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Укр / Eng
28.09.22

Ukraine belongs to the countries of Europe with the lowest supply of water resources per capita. Military actions on the territory of our state and their consequences will only worsen the situation in the future. What risks await us and what needs to be done so that access to drinking water does not turn into a luxury for us – experts on water resources protection shared their vision of the problem during the webinar for journalists.

This webinar is the first stage of the grant program for media representatives. We implement it together with our partners – with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the assistance of ACTED. Journalists who would like to participate in covering the problem of pollution/limited access to water resources in Ukraine as a result of the war and propose their own concept of a thematic media project will be able to participate in the grant competition and, in case of victory, receive funding for its implementation.

Therefore, we are waiting for proposals from representatives of the media community (we will leave the link to the application below).

And with you we will be glad to share information on this topic from our experts in the near future, because this problem will affect the lives of each of us and will be echoing for many years to come.

21.07.22

Recently, there were meetings of specialists of mobile psychosocial support groups of the CF “Right to Protection” with representatives of the Zhovtovodsk and Novomoskovsk communities.

Our colleagues from mobile groups take care that Ukrainian cities are sufficiently equipped with mental health and psychosocial support for IDPs and other vulnerable groups. All in order for the population is better protected from the psychological harm caused by war, in the future. In particular, our colleagues are called upon to provide assistance and training to local stakeholders in host communities on psychosocial support in crisis situations.

Meetings were held with a considerable number of participants. On the part of the Novomoskovsk community, the heads of the Department of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, the Territorial Center for Social Services, as well as representatives of the city authorities, and on the part of the Zhovtovodskaya – employees:

  • department of family support and coordination of social services provision of the Department of Labor and Social Protection of the Population;
  • department of education, department of youth and sports of Zhovti Vody city council;
  • Center of social services provision of the Zhovti Vody city council;
  • Zhovti Vody Lyceum;
  • NGO “New Life of Zhovti Vody”.

“We discussed ways of cooperation between community bodies and the Right to Protection Foundation within the framework of the project, as well as the educational needs of specialists in communities. Among them, in particular, such urgent requests as the so-called “professional burnout” of specialists caused by an increase in their workload, work with people in a state of severe stress, peculiarities of work with IDPs adults and children, help in adapting to life in a new place, etc. These meetings were necessary to reach an agreement on conducting psychosocial support trainings for representatives of the above-mentioned institutions”, – explains Oleksii Istomin, the project’s mobile groups coordinator.

It will be recalled that mobile psychosocial support groups at “Right to Protection” Charitable Foundation are teams of specialists who provide specialized assistance to war victims. Professional psychologists and social workers under the leadership of their coordinators have been actively working since May of this year: together they have already made more than three hundred trips to Dnipropetrovsk and Chernivtsi regions, providing help to those who need it, and do not stop at that point.

Mobile groups operate within the “Right to Protection” Charitable Foundation project “Increasing resilience and capacity to overcome difficulties by the most vulnerable households affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine” in partnership with ACTED Ukraine.

14.07.22

Even in times of war, Ukraine remains a host country for refugees – foreigners who, even before 24 February, fled hostilities, wars and political or religious persecution here. Citizens of Syria, Afghanistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Iran and other countries around the world have sought (and continue to seek) protection in Ukraine.

Agzam* was one of those whom fate made a fugitive. And his entire family – his wife and four children – as well. In his home country of Kazakhstan, Aghzam was an active member of a religious Islamic organisation persecuted by the country’s authorities. The man was prosecuted in Kazakhstan for his religious beliefs: he was considered a criminal there only on the basis of his peaceful religious views.

“Before the official verdict was handed down, I managed to leave the country and take my family with me. We ended up in Ukraine, where we asked for international protection,” he recalls.

Agzam is now 45 years old. Due to his health problems, with his first disability group, he needs constant monitoring by specialists and treatment.

Friends from his religious organisation, who were also seeking protection in Ukraine, suggested that the man could turn to the Right to Protection for help – as a human rights organisation that has been supporting refugees from all over the world for many years.

“The man approached us in 2020, and since then we have accompanied his migration case. In two years, he has twice been refused recognition as a refugee or as a person in need of complementary protection by the State Migration Service. We went to court twice, proving that his family could not return to his homeland because he was facing imprisonment there because of religious persecution. We gathered the necessary package of documents with evidence and information about the country of origin and details of the criminal case against Agzam in Kazakhstan. Eventually, in the summer of 2022, the Lviv District Administrative Court ordered the State Migration Service to recognise Aghzam as a refugee or a person in need of complementary protection in Ukraine,” said Anton Maksymov, lawyer with the Right to Protection Foundation.

