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17.01.22

Today we present the December 2021 report on the conditions for crossing the Entry-Exit Checkpoints (EECPs) and International/Interstate Border Crossing Points (IBCPs). The report is based on the data collected during the monitoring of the situation at the EECPs in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (eastern Ukraine), as well as on the IBCPs “Milove” and “Hoptivka” on the border with Russia.

The purpose of the survey is to gather information on the difficulties and problems faced by the citizens, who are traveling across the Non-Government Controlled Areas (NGCA) and Government-Controlled Areas through EECPs on the contact line in eastern Ukraine, and IBCPs on the border with Russia.

More statistical data is available on the Online Dashboard.

CROSSING THE CONTACT LINE:

December 2021 EECP Survey Snapshot

  • In 2021, only two of seven Entry-Exit Checkpoints (EECPs) were open on both sides on the contact line: Novotroitske, in Donetsk Oblast, two days a week and Stanytsia Luhanska, in Luhansk Oblast, seven days a week. The number of crossings in 2021 was at a level considerably below the pre-COVID period. In December 2021, the number of crossings at Novotroitske EECP was 3,163, which is only 1,3 per cent of that in December 2019. The same can be deduced from the number of crossings at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP where the number was 55,010 in December 2021, which is 16,7 per cent of that in December 2019. COVID-19 preventative measures are cited by the de facto authorities as their reason to keep the other EECPs closed.
REPORT: "Survey on the conditions of crossing the EECPs and IBCPs in eastern Ukraine". December 2021
  • On 29 December, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine eliminated the requirement to install the Vdoma location-aware app and self-isolation for people crossing EECPs to GCA. This also means that isolation in a state-run observation facility is no longer obligatory as it was for people who could not install the Vdoma app. However, restrictions on crossing EECPs on the NGCA side are still being applied.
  • Infrastructure rehabilitation works began at Novotroitske EECP: a new module to support pedestrian crossings is already operational and another should arrive soon. Recently, infrastructure improvements at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP were completed, including the installation of new modules and delivery of required equipment, and baggage scanners. In addition, a new administrative service centre will be built at Marinka EECP.
  • Since November, people who want to cross the contact line have been unable to register at the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) website. Only already existing accounts are able to make submissions. This problematic situation for people crossing the contact line reinforces the urgency of the request R2P sent on 30 December 2021 to the CMU to amend order № 815 by revoking the requirement to obtain a permit to cross the contact line as excessively restrictive and hence unconstitutional.
REPORT: "Survey on the conditions of crossing the EECPs and IBCPs in eastern Ukraine". December 2021

GOING AROUND THE CONTACT LINE:

December 2021 IBCP Survey Snapshot

  • In December, most respondents at Milove and Hoptivka IBCPs were residents of Donetsk NGCA (48%) compared to the number of residents of Luhansk NGCA (24%). The remaining 28% were residents of Donetsk and Luhansk GCA and other Ukraine oblasts. According to SBGS statistics, the number of crossings at Milove IBCP in 2021 doubled compared to 2020, whilst at Hoptivka IBCP the situation remained the same. Thus, the number of crossings at Milove IBCP was 277,000 in 2020, against 548,964 in 2021. At Hoptivka IBCP, 960,880 crossings were recorded in 2020, against 925,705 in 2021.
  • Installation of the Vdoma app is no longer required for people crossing through EECPs, however, it still remains a requirement for those crossing through IBCPs. The lack of free COVID-19 tests at both IBCPs makes the process of crossing more complicated. Thus, in December, at Milove IBCP, 39 people were sent for observation. Most were older persons, who could neither install the Vdoma app nor afford COVID-19 tests.
REPORT: "Survey on the conditions of crossing the EECPs and IBCPs in eastern Ukraine". December 2021
  • On 21 December, UNHCR successfully finalized rehabilitation works at Milove IBCP to enhance the safety and dignity of crossing and reception conditions. The project was launched thanks to cooperation between UNHCR Ukraine and the Luhansk Region Civil Military Administration. The project will improve the reception conditions at Milove IBCP to enhance the safety and dignity of the people crossing.
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The report is available in:

ENGLISH

and

UKRAINIAN

The report is based on the results of a survey, regularly conducted by the specialists of the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) since June 2017 at Entry-Exit Checkpoints in the Donetsk (Mayorske, Marinka, Hnutove and Novotroitske) and Luhansk (Stanytsia Luhanska) oblasts. Since August 2021 the survey is also conducted at the “Milove” IBCP (Luhansk oblast) and the “Hoptivka” IBCP (Kharkiv oblast).

