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18.09.20

Today we present the Mid-year (January – June 2020) EECP Survey Report. This report provides the results of the survey conducted at all five Entry-Exit Checkpoints (EECPs) with the non-government-controlled area (NGCA) in the first half of 2020. Due to quarantine restrictions, the report contains survey data from 1 January to 17 March.

Highlights of the report:

  • With the introduction of quarantine, since 17 to 22 March people could cross only in the direction of their residence registration – NGCA or GCA. On 22 March, EECPs suspended operations, and slightly over 14,000 persons have received permission to cross since then.
  • On 9 June Ukraine announced the reopening of EECPs in Donetsk oblast on 10 June, after closing them for almost three months. Meanwhile, by the end of June, the other four EECPs remain closed with limited exceptions, since the de facto authorities of NGCA side have banned the crossing of contact line on the NGCA side. However, since the beginning of quarantine there have been several so-called “corridors” at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP (Luhanska oblast) according to pre-agreed lists.
  • Admission to higher education institutions for students from NGCA has been heavily affected by quarantine restrictions. Over 300 students have been allowed to cross the contact line while about one thousand have applied for passing an External Independent testing (EIT) since 16 June. The recently adopted law seeks to improve the situation: children from NGCA will be able to enroll in Ukrainian universities without passing EIT and have the opportunity to study in all universities.
  • People who crossed to GCA faced numerous difficulties with installing the app “Act at Home” on their phone. In particular, people with older phones and/or Kyivstar sim-cards were troubled a lot with technical issues. Insufficient Wi-Fi at Novotroitske also complicated the issue. Besides, representatives of State Border Guard Service (SBGS) at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP required that people confirm their place of self-isolation and upload a reference photo directly at the EECP that led to geolocation issues later. People who could not install the app have been placed in an SES tent to resolve those issues the following day, or they have been sent for observation.
  • In turn, people from Donetsk NGCA are supposed to have residence registration (“propiska”) in GCA to be eligible to cross the checkpoint. Also, people are required to sign a document of non-return to the NGCA side until the end of the quarantine there. Additionally, people crossing to NGCA are to be sent for a 2-week observation without any alternative options of self-isolation regime.
  • The implementation of coronavirus-related quarantine procedures caused a dramatic reduction in crossings. People in NGCA are unable to receive their pensions, social benefits, birth/death certificates, buy drugs, etc. Residents of GCA who left for any personal issues on the NGCA side before the introduction of the quarantine, also cannot return home. Family unity and access to the place of residence or place of treatment are also issues for a number of people.
  • In the period 1 January to 17 March, 67,134 vulnerable elderly persons were provided with transport support at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP by Proliska’s electric vehicle. As of 17 March, transportation services were suspended due to the quarantine measures. Most services suspended their work between 17-20 March at all EECPs: the Coordination Group representatives, INGO medical representatives, and transportation including a social bus at Stanytsia Luhanska. In June, e-vehicle services resumed, the total number of people transported in six months was 69,405.
  • R2P monitors reported five fatalities that took place on the GCA side in the first half of 2020 and according to information from public sources one fatality on the NGCA side. The preliminary causes of death in most cases were related to heart problems.

EECP Survey Report is available in English and Ukrainian.

07.09.20

CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) continues its work as a member of the 3P Consortium. Despite all quarantine restrictions introduced in March, R2P has continued to engage stakeholders for further discussions on industrial and environmental risks. To make such discussions deeper and productive, R2P has joined forces with technical consultants who are experts in risks inherent specifically to Donbas.

Read more about it in the new edition of Consortium`s newsletter here.

23.06.20

The report «Crossing the contact line» provides the results of the survey conducted at all five Entry-Exit Checkpoints (EECPs) with NGCA in 2019.

The objective of the survey is to explore the motivations and concerns of the civilians travelling between the non-government-controlled areas (NGCA) and the government-controlled areas (GCA), as well as the conditions and risks associated with crossing the contact line through EECPs.

Highlights:

  • In comparison with 2018, the share of respondents who did not raise any concerns related to the crossing process increased at all EECPs except Novotroitske. The improvement may be related to the reconstruction of EECPs, which sufficiently improved the waiting conditions: installation of waiting terminals, passport control booths, toilets, and sheds.
  • 1,363 respondents (5%) mentioned cases of not being able to cross the contact line in the six months prior to their interview. The vast majority 1,086 (3,98%) of these cases were caused by the lack of permits in the SBGS database.
  • 38 fatalities reportedly took place at EECPs in 2019, including 16 deaths on NGCA side (information from social media and OSCE reports) for which the data cannot be confirmed. The preliminary causes of death in most cases in GCA were related to heart diseases.

The report is available in English and Ukrainian.