After years of wandering and a long trial, Agzam and his family least expected such a decision during the martial law in Ukraine, which has already become a second home, so the news was a real blessing for them.

According to Agzam, he sees his future in Ukraine, his eldest son is doing his best to integrate. And Agzam himself is waiting to be able to benefit from the right to medical services and disability payments, which he hopes will be available once the State Migration Service makes its decision.The family hopes for the best and believes that Ukraine will win this war.

“It is very important that the judiciary in Ukraine, despite the war, continues to work because people like Agzam still need protection. For many of them, international protection in Ukraine is the only way to live a full life. This is not the first war for them, and they are seeking safety in Ukraine as a European country where human rights and international law are respected. In Agzam’s case the situation is aggravated by health problems and his inability to enjoy his rights and provide for himself,” adds Anton Maksymov.

We wish Agzam and his family health and strength, and will continue to help in all legal matters.



*Name changed at the request of the beneficiary.

UNHCR Ukraine – Aгентство ООН у справах біженців в Україні

25.05.22

Intercountry adoption should not occur during or immediately after an emergency.2 In line with the  Ukrainian Government’s suspension of intercountry adoption,3 we urge receiving States,  international bodies, and humanitarian agencies to adopt a harmonised approach and call for a  moratorium on intercountry adoptions from Ukraine1

During emergencies, such as conflict, it is a well-accepted principle of States’ obligations under  international law that adoption is not an appropriate response for unaccompanied and separated  children. Children separated from their parents during a humanitarian emergency cannot be assumed  to be orphans. Until the fate of a child’s parents or other close relatives can be verified, each separated  child should be considered as still having living relatives or legal guardians and, therefore, is not in  need of adoption. Every effort should be made to reunify children with their families when possible,  if such reunification is in their best interest.4 This includes children who were living in residential care  facilities when the crisis escalated, many of whom are children with disabilities. This is echoed in  UNHCR’s Policy on the Adoption of Refugee Children.5 

Intercountry adoption should only be considered once all family tracing and reunification efforts  have been exhausted and stable in-country solutions, including kinship care, foster care, and  national adoptions have been considered in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.6 In an  emergency, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to ensure that international standards and  safeguards are respected in accordance with the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children  and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Even though Ukraine is not a Party to the 1993 Adoption Convention, all receiving States should apply  its standards and safeguards when cooperating with Ukraine. 

According to International Social Service (ISS) worldwide statistics, provided by States to the Hague  Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), Ukraine facilitated the second highest number of  intercountry adoptions in 2020.7 In times of peace, a child should only be considered for intercountry  adoption based on the best interests of the child, with full respect for the rights of the child. This  includes establishing that the child is adoptable,8 the child has been consulted and well-informed in  line with his/her evolving capacity, all suitable placement options in the country have been considered 

and exhausted in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the prospective adoptive parent(s) is  (are) eligible to adopt the child in question, there is consent by those legally acting on the child’s  behalf, including that the consent of the mother is given only after the birth of the child, and  information about the child and their parents’ identity is preserved. Such considerations may be  particularly challenging for States like Ukraine that are not parties to the 1993 Adoption Convention. 

Conflict is a breeding ground for illicit practices, in part because of the breakdown of oversight.  Separated and unaccompanied children are extremely vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation; including illicit practices in adoption. The ongoing crisis makes it impossible to ensure that commercial  or criminal gain, fraud, child trafficking, and the deception of birth parents do not play any part in the  adoption process. The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children state that children in  emergency situations should not be moved to a country other than their habitual residence for  alternative care except for compelling health, medical or safety reasons. When a child must be moved,  they should stay as close as possible to their home, be accompanied by a parent or caregiver, and have  a clear plan of return.9 10 

In the aftermath of children’s displacement to neighbouring countries, adequate identification and  registration measures must be in place and appropriate alternative care arrangements provided in  line with the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and the Convention on the Rights of  the Child.11 The conflict should not be used as a justification for expediting intercountry adoptions, or  for circumventing or disregarding the internationally accepted framework. This applies equally to  adoption procedures that were already under way prior to the conflict. 

