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18.01.21

On the 15-th of January 2021 25 free antigen SARS-CoV-2 rapid tests were delivered to the Novotroitske Entry-Exit Checkpoint in Donetsk region (EECP) as it was reported from the location by our colleagues, the monitors of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation.

 «Medical center at EECP is open until 14:30 and depends on the traffic schedule. Therefore, those who come to the checkpoint after this time and without a smartphone will be sent to the village of Gostre for observation. Besides that, we’ve found that only two people per hour can be tested. In result, only 10-11 people per day can have antigen rapid tests free of charge. ,»

– says Kateryna Rachynska, monitor at Right to Protection CF. 

Mechanism of termination of self-isolation is not worked out.  According to our information, logic of actions of employees at the testing points in case of positive results of the antigen rapid test and an algorithm of work with those who cannot install the application «Vdoma» for technical reasons is still in development.

«Mechanism to cancel the requirement for self-isolation on the basis of a rapid test is being finalized, but people will still have to install the «Vdoma» app. According to the Cabinet of Ministers resolution №9 of 05.01.2021, the application should be installed by all citizens who cross EECPs (except those who do not have a smartphone), and having a test or not is a person’s choice. Everything should have been like this: application «Vdoma» + negative test = cancelled self-isolation;  «Vdoma» + positive test = continuation of self-isolation until the end of 14 days observation period or a negative PCR test result;  no smartphone/no app + negative test = the person goes home (though this stage has not yet been completed in practice);  no smartphone/no app + positive test = observation »

told Iryna Petsko, legal analyst at the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation

At 11:20 a woman with a child arrived at the EECP from the Non-Government Controlled Area (NGCA). She had «Vdoma» app installed on her phone and was the first to have a free coronavirus rapid test, and in 20 minutes received a negative result. The woman was let through, but she will still have to wait for a message in the application on the removal of self-isolation until a new mechanism is established.

The situation is more complicated for a man who tried to cross the contact line without a smartphone. The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine says that they did not receive instructions to allow people without «Vdoma» application to pass. Given the current conditions, even with a negative test result person will still be sent for an observation. 


We are monitoring the situation and will report all the changes. Follow us to receive most up-to-date information:

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15.01.21

Today we publish the report ‘Crossing the contact line’ for December 2020, prepared by ‘Right to Protection’. It is based on data collected during the monitoring of the situation on EECPs. 

More statistical data is available on the Eastern Ukraine Checkpoint Monitoring Online Dashboard

HIGHLIGHTS:   

  • During the month, crossing the contact line remained possible only through two EECPs: Novotroitske in Donetska Oblast and Stanytsia Luhanska in Luhanska Oblast, at a level considerably below the pre-COVID period.
  • In December, about 443 people were authorized to cross to the government-controlled areas (GCA) at the Novotroitske EECP and about 893 people crossed the contact line to nongovernment-controlled areas (NGCA). At Stanytsia Luhanska EECP over 21,000 people crossed the contact line to GCA and over 25,000 people to NGCA.
  • On 25 November, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted Resolution No. 1161 with the aim of legally regulating the procedure for crossing the contact line through temporarily closed EECP for cases of humanitarian nature. Such grounds are recognized as: return to the place of residence; family reunification; serious illness; the death of close relatives; the need to provide medicines or undergo treatment; departure from NGCA for permanent or temporary residence in another state; crossing the EECP by a child accompanied by one of the parents; crossing the EECP for the purpose of visiting an educational institution for training; the need to ensure the protection of national interests or in connection with the fulfillment of international obligations by foreign diplomats; acceptance of inheritance. No change in the crossing process was observed on the ground following the release of the resolution.
  • During the month of December, 8,222 vulnerable elderly persons were provided with transport support at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP by the NGO “Proliska” e-vehicle.

The document is available in English and in 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 the 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.

14.01.21

On January 5, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine updated the rules for terminating the self-isolation of persons who arrived from the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and the city of Sevastopol.

From now on, in addition to the results of PCR tests, the data of rapid tests which are performed after crossing the Entry-Exit Checkpoints (EECPs) to determine the SARS-CoV–2 antigen will be used for early termination of self-isolation. According to the new rules, testing sites for coronavirus antigen should be set up at each EECP. The Donetsk and Luhansk regional state administrations, together with the “Reintegration and Reconstruction” state enterprise, are responsible for the implementation of these regulations. However, as our colleagues, the monitors of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation told us, as of January 13, no express testing points were installed at the Entry-Exit Checkpoints.