The survey is a part of the monitoring of violations of rights of the conflict-affected population within the framework of the project «Advocacy, Protection and Legal Assistance to the Internally Displaced Population of Ukraine» implemented by CF «Right to protection» in partnership with and with financial support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

03.06.20

For better action in the future, it is time to reflect on the achievements of the 3P Consortium, created by ACTED in 2019 to Prevent, Prepare and Protect (3P) communities and infrastructure from risks of industrial and ecological disasters in Eastern Ukraine.

Read more about 3P Consortium achievements since the beginning of 2020 in the Consortium newsletter available here.

01.06.20

Starting from March 22, 2020, quarantine restrictive measures have been introduced in Ukraine to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These restrictions, in particular, provided for the partial suspension for the people to cross through the checkpoints on the contact line and the administrative border with the temporarily occupied territories. The first restrictions on passing came into force on March 7 for the checkpoints located on the contact line with the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. However, on March 16, in accordance with the order of the Commander of the Joint Forces, new restrictions on crossing the contact line were imposed on the checkpoints with the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and on March 22 the crossing of the contact line was stopped in both directions.

Since May 11, a gradual lifting of quarantine measures has started in Ukraine. However, according to the plan announced by the Prime Minister of Ukraine in April, there is no information about opening the EECPs. This situation makes one think that the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine are beyond the scope and attention of the Government of Ukraine.

Read the Coalition position on reversal of quarantine restrictions entering and exiting the temporarily occupied territories. The recommendations were developed by experts from non-governmental organizations that are members of the informal Coalition of Organizations Dealing with the Protection of the Rights of Victims of Conflict.

The document is available in English and Ukrainian.

01.06.20

The Alternative report (hereinafter AR) on the implementation by Ukraine of the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter the UNCRC) is the result of the joint work of public sector experts in the field of the protection of the rights of the child. The document contains up-to-date information on Ukraine’s compliance with the UNCRC for the period since Ukraine received recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child after the consideration by the Committee of the consolidated third and fourth National Report (2011) up to 2018 inclusively.

The report is available in English.

23.04.20

In 2019 alone, more than 40 deaths were recorded at the entry-exit checkpoints (EECPs) in Donetsk. In order to address this, it is necessary to urgently review the healthcare system and modify the medical infrastructure to suit the particular necessities of the region. This was discussed during the presentation of the report “Investigating the Conditions of Access to Care at EECPs.” The report was prepared by experts of the Charitable Fund Right to Protection (R2P) based on the monitoring results of the five checkpoints operating on the line of contact. 

According to Anastasia Odintsova, Advocacy Coordinator at R2P, the reason for conducting this complex research was concern about the statistical results obtained from Lugansk and Donetsk regions. For example, in 2018, more than 50 people were killed either by shelling at the EECPs or by health problems exacerbated while crossing the line of contact, and another 38 people died in the first nine months of 2019.

Only one of the above mentioned EECPs is actively involved in the provision of medical assistance to the civilian population through the use of public services. In the other cases, access to medical assistance came entirely from non-governmental and international organizations, as well as volunteers. Thanks to the efforts of groups like these, many tragedies have been avoided. However, this does not solve the systemic problem-one which should come under the responsibility of the state. 

Iryna Pesko, Legal Analyst at R2P, said during the presentation that, of the approximately 130,000 people who cross through the EECPs every month, the majority are over 60 years of age. For many of them, the journey across the contact line is a severe aggravator of health conditions: “Every day, people seek the advice and assistance of monitors and medical tents at the EECPs because this is the only available alternative to public health care…In Ukraine, we have no precedent or previous experiences to draw a standard operating procedure from. This is a problem that needs to be addressed comprehensively-taking into account the particularities of each potential patient, the weaknesses of local government bodies along the line of contact, and the obvious consequences of the destroyed infrastructure of medical facilities in both the government-controlled and non-controlled territories of Ukraine.”

A separate point of discussion was the lack of on-site medical infrastructure and the lack of adequate staffing for emergency medical centers. According to Valery Panteyev, a medical doctor at Première Urgence Internationale (PUI), their specialists have been providing medical assistance to people at the EECPs since 2016. But the lack of essential medical infrastructure is more evident now despite efforts of physicians, and despite the numerous instances when PUI representatives saved lives. This is a problem that can only be addressed at the state level. 

Inna Golovanchuk, Adviser to the Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, stressed the need for a unified approach and for the provision of medical care at all EECPs: “There are already principled decisions being made at the EECPs along the administrative border with [non-government-controlled areas], and we’re in the process of developing a way to provide medical care to the population at the EECPs and along the line of contact.” She emphasized that the state, as a guarantor of the right to access to medical care, should accept the responsibility from the non-governmental and international organizations that have been providing medical assistance at the EECPs in recent years. 

At the same time, in Ms. Golovanchuk’s opinion, given the experience gained by these organizations, it is advisable to consider the possibility of developing a mechanism for the state to contract these organizations to continue their work and define key performance indicators: “A number of formalities-in particular the uncertainty surround the chain of command and the optimal funding of the EECPs–will be eliminated by systematic regulatory work to unify the structure and define the complex of services at the EECPs. This will help meet the needs of the population as soon as possible at the EECPs,” she concluded.