This statement remains open for endorsement until the end of June 2022. As new endorsements come in,  the statement will be updated once a week. New endorsements should be sent to info@alliancecpha.org, with the name of the organization and a high-resolution logo. 


1 This statement was developed with contributions from the sub-group on care under the UASC Task Force, co-led by the  Transforming Children’s Care Global Collaborative Platform 

2 In line with the recommendations from the Permanent Bureau of HCCH (16 March 2022):   https://assets.hcch.net/docs/0f9c08e9-75d0-4497-8ca0-12c595aa6845.pdf

3 The Government of Ukraine Statement: https://www.unicef.org/ukraine/en/stories/help-unaccompanied-child-during-war in-Ukraine [accessed 11 April 2022] also referred to in the UNICEF statement updated on the 24th of March:  https://www.unicef.org/ukraine/en/stories/help-unaccompanied-child-during-war-in-Ukraine 

 

 

4 Rights of the child: realizing the rights of the child and family reunification. OHCHR | HRC | 49th regular session of the  Human Rights Council: Resolutions, decisions and President’s statements – https://www.ohchr.org/en/hr-bodies/hrc/regular sessions/session49/res-dec-stat 

 

 

5 UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNHCR Policy on Adoption, 22 August 1995, available at:  https://www.refworld.org/docid/42f9c3714.html [accessed 11 April 2022] 

 

 

6 The principle of subsidiarity according to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is that “States Party to the  Convention recognise that a child should be raised by his or her birth family or extended family whenever possible. If that is  not possible or practicable, other forms of permanent family care in the country of origin should be considered. Only after  due consideration has been given to national solutions should intercountry adoption be considered”. The Implementation  and Operation of the 1993 Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention: Guide to Good Practice (Bristol, U.K.: Family Law, 2008),  p. 29, Hague Conference on Private International Law, assets.hcch.net/docs/bb168262-1696-4e7f-acf3-fbbd85504af6.pdf

7 The latest available data reports 277 intercountry adoptions facilitated by Ukraine in 2020. International Social Service  (December 2021) Monthly Review No. 257 

8 Establishing whether a child is adoptable, or eligible for adoption, States must go through the legal process of determining  if a child has a birth family that is willing or able to care for him/her. This includes supporting the birth family to care for the  child, family tracing and reunification if children are separated from their caregivers and verifying who has legal guardianship  of the child.  

9 UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children (2010). https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/673583?ln=en (see paras  146,160,166) 

10 In full respect of the non-refoulement principle for refugees. 

11 Convention on the Rights of the Child (Articles 20 and 22), Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment 6  (2005) [para 31 (ii)].s

23.05.22

In Ukraine now there is not a single person who would not be affected by the war. If each of us has expanded access to psychosocial support and legal advice, then we will be better protected from the psychological damage caused by conflict.

That is why we try to help everyone in the field by creating a unique service – mobile humanitarian protection groups.

What exactly are we going to do? Provide citizens affected by the consequences of the war, as well as IDPs, psychosocial support and legal advice. All services will be provided by professional specialists – psychologists, social workers, as well as lawyers. Free and confidential.

What is psychosocial support? These are actions aimed at the deep improvement of mental health and psychosocial well-being of a person.

Why do we need legal support? To ensure that citizens who find themselves in a difficult legal situation are guaranteed to observe their human rights, despite the displacement and pressure caused by the conflict.

How will all this happens? This support will be provided by mobile groups that will be sent to the most vulnerable communities of Dnipropetrovsk and Chernivtsi regions.

Mobile groups will act within the framework of the Right to Protection CF project in partnership with ACTED “Improving resilience and ability to overcome difficulties for the most vulnerable households affected by the conflict in the East of Ukraine.”

29.04.22

The cases of young Ukrainians crossing the border of Ukraine without their parents – accompanied by strangers, volunteers, distant relatives or even on their own – are striking and have become known around the world. Since the beginning of the war, the Right to Protection has been drawing the attention of the international community to the need to create standards to protect these children. 

Unaccompanied children: how to protect them and reconcile Ukrainian and European Union legislation

Tatiana Luzan, advocacy coordinator of the Right to Protection, spoke about the situation and work in this direction together with other organisations at the International Conference “War Aftermath: Reconsidering The Future Of Civil Society” in Warsaw. The topic of her presentation was the protection of children who cross the border unaccompanied and the harmonisation of Ukrainian and EU legislation in this area.