Chief Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine Viktor Lyashko noted that the rapid testing on Entry-Exit Checkpoints for citizens of Ukraine will be free of charge. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) document (in Ukrainian – ed. note), a batch of 1.8 million rapid tests have already been distributed in the regions.

On January 12, at a meeting of the Ministry of Health with the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine agreed on the organization of testing for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus antigen at the Entry-Exit Checkpoints. Stay tuned for new updates on our Facebook page.

We will keep you informed on the process of arrangement of testing points!

13.01.21

The Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories has published a draft law “On the State Policy of Transitional Period” for refinement proposals and review. The document needs to be studied carefully as it is great in size and consists of 100 pages.

In draft the unification of approaches and generalization of existing legislation in the field of occupation and armed conflict in the context of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine are declared.

After collecting the proposals, the document will be finalized, additionally published and sent to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for consideration.

Right to Protection within the Coalition of NGOs provides legal assistance to the internally displaced persons, helps them to exercise their rights and overcome the negative effects of an armed conflict. We, the Coalition, are ready to provide opinions and expert comments to journalists and stakeholders concerning this draft law.

The expert opinion and position on the draft law “On the State Policy of Transitional Period” will be published on the pages of Coalition organizations.

The Coalition consists of:

Right to Protection Charitable Foundation

ZMINA Human Rights Center

Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG)

Vostok SOS Charitable Foundation

NGO “Civil holding “GROUP OF INFLUENCE”

NGO “KrymSOS” 

NGO “DonbasSOS”

Stabilization Support Services in Ukraine Charitable Foundation

29.12.20

50 thousand hryvnias of personal funds in cash – that’s the exact amount of money that can be transported across the contact line. And although the Law does not restrict citizens in transporting money through the territory of Ukraine, problems still arise from time to time.

So where do the restrictions come from?

On July 14, 2020, the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine issued Order № 52 “On Approval of the List and Volumes (Value / Weight / Quantity) of Restricted or Prohibited from Transportation Across the Line of Demarcation and to / from Humanitarian and Logistics Centers goods that can be attributed to personal belongings” (hereinafter – the Order). Its rules limit the amount of money that is allowed to be transported to and from the Government and Non-Government Controlled Areas of Ukraine (hereinafter – GCA and NGCA).

The amount of cash transported from the NGCA should not exceed UAH 50,000. No explanations need to be provided to border guards about the origin of these money. If the amount exceeds UAH 50,000, it is necessary to coordinate their transfer with the representatives of the coordination center.

It is also possible to transport cash in the direction of NGCA in the amount not exceeding 50,000 UAH without the documents which confirm the origin of money.

If you transport cash in foreign currency, for example, in US dollars or euros, this amount should not exceed the established limits at the rate of the National Bank of Ukraine on the day of transportation.

So, if you need to transport cash in the direction of NGCA of Ukraine in excess of the established limits, prepare the necessary documents confirming the origin of the money beforehand. As well, if you need to transport money from the NGCA in the amount of more than 50 thousand UAH, contact the coordination center to obtain the appropriate permission.

Monitors of Right to Protection CF provide assistance

If you have additional questions or if you need free legal assistance in transporting cash across the contact line through EECPs, please contact the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation Hotline:

Lifecell: +380935075090 

Vodafone: +380995075090

Kyivstar: +380685075090

In non-working hours, holidays and weekends you can receive the most up-to-date information and answers to all questions with «Legal Advisor for IDPs» chatbots: free of charge, instantly, anywhere and from any device with an Internet connection.

Telegram:
http://bit.ly/2JettHe 
Viber:
http://bit.ly/3mFwNJ7 
Facebook:
http://bit.ly/3hlYQMN 
28.12.20

On December 15, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the second reading and as a whole the draft Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2021”. This law is particularly interesting because it deals with the financing of important national programs which directly affect the rights of internally displaced persons and victims of armed conflict.

It will be appropriate to compare the expenditure parts of both the Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2020” (Annex 3) and the Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2021” (Annex 3). In connection with the COVID-19 global pandemic in April and for the rest of 2020, the Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2020” was substantially amended, which resulted in redistribution of funds between different governmental programs.