The survey is part of the monitoring of violations of the rights of the population affected by the conflict and is conducted within the project “Advocacy, Protection and Legal Assistance to the Internally Displaced Population” implemented by the R2P with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The purpose of a 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 ‘contact line’ and state border through EECPs and IBCPs. The information collected in the survey helps identify protection needs, gaps, and trends, and provides an evidentiary basis for the advocacy efforts.

UNHCR and R2P are grateful for the critical financial support provided by donors who have contributed to the Ukraine operation, as well as those who have contributed to UNHCR programs with broadly earmarked and unearmarked funds.

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17.01.22

The threat of environmental and technogenic risks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions was recognized even before the beginning of the military conflict in eastern Ukraine. This is due to the significant industrial load and dense location of chemical, metallurgical, and coal enterprises.

The beginning of the conflict significantly exacerbated the existing risks due to uncontrolled closure and flooding of mines, destruction of natural ecosystems, disruption of industrial infrastructure and water supply. Not only the environment but also the lives of the population in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts are under threat. In particular, due to flooding and destruction of residential buildings, problems with access to drinking water and its quality, contamination of soils (and, consequently, consumer products) with heavy metals, etc.

Another dimension of the issue and at the same time a challenge for the population of eastern Ukraine is the country’s course towards decarbonization and the path of the Just Transition of coal regions. Such a policy envisages a radical reform of the coal fund and a significant layoff of workers in the industry. Consequently, there is an urgent need for consistent, well-thought-out steps to ensure the social protection of the local population and economic opportunities for the region. Therefore, addressing these issues requires a strategic and integrated approach.

Екологічні та техногенні ризики на Донеччині і Луганщині: підготовка дослідження

Over the past few months, CF ‘Right to Protection’, together with technical experts, have conducted consultations at the national, regional, and local levels as part of respective studies on the decarbonization, as well as the impact of environmental and technogenic risks on public health in eastern Ukraine. Among them are meetings with relevant ministries and government structures, specialized departments of the Regional State Administrations of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (health, industry, economy), as well as representatives of local communities and relevant enterprises.

The consultations should complement the assessment of environmental and technogenic risks in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the analysis of the regulatory framework for the transformation of coal regions, as well as public health issues carried out by technical experts in the framework of respective studies. More details on the recommendations for reducing such risks can be found in the analytical study, which we will present in February 2022.

Екологічні та техногенні ризики на Донеччині і Луганщині: підготовка дослідження

The project ‘Increasing resilience to disaster risk in eastern Ukraine’

is funded with UK aid from the British people

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14.01.22

Anatoliy Ivanovych, a 71 y.o. IDP retiree from Donetsk. Once, as he usually does, he headed to the Government-Controlled Area to collect his pension, but then fell victim to robbers, lost his memory, all documents, and money – so many trials on his fate. The driver who knew Anatoliy turned to us for help to save the man.

In November of 2021, Anatoliy Ivanovych left Horlivka (Non-Government Controlled Area, NGCA) and went to the city of Bakhmut, Donetsk region, to apply for a pension card in Oschadbank. Everything was successful and he could have already gone home, but the 71-year-old man was attacked, severely beaten. His passport, pension certificate, and money were all stolen.

The victim was taken to the hospital, where it was found that he had a memory impairment due to injuries. The patient was taken to a psychiatric hospital in Kramatorsk for treatment and rehabilitation after the attack.

The missing pensioner was found by a driver Oleksandr, who drove him to Bakhmut from the Non-Government Controlled Horlivka. It was clear that the man would not be able to return to his hometown without documents. Oleksandr could not just put up with it. To help Anatoly, he turned to the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) to restore the stolen documents, renew the pension certificate, unblock the bank card and resume pension payments.

Lawyers of the R2P Office in the city of Slovyansk Valerii Mikhiei and Kateryna Honchar started working with the case of a pensioner.

Attack, robbery and subsequent loss of memory after unsuccessful attempt to collect an honestly earned pension. The Story of Anatoliy Ivanovych

In addition, thanks to the support of the UNHCR, Anatoliy Ivanovych was provided with individual financial aid to purchase necessary medicines, clothes, food, and for the costs associated with the preparation of documents. During the New Year holidays, the man was not left alone with his problems.

During the conversation with Oleksandr, we found out that the originals of certain documents that may become the primary evidence for issuing the passport are now in his place of permanent residence in Horlivka (ed. note – NGCA). These documents must be provided to the State Migration Service of Ukraine. In addition, the man has two children: a daughter and a son, but the son refused to come to identify the father. With the daughter, we have unfortunately lost contact. The only thing we know is that she lives in Crimea (ed. note – temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine),

tells Valerii Mikhiei, a