Our foundation also received calls from parents who were desperate to send their children abroad with complete strangers because of the Russian atrocities going on at the time in Kharkiv, Zaporozhye and other cities. It was obvious to Right to Protection that it was time to intervene and also to involve colleagues from neighbouring countries in trying to resolve the situation,” Tetyana Luzan said.

Право на захист. Діти без супроводу: як їх захистити та гармонізувати законодавство України та ЄС

The joint efforts of Ukrainian and international organisations for the protection of children and women was to prepare a document defining at least minimum standards of protection for unaccompanied minors fleeing Ukraine after the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022. For example, on child custody and safety in another country as well as their safe return home later.

And the final draft was created and became a model for intergovernmental agreements regarding the proper maintenance of child rights, protection and custody.

Its recommendatory provisions are based on UN legal instruments as foundations and EU instruments. In particular, such as the EU Temporary Protection Directive and the related implementing decision on Ukraine, the European Parliament resolution of 7 April 2022 on EU protection of children and young people fleeing war in Ukraine.

“The standard also states that the return of unaccompanied children to Ukraine must be in accordance with the guidelines of the national authorities and in the best interests of the child. In this way, it is ensured that possible future obstacles to the return of young Ukrainians home to their parents are avoided. At the same time, the EU and member states have urged not to consider the termination of temporary protection as an automatic ground for sending Ukrainian children if the situation in Ukraine does not allow for a safe and lasting return to its territory,” Tatiana concluded.

26.04.22

According to UNHCR there are 35 thousands persons with undetermined nationality and stateless persons in Ukraine. These people remain invisible to the state and cannot exercise their rights to education and health care, inherit, open a bank account, register marriage, cross borders freely, and so on (more about the statelessness problem in Ukraine in the material).

In 2021 Ukraine introduced a statelessness determination procedure (hereinafter – SDP) and during 2021 55 persons were recognised as stateless persons. More than 700 other applications have remained pending in the State Migration Service as of 24 of February. 

In March and April 2022 beneficiaries of Right to Protection, who fled Ukraine to the European Union countries (Poland, Germany, Spain), contacted  our lawyers  to inquire what protection and legal status they may obtain in the EU.

1. A person having “stateless person’s travel document”, who have fled  Ukraine on or after 24 February 2022, as a result of the military invasion by Russian armed forces that began on that date, according to the Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 of 4 March 2022 establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection (hereinafter – Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382) have a right to obtain temporary protection as a person who benefited from international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before 24 February 2022.


2. A stateless person, recognised under the Ukrainian SDP and in possession of only a temporary residence permit may have legal difficulties in obtaining temporary protection in an EU Member State. Ukrainian law stipulates that a person recognised as a stateless person must be documented by usual temporary residence permit without issuance of any other identity document (like certificate of a stateless person etc.). More details about documentation peculiarities of stateless persons in Ukraine can be found in the report.

According to the Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 the temporary protection shall be applied to “b) stateless persons, and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine, who benefited from international protection or equivalent national protection in Ukraine before 24 February 2022; and,….Member States shall apply either this Decision or adequate protection under their national law, in respect of stateless persons, and nationals of third countries other than Ukraine, who can prove that they were legally residing in Ukraine before 24 February 2022 on the basis of a valid permanent residence permit issued in accordance with Ukrainian law, and who are unable to return in safe and durable conditions to their country or region of origin.”

According to Communication from the Commission on Operational guidelines for the implementation of Council implementing Decision 2022/382 establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary protection Commission is currently gathering information from Ukrainian authorities regarding the forms of protection under Ukrainian law and the documents issued by Ukrainian authorities to beneficiaries of such forms of protection. From the preliminary information received, the documents issued by Ukraine are: a ‘travel document for persons granted complementary protection’, a ‘stateless person’s travel document’, and a ‘certificate for persons granted complementary protection’.”

Thus, a foreigner who fled Ukraine and has only a temporary residence permit must confirm benefiting from equivalent national protection in Ukraine, otherwise he/she may not be granted a temporary protection in a respective EU Member State. At the same time stateless persons from Ukraine may flee without a travel document of a stateless person, having only a temporary residence permit (they simply haven’t applied for a travel document).