It is necessary to take into comparison the changes in the expenditure part of the state budget for 2020. The texts of the draft law on the state budget for 2021 for the first reading and after the proposals processing for the second reading are also a subject for comparison.

So what’s new in the law on the state budget for 2021, how is it comparable with a similar law for 2020 in the context of internally displaced persons and armed conflict?

The key changes are:

  • Increased funding for the state program for the payment of monetary compensation to victims, whose houses (apartments) were destroyed as a result of an emergency caused by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation to 114 million UAH.
  • Subventions from the state budget to local budgets for the implementation of measures to support the conflict-affected territories in eastern Ukraine were increased to 125 million UAH.
  • A new state program has been introduced to ensure proper and safe conditions for entry and exit to the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine –  267 million UAH.
  • New program for the reintegration of youth from the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol – 30 million UAH (although such a program appeared only between the first and second readings).
  • Lack of funding for the “Affordable Housing” state program (it was reduced with the April State Budget amendments and will not be renewed in 2021).
  • Lack of funding for subventions from the state budget to local budgets for the implementation of the project “Housing for Internally Displaced Persons”.

For more information, see the comparison table (in Ukrainian).

Another change that can significantly affect the rights and interests of a large number of people is the lack of funding for measures to implement court decisions guaranteed by the state.

According to the draft Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2021”, which was submitted for the first reading, 200 million UAH was provided for the implementation of this program. However, based on the results of the consideration of the draft law in the second reading and in general, the allocation of funds for the implementation of court decisions was abolished altogether.

The problem of non-enforcement of court decisions in Ukraine is not an isolated one. More than half of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights against Ukraine concern non-enforcement of court decisions for which the authorities in Ukraine are responsible. Implementing these decisions requires a lot of resources. Funding has been clearly insufficient in recent years. For example, in 2016 – 144,757 UAH, in 2017 – 500 million UAH, in 2018 – 500 million UAH, in 2019 – 600 million UAH, in 2020 – 600 million UAH.

This trend, as well as the lack of significant steps to address the enforcement of judgments has not gone unnoticed by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which adopted an Interim Resolution on this issue on 1 October 2020.

At the same time, it should be noted that this year (for 10 months) more than 250 million UAH were accrued for IDP pensions, of which more than 35 million UAH were paid. Last year, the corresponding figures were almost three times higher. 

It takes many months of lawyer’s work to help enforce such court decisions. It is almost impossible for people to protect their rights in court alone. Displaced persons and victims of the conflict are plaintiffs in many disputes with material claims. In fact, next year these people will have no possibility to enforce court decisions in their favor, or even simply to cover the court fee.

Considering the already adopted Law of Ukraine “On the State Budget of Ukraine for 2021” we can conclude that there are some positive changes in the financing of compensation for destroyed housing, as well as ensuring proper conditions of entry/exit to or from the temporarily occupied territories.

Nevertheless, it seems that the issue of housing provision for internally displaced persons, as well as the enforcement of court decisions in which the state is the defendant is not a priority for the government in the coming year.

28.12.20

Recently, an internally displaced person (IDP) who lives with two underage daughters in a dormitory in the Novomoskovsk district of the Dnipropetrovsk region applied to the Dnipro office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation. Their previous residence, although renovated at the beginning of the mass relocation of IDPs from the conflict zone, already required significant investment. Moreover, relations with other residents of the dormitory were strained (as it is usually in the places of compact settlement).

The family was non-conflicting but other people who lived with them under one roof seemed to enjoy quarrels. The woman was worried that this situation had a negative effect on her daughter, because the child’s psyche could not abstract from the negative. One day she decided to change her life. The woman contacted the Dnipro office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation to find out about the possibilities of resettlement and the necessary actions. Colleagues provided her with all the necessary information about available community housing, government housing programs, and temporary housing facilities in the area.

The family made the choice taking into account that it is better for them to live near the city of Dnipro, where the eldest daughter studies. So the family moved to a dormitory in the Chumaky village in the Dnipropetrovsk region, which is 40 minutes from the regional center. This facility has the status of temporary housing and was renovated as part of a UFSI project with the assistance of KfW Bank.

Housing

Now the woman is satisfied with the changes in her life: the dormitory is renovated, has all the necessary furniture and appliances. Her eldest daughter studies in Dnipro and lives in a student dormitory, but on all weekends and holidays she hurries to a new home to the family.

