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20.10.20

On October 18, a Law that clearly defined the procedure for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine must have come into force. In fact, this has not happened. Still-existing legal gap is a real problem for the people with whom specialists of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation work every day. Ms. Larysa (name changed) is one of those who received legal help from our Foundation’s lawyers. Her story is the evidence of the urgent need to introduce an adequate procedure for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine.

Larysa lost her passport as the USSR was dissolving. Consequently, she spent nearly 30 years on the verge of statelessness, and she passed her own legal non-existence on to her own four children. Her eldest son has also passed the status on to his own two children. Statelessness is generational. 

Larysa was born in a village called Kolomiya in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, but when she was young she frequently travelled around the Soviet Union because her father was in the military and he was assigned to posts across several Soviet Republics. Larysa grew up all over the USSR, but in 1987 she returned home to Ukraine, she got married, and she moved to a small town called Borodyanka in Kyiv oblast. 

In 1990, not long before the formation of an independent Ukraine, Larysa lost her passport. She made several attempts to replace it, but at that time she was met with the chaos of the collapsing Soviet system. The turbulence of that moment mixed with the already burdensome and convoluted process involved in getting a replacement passport, and so Larysa was confronted with a never-ending bureaucratic process that gave her an interminable list of things to do and documents to provide. 

At one point, she even had to contact the Estonian authorities to get proof of her prior residence there. Nevertheless, and despite her Ukrainian birth certificate and Ukrainian marriage certificate, Larysa’s attempts were rebuffed, and it was determined that she had insufficient proof of her residence in Ukraine at the time of the birth of the new nation in 1991. Interestingly enough, Larysa’s mother, who lived in Estonia at the time, managed to replace her own Soviet passport with a new, Ukrainian one. This, ultimately, served no aid in helping Larysa’s cause, however. 

For decades, Larysa was stateless. As a result of her legal nonexistence, her challenges multiplied. She couldn’t legally work because a passport is a necessary condition of employment; she couldn’t get government assistance because she was legally non-existent; she couldn’t get a bank account, and she couldn’t legally rent or own property. Slowly, step by step, she was removed from existence; without a passport or documentation, living a normal life was not possible. This condition of legal nonexistence was also passed on to her children, and then onto their children, and after a while, the whole family had legally disappeared everywhere. 

It wasn’t until 2018, nearly 30 years after becoming stateless, that Larysa learned about the legal services of Right to Protection. She was told about the services for stateless persons by a friend, a former stateless woman from Armenia, who had recently received her own passport with the help of R2P’s attorneys. Larysa called R2P’s offices, and she got in touch with Victoriia — the woman who would become her lawyer. 

Victoriia brought Larysa’s case to court where she demonstrated Larysa’s residence in Ukraine in 1991 through her employment certificate in Borodyanka from that time. The court accepted the evidence, and late in 2018, Larysa received her passport for the first time in nearly 30 years. The first thing she did upon getting her passport was travel to Russia to see her father and her sister in Sochi, and to visit the site where her mother had been buried years earlier. Her mother had passed away in Russia, and Larysa had never been able to see the grave. 

Since receiving her passport, Larysa has worked on those of her family too. Three of her children now have their passports, but Larysa’s eldest son, who was born in Tallinn prior to the fall of the Soviet Union, continues to have trouble getting his. He has passed his statelessness on to his own two young children as well, and they are likely to face difficulties proving their citizenship in the future. 

But the overall situation is improving, and Larysa thinks there is hope for her son and her grandchildren. With her official documentation in hand, Larysa is employed as shop assistant, and she is now qualified to receive a pension. Her advice to others who face similar hardships:

“Don’t be afraid and ask for help. The thing is you have to take the first step, and then everything will be okay. But you have to put in the effort…You have to knock on all the doors.” 

Following this link we offer you to read the analytical document on the procedure for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine, neighboring countries and in throughout the world, prepared by the “Right to Protection” CF, with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine (UNHCR Ukraine)

19.10.20

On October 18, 2020, the Law establishing the procedure for recognition as a stateless person (statelessness determination procedure – SDP) in Ukraine should have been enacted. This document was the result of common long-term work of government, civic society and international organizations. However, today the Law still has no legal effect, in particular due to the lack of a regulated procedure for processing the applications to recognize person as stateless.

Statelessness determination procedure will provide people who do not have the citizenship of any country and/or identity documents with the opportunity for being officially recognized as stateless persons, able to obtain an identity document, as well as to restore access to normal life and to all types of services and to receive rights and freedoms on the territory of Ukraine.

The law entered into force on July 18, 2020 and should have been enacted three months after its entry into force, on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

The establishment of the procedure prescribed in this law is possible only after the Government and other central authorities bring their regulations in line with the Law. According to the law, they had three months to do it.

In August-September 2020, the State Migration Service of Ukraine got acquainted with foreign experience, prepared a draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine “Some issues of recognition as a stateless person” and organized public discussions of the project. Unfortunately, the Government has not yet adopted the necessary by-law to effectively implement the procedure.