The following documents may confirm the equivalent form of protection for the stateless persons in Ukraine (1) temporary residence permit issued to the stateless person in accordance with Article 6-1 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” (as a result of SDP); 

This card looks like a usual temporary residence permit issued in Ukraine to a foreigner, except in the column “Nationality” there is an abbreviation “ОБГ” that stands for Ukrainian “особа без громадянства” – in English literary “a person without nationality” or a stateless person. 

(2) temporary residence permit for a stateless person issued on the basis of the Law of Ukraine “On Immigration”. This document may be in the form of a book, issued to some stateless persons indefinitely after 2001.

Alternatively, the document below was issued in Crimea in 2004 by a form, which does not completely comply with the legislation of Ukraine as of 2004. But it is impossible now to confirm issuance of documents in Crimea before 2014 and, subsequently,  people are de facto compelled  to live with such a document. The data was filled in Russian and Russian abbreviation “ЛБГ” is identical to Ukrainian “ОБГ” – a person without nationality (stateless person).

3. Applicants of statelessness determination procedure from Ukraine cannot be granted temporary protection according to the Council Implementing Decision (EU) 2022/382 because they have not yet received the equivalent protection in Ukraine and they don’t have a residence permit in Ukraine, they are considered as temporary legally residing in Ukraine during the procedure.

Most of these people are stateless or at risk of statelessness, who have been waiting for the SDP for many years or all their lives. Ideally, these people should be granted temporary protection as well. At least, they should receive professional legal consultation regarding legal status they may obtain  in the relevant EU Member State , including access to the SDP  and access to asylum procedure.  The list of organisations in neighbouring countries that provide advice and assistance for stateless people fleeing Ukraine is available on the website of European Network on Statelessness by link: https://www.statelessness.eu/statelessness-ukraine-crisis

Another problem is that applicants for the Ukrainian SDP who fled Ukraine are now concerned whether they could return to Ukraine after the war. They have obtained certificates on application for recognition as a stateless person. 

It may be concluded that a certain number of stateless persons and SDP applicants fled Ukraine after February 24 and need special attention to be paid by the EU and its Member States given the peculiarities of documentation in Ukraine. However, some of the Right to Protection beneficiaries, who are not applicants for the Ukrainian SDP, have left Ukraine without any identity documents. They don’t have a passport or their nationality is undefined, but they probably possess some documents, for example, a birth certificate, a UNHCR Protection letter, a USSR passport or USSR travel document, a certificate issued by the foreign consulate confirming they are or are not a citizen of the relevant State, other certificates or copies of documents. 

The mentioned group of persons should be provided with free legal assistance in order to obtain nationality or apply for a recognition as a refugee or a stateless person. There is no official data on the amount of persons with undefined nationality living in Ukraine and how many of them fled Ukraine after February 24. But these people were allowed to cross the Ukrainian border, some of them crossed other EU Member States’ borders afterwards. 

For additional information on Ukrainian legislation relating to nationality, statelessness determination procedure and legal status of stateless persons in Ukraine, European lawyers and NGOs are encouraged to apply to “Right to Protection” by email sta@r2p.org.ua.


14.04.22

6 April 2022

12.04.22

HIAS Europe and Right to Protection (R2P) are calling on the EU and states to address paperwork problems that risk preventing people fleeing Ukraine from finding safe havens in Europe. R2P is an independent Ukrainian NGO that has managed HIAS’ humanitarian programming in Ukraine since 2014. More than 150 staff, many of whom have themselves been displaced, remain inside Ukraine and continue to deliver legal and humanitarian aid to people fleeing. R2P highlights the following concerns: 

Digital identity documents not accepted

On 21 March 2022, the European Commission issued an indicative list of documents that are accepted as proof of Ukrainian nationality for the purposes of accessing temporary protection and related rights. Though this list was not exhaustive, digital documents were not included. 

  • This puts Ukrainians who do not have paper identity documents – often as a result of loss, theft or destruction during hostilities or travelling – at risk. 
  • The next EU guidance on implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive should call on member states to accept digital ID documents on the Diia app
  • Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia should accept digital identity documents as valid entry documents at the border. These are already accepted by Poland and Moldova. 

Validity of Ukrainian driver’s licences not guaranteed 

The validity of Ukrainian driver’s licences varies state to state, and people are required to apply for national replacements after a certain time lapse – e.g. 185 days in Slovakia, 365 days in Hungary. This creates unnecessary uncertainty and stress for refugees. 

  • Ukrainian driver’s licences should be accepted as valid for the duration of temporary protection in at least Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Moldova, if not all European states.