The Dnipro team of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation hopes that the changes will bring only the positive to the lives of a family!

21.12.20
Raising awareness in the Eastern Ukraine communities about the housing possibilities for IDPs

The Right to Protection Charitable Foundation continues to share information on the housing possibilities for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to the Amalgamated Territorial Communities (Hromadas) in Ukraine (Hromadas). 

With the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Program, Foundation’s specialists organized online consultations, where representatives from Hromadas learn about the specifics of the procedure of receiving governmental financial assistance (subventions) to purchase housing for IDPs. Recently, on December 15 and December 17, Right to Protection also organized consultations for communities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

«For Right to Protection CF, long-term housing solutions for IDPs are a main priority. That’s why, starting next year, we will begin to implement a number of activities on this matter in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. At the moment, we want to draw the attention of communities to the possibility of receiving subventions from the state budget to local budgets for the implementation of measures for the regional socio-economic development, »

– said Myroslava Sushchenko, head of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation in Dnipro and Zaporizhia.

Consultation event for representatives of Donetsk region communities

Consultation event for representatives of Donetsk region communities

30 representatives of the amalgamated territorial communities of Donetsk region joined the consultation event, which took place on December 15.

  • Maksym Alekseenko-Lemovsky, Chief Specialist of the Department for Formation and Implementation of Housing Policy of the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine told the participants about the procedure and conditions for providing subventions from the state budget to local budgets as well as about the Temporary Housing Funds for IDPs. 
  • Myroslava Sushchenko spoke in detail about the structure, peculiarities of the development and approval of the Local Target Program for IDP housing opportunities, as well as about the procedures for creating a Temporary Housing Fund, provision of such housing for the use of IDPs, including the apartments purchase on the secondary market.

At the end of her speech, Ms. Myroslava called on the communities to consider participating in the competition for a state subvention for socio-economic development of the territories.

«Through provision of housing, you have an opportunity to attract new residents to your communities. And if those residents will also be industry professionals, this will result in rise of employment rate, and accordingly – more tax revenues to the local budget, »

– said Myroslava Sushchenko, head of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation in Dnipro and Zaporizhia. .

The event was also attended by the representatives of international organizations, who spoke about their activities and the possibility to receive international technical assistance for the socio-economic development of the communities.

  • Iryna Bystrytska, Legal Protection Adviser at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Mariupol, spoke about the work of UNHCR.
  • Oleksandr Radionov, a leading financial expert on the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund in Ukraine spoke in detail about the achievements of projects in the Donetsk region and future possible UNDP projects.
  • Galyna El Khatri, Chief Community Development Consultant of the South-Eastern Regional Office of the Ukrainian Social Investment Fund, introduced the participants to the projects and activities of the USIF.

Online meeting of capable and effective territorial communities of Luhansk region

Online meeting of capable and effective territorial communities of Luhansk region

Another consultation event took place on December 17, but this time – for the communities of Luhansk region. In total, about 20 representatives of communities in the region joined the event.

The main topic was the same: receiving the subventions for the establishment of the IDP Temporary Housing Fund. Speakers on the event helped the participants to learn more and understand the nuances and the most common mistakes to consider while preparing documents for receiving the subvention.

  • Christoph Bo, Senior Security Adviser at the UNHCR Eastern Office spoke about the activities of the Office on the matter of assistance to the internally displaced persons in Ukraine, as well as about the achievements of 2020 and the priorities for 2021.
  • Maksym Alekseenko-Lemovsky, Chief Specialist of the Department for the Formation and Implementation of Housing Policy of the Department for Social and Humanitarian Policy and Internally Displaced Persons of the Ministry for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine described in detail the mechanism for providing subventions from the state budget to local budgets.
  • Olena Prykhodko, Head of the Kharkiv Regional Office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation discussed with the participants the specifics of providing the housing for temporary use from the housing funds to IDPs.
  • Babchenko Oleksiy, head of the Civil-military administration in Zolote and the village of Katerynivka in Popasna district of the Luhansk region shared his experience in obtaining and implementing a subvention.