“Thousands of people in Ukraine are waiting for the procedure, having no other choice, because none of the states recognizes them as their citizens. Stateless persons in Ukraine are people without identity documents and without the opportunity to live normal life. The team of the Right to Protectionhas already made efforts to make important legislative changes and continues to work towards creating a mechanism for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine. The procedure will make it possible for Ukraine to fulfill its international obligations regarding stateless persons, ” – said Ksenia Karahiaur, a Legal Analyst at Charitable Foundation The Right to Protection.

– said Ksenia Karahiaur, a Legal Analyst at Charitable Foundation The Right to Protection.

Therefore, the questions remain open: when will the long-awaited procedure come into force? When will people, who are not recognized as citizens of any country get the right to officially apply to the Ukrainian authorities?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are approximately 35,000 people who are stateless or at risk of becoming stateless in Ukraine. Due to the lack of identity documents, they are unable to exercise their human rights and freedoms in Ukraine. Lack of citizenship is most often associated with the consequences of the collapse of Soviet Union and the migration of people during this period or later.

16.10.20

Right to Protection office in Kyiv from 19.10.2020 to 23.10.2020 will work in a limited mode.

All legal services will be provided to clients in full in the remote way using the ZOOM, Viber, Skype services. The office is closed to visitors! Interviews and consultations scheduled for this week will be conducted online using the ZOOM, Viber, Skype service.

You can contact us at the following phones:

  • For asylum seekers: +38 093 049 52 18, +38 094 905 67 62, +38 044 337 17 62 (Write to us on Viber, WhatsApp: +38 093 038 95 62)
  • For stateless persons: +38 093 039 00 71, +38 093 038 90 31

Stay tuned for updates and be healthy!

13.10.20

On 13 October 1989, the United Nations General Assembly in their resolution called on all the countries of the world to take action to tackle the risks posed by natural hazards such as fires, storms and floods. Most of these events are directly related to changes in the environment, as well as to human activities.

Over the last year, a large number of both natural and human-driven disasters have occurred in Ukraine. These include a sandstorm in the Kyiv region in April, huge floods in the west in June and fires in the Luhansk region this month. These and other catastrophes have dealt a severe blow to Ukraine’s economy, environment and well-being, leaving a lot of people homeless.

That is why the UN and other international organizations have always emphasized the importance of creating a safe environment for citizens and reducing potential risks by building infrastructure and addressing humanitarian issues before a disaster occurs, and, accordingly, clear emergency planning and risk assessment.
This day is a reminder to world governments of the importance to always calculate risky scenarios to avoid human casualties or serious economic losses.


Today, the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation calls on citizens to participate in governance processes to jointly address future risks!

12.10.20

CF «Right to Protection» and E-Governance for Accountability and Participation have officially launched their first common development – chatbot for Internally Displaced Persons. It was presented yesterday, on the 8-th of October 2020 at the conference in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Main feature of the bot is to provide people with ability to get legal information and assistance they require 24/7, from anywhere. Chatbot was developed for not just the IDPs, but for all the people affected by the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, as well as the residents of temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and boundary territories, controlled by the Government of Ukraine.

The instrument is available on two platforms, popular in Ukraine – Viber and Telegram. During the press conference, Snaver Seithalilev, the Deputy Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine on Digital Development, Digital Transformations and Digitization noted that the new service will be very useful and easy-to-use because it requires no installation of any other software except one of the messengers. Daria Lysenko, the Project Manager at «Right to Protection» mentioned the main advantages of the instrument in comparison to other similar legal aid services as it’s availability and convenience, that it’s made by experts in the Field of Law, with an option to contact a real person for case if the problem is not listed in the bot and also the ability to collect analytics that might be helpful to get insights of the problems people face, as well as to be able to report these problems to the government institutions.

Anyone can test-drive and use the «Legal Assistant for IDPs» chatbot by scanning the QR code on the picture below, or just following the links for the preferred messenger (VIBER / TELEGRAM)

The recording of the launch event is available on YouTube

The project is implemented jointly with the e-Governance for Accountability and Participation (EGAP) Program, implemented by the East Europe Foundation and the Innovabridge Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

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.

30.08.20

Repeatedly beaten by separatists in temporarily occupied Donetsk, Hennadii refused to join the war, so they burnt his identity documents; he spent years at-risk of statelessness, and he nearly died several times. 

Hennadii Orlov now lives in Sloviansk; he recently got his Ukrainian passport. For three years leading up to this point, he was on the verge of statelessness — he had nothing to prove who he was, or even the simple fact that he was a citizen of Ukraine. The journey to get to this point — to be recognized as a citizen of Ukraine, living in Ukraine — nearly killed him. Right to Protection (R2P), a legal advocacy non-profit in Ukraine, recently helped Mr. Orlov prove his identity and re-obtain his documents and his legal status as a Ukrainian citizen. 