As a result of the presentation and discussion, the participants plan to form a coordination group in the near future with the involvement of representatives of the relevant authorities and, in particular, the Ministry of Health and certain NGOs, to formulate further steps to overcome the identified problems.

The report is available in English and Ukrainian.

The study was carried out under the auspices of the ‘Provision of multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance to the conflict-affected population of Eastern Ukraine’ project, implemented by Right to Protection and with financial support from the European Commission through the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid’s ACCESS Consortium.

15.04.20

Please find the report ‘Crossing the contact line’. It is based on data collected during visits of our colleagues to the five entry-exit checkpoints (EECPs) in March 2020. More statistical data can be found on the Eastern Ukraine Checkpoint Monitoring Online Dashboard.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • As part of measures aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19, the JFO Headquarters limited EECP operation in two steps. Since 17 March, people could cross only in the direction of their residence registration (“propiska”) – NGCA or GCA. In some cases, the SBGS allowed crossing if a person had an urgent issue (family separation, critical medical condition, etc.). Since 22 March, GCA EECPs fully suspended the passing of people while de-facto authorities did it a day earlier. Therefore, some people passed the GCA EECP but were not allowed to enter on the NGCA side and had to return.
  • Due to the restrictions, some people could not cross the contact line despite having sufficient reasons for crossing and relevant residence registration. As a result, on all EECPs by the end of March people have been stranded for days, in many cases without the financial means for temporary accommodation. The most urgent situation occurred at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP: over 40 people have been waiting on the GCA side, unable to cross the contact line. Meanwhile, people waiting at Maiorske EECP, were provided with accommodation and food by local authorities and NGOs.
  • From the end of February and throughout March due to the threat of the spread of COVID-19 SBGS servicemen had continued to carry out temperature screening of the crossing people at all EECPs before they were closed. All cases of temperature detection of 37.9 or higher and severe acute respiratory syndrome symptoms were recorded by SBGS servicemen, people received reminders about the need for self-isolation.
  • During the period 1-17 of March, 18,077 vulnerable elderly persons were provided with transportation support at Stanitsa Luhanska EECP by NGO Proliska electric vehicle. As of 17 March, transportation services were suspended due to imposing the quarantine measures. Most services suspended their work at EECPs since 17-20 March at all EECPs: the Coordination Group representatives, iNGO medical representatives, and transportation, including a social bus at Stanytsia Luhanska.

More information you may find in a document. It’s available in English and Ukrainian.

The report is based on the results of a survey conducted by R2P at the five EECPs to enter the NGCA and administered on a regular basis since June 2017. The survey is a part of the monitoring of violations of rights of conflict-affected populations within the framework of the project ‘Advocacy, Protection and Legal Assistance to IDPs’ implemented by R2P, with the support of UNHCR. The purpose of the survey is to explore reasons and concerns of those traveling from the NGCA to the GCA, as well as conditions and risks associated with crossing the line of contact through EECPs. The information collected in the survey helps identify protection needs, gaps, and trends, and provides an evidentiary basis for advocacy efforts.

18.02.20

Today we present R2P report ‘Crossing the contact line’’. It is based on data collected during 35 visits to the five entry-exit checkpoints (EECPs) in January 2020. More statistical data can be found here.

Highlights:

  • An 84-year-old man died at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP in the morning of January 21. The preliminary cause of death is unknown. According to the information from public sources, a woman of 75 years old died at “Horlivka” checkpoint in NGCA on January 4.
  • The problem of people being unable to return to the NGCA due to being listed in the debtor’s register is growing more serious and widespread. In some cases, people remain in the register even after having paid all their debts because of bureaucratic delays and discrepancies. The issue forces people to stay in the GCA, which leads to additional expenditures, problems with employment (people may be fired for long absence), temporary family separation and other issues. R2P monitors reported that the average number of such individuals ranges from 1 per week to 5 per day, depending on the EECP.
  • In January, minors over 14 years old without Ukrainian passports had issues while crossing the contact line due to CMU Resolution №815. Minors in this situation, along with their parents or caregivers were transferred to the national police staff at the EECP to file a document, confirming their intention to apply for a passport and explaining why the child did not obtain it before attempting to cross. The State Migration Service certificate of application for passport is required for them to return to NGCA.
  • The share of complaints regarding long lines sharply decreased from 53% to 21%. It was most likely caused by a significant decrease in the number of crossings.
  • During the month of January, 25,550 vulnerable elderly persons were provided with transportation support at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP by NGO Proliska electric vehicle. According to the monitoring observations, the estimated number of civilians transported by the bus, provided by Luhansk Oblast Administration, was around 125,000.

The document is available in English and in Ukrainian languages.