council of Zaporizhia shared their experience in creating and implementing activities and successful practices of cooperation between the Council and local self-government bodies. During the event, participants learned about the prerequisites for the establishment of the IDP Advisory Council, the formation of its structure and activities, as well as the ways to motivate council members.
As a result of the event, it was agreed on further cooperation of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) with the IDP initiative groups and local self-government bodies. Cooperation is envisaged in the direction of establishing an advisory body and further lobbying the interests of IDPs at the local level, including through the development and ratification of Targeted Local Programs.