Hennadii is turning 40 this year. He was born in Horlivka — 90 minutes by car northeast of Donetsk City, and an area currently under occupation by the Russian backed authorities of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic.’ Horlivka, much like most of Donetsk Oblast, is a region in decline—formerly a heart of industry and mining, and now a conflict zone pockmarked by abandoned factories that once provided steady jobs and shuttered mines that once made Donetsk the wealthiest province in the country. But Hennadii never reaped much advantage from the past industriousness of his home because his family was poor, and his parents passed away when he was young, and he has dystrophy in his right hand which makes it hard for him to perform the physical tasks required in the factories and the mines. He always struggled to find steady work, and this persistent challenge eventually led to some bad choices and a jail sentence in Luhansk. 

After serving his time, Hennadii returned home just in time to witness the pro-Russian separatists seize Horlivka’s municipal buildings at the beginning of their occupation. Then, in July of 2014, he witnessed the Battle of Horlivka in which the Ukrainian government attempted to retake the city. The battle lasted over a month and reportedly killed hundreds of civilians and devastated the city, but it made little impact on the demarcation lines. The Ukrainian government and the city’s de facto authorities signed a ceasefire on September 5th of that year, and the separatists maintained control of Horlivka. 

The Battle of Horlivka strained the capacities of the separatists, and as the war dragged on and on, it became critical for them to begin recruiting local civilians into their ranks. In the following years, Hennadii was regularly threatened and robbed by the local militias, and several times he was beaten within an inch of his life. Time and again, however, Hennadii refused to join the fighting. One night in December, 2017, the militia once again broke into his house to threaten and rob him, but this time they also burned his passport. 

After that, Hennadii’s wife and children fled to government-controlled areas where they moved in with her brother in Svyatohirsk. Hennadii couldn’t accompany them because he didn’t have the documents required to cross through the checkpoints. Instead, he says, he crossed illegally — traversing a minefield where he almost set-off a landmine. 

After getting into government-controlled areas, Hennadii travelled to Sloviansk, where he moved in with a friend. His difficulties were far from over, however, because he couldn’t get a job or receive any government assistance because he technically didn’t exist: “I didn’t have anything!” He recalls. “I only had an address in [non-government controlled Donetsk]. They were looking at me like I was a stupid person!” 

After having been on his own for years — with no work, no government assistance, and living apart from his family — Hennadii was despaired by the time he heard about Right to Protection’s legal services. He heard about them through a friend, and he immediately reached out to a local R2P office by phone. Protection Attorney Nataliia Ishchenko took him on as a client, and by the summer of 2019 they were able to obtain Hennadii’s birth certificate. Then, in April of 2020, he got his Ukrainian passport. 

Things still aren’t easy for Hennadi. His wife is working at a kindergarten in Svyatohirsk, but he can’t find work there, so he’s still in Sloviansk. He now has the documents he needs to obtain legal employment, but coronavirus added a layer of complication — very few companies are hiring, and he faces the uphill battle of getting a job after such a long employment gap. However, he remains hopeful, because his situation has improved: “I don’t know how I survived the past 3 years… If not for my friend, who helped me with housing, food and some small side-jobs, I would have probably died from hunger or have gone back to prison.” He’s still worried about providing for his family, but at least, he says, he has his documents. Now he’ll be legally allowed to marry his wife, and — when the opportunity arrives — he’ll be allowed to accept legal employment… At least he now legally exists. 

02.07.20

UNHCR representation in Ukraine invites to join the Community Support Initiatives (CSI) project. If you are an asylum seeker or a refugee and have an idea of the project that would benefit your community—check this out!

UNHCR representation in Ukraine and its Partners in the regions announce the start of the Community Support Initiatives (CSI) project. Community Support Initiatives are ideas of projects that are brought by members of communities with the aim of promoting awareness of their rights and the suggestions of the communities on improvements/changes to their current situation.

The start of the application project is today, July 1st! The end of the application project is on September 15th, 2020.

Pay attention! The sooner your active group submits the project, the sooner you’ll receive feedback and can start with its implementation! Because real changes start with each of us; and if we unite our efforts we will make the change happen quicker and more effectively.

You can discuss your idea and the application process with UNHCR Partners in different locations:

Kyiv: Rokada (Благодійний фонд “Рокада”). Address: 7 Chumaka Str., Tel: 044 501 56 96.
Odesa: The Tenth of April (Десяте Квітня). Address: 15 Heroiv Krut Str., office 511. Tel: 093 662 85 24.
Kharkiv: Right to Protection (Право на захист). Address: 85 Chernyshevska Str., Tel: 099 507 90.
Lviv and Zakarpattya: NEEKA Ukraine. Address: 3 Michurina Str., Mukachevo, Tel: 03131 321 22.

Please inquire for the details at the Organizations listed above depending on your location. They will explain the requirements and selection process, as well as help you develop your project idea.