«In Luhansk oblast, there are only 2 examples of amalgamated Hromadas that have successfully received a subvention, and those are the Starobilsk and Zolote. We hope that their experience will inspire other communities as well. Great example is Zolote. City is located near the contact line, has been destroyed before and still has problems due to hostilities. Despite this, the motivation and resources were found to obtain a subvention to provide internally displaced persons with housing. This is very inspiring that there is already an understanding in the Hromadas that IDPs are not a burden, but a powerful resource that can be transformed into the driving force for the community development,» 

– told Olena Prykhodko, head of the Luhansk regional office of the Right to Protection CF.

The consultation event was organized by the Luhansk Regional Office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation jointly with the Luhansk Regional Office of the U-LEAD with Europe Program.

16.12.20

To the President of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskyy

 Dear Volodymyr Olexandrovych!

We, the non-governmental human rights sector organizations who work with the protection of the rights of victims of the armed conflict in Ukraine, with the fullest respect for You express our demand not to narrow the scope of the National Strategy for Human Rights.

Adopted through the Decree of the President of Ukraine in 2015, the National Strategy in the field of human rights needs to be updated. In the summer of 2020, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine began work on developing amendments to the Strategy and drafting the Action Plan for its implementation. Representatives of the human rights NGO sector in Ukraine and international partners were involved in the work.

During October, the Directorate for Strategic Planning and European Integration of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine held a series of meetings of thematic groups to develop an Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy in the field of human rights for 2021-2023.

The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations Concerning the Protection of the Rights of Persons Affected by the Armed Conflict in Ukraine submitted proposals to the Action Plan, which includes about 90 measures for overcoming the negative consequences of the armed conflict caused by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation and to protect, ensure and exercise the rights of internally displaced persons and residents of the occupied territories, those who live near the contact line in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, persons deprived of liberty as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, persons who have disappeared in unknown circumstances and members of their families.

The proposals were prepared and sent by experts from the NGO Sector Coalition and were partially taken into account. In particular, the Ministry of Justice proposes to combine the protection of internally displaced persons, residents of the temporarily occupied territories and residents of the so-called “gray zone” in one group – victims of armed aggression in Ukraine. At the same time, according to the logic of the Ministry of Justice, the categories of persons who disappeared during the conflict or who were deprived of personal liberty as a result of the armed conflict are not considered victims.

However, although the text of the draft amendments to the National Strategy for Human Rights includes some proposals submitted by NGOs, the draft Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy ignores these proposals.

Due to the fact that not all the measures planned for 2020 were implemented, NGO Sector proposed to update some of the measures and add new ones that would simplify access to education, administrative services, pensions, social benefits, intensify the process of land demining, introduce an evaluation mechanism of the needs of internally displaced persons and ensure the process of permanent financing of housing programs for IDPs.

Unfortunately, instead of developing high-quality and effective measures, the Ministry of Justice has chosen to focus on steps that are easier to implement and less conflicting to agree with other ministries. In particular, most of the measures proposed by the Ministry relate to the development and submission of draft regulations, although the drafting of regulations alone does not change the situation with human rights in Ukraine.

Such a plan, even if fully implemented, will not lead to the achievement of the goals set by the Strategy, which in turn will result in withdrawal of Ukraine’s movement towards a democratic state governed by the rule of law. Instead, the draft of the updated Action Plan, which focuses on regulatory activities, transforms the document into a formal and technical one, focused exclusively on quantitative indicators and does not introduce systemic changes.

We once again draw attention to the fact that the adoption of certain regulations does not necessarily lead to ensuring the realization of human rights and freedoms. Moreover, the decision to adopt them is the power of Parliament, as the National Strategy is a document that shows the intentions and specific actions of public authorities in certain areas.

We, the non-governmental human rights sector organizations who work with the protection of the rights of victims of the armed conflict in Ukraine, call to take into account the provided proposals and develop amendments to the National Strategy for Human Rights, as well as to the Action Plan for its implementation, taking into account the real needs of all categories of victims of the conflict caused by the armed aggression of the Russian Federation.

We emphasize that in the process of proposal for the Action Plan preparation we relied on our experience in the field of protection of the above mentioned persons and indicated their specific needs, that are not taken into account in the Ministry of Justice broad framework of the National Strategy.

Annex – proposals for amendments to the National Human Rights Strategy.

NGO “Civil holding “GROUP OF INFLUENCE”

KrymSOS NGO

ZMINA Human Rights Center

Right to Protection Charitable Foundation

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services in Ukraine

Vostok SOS Charitable Foundation

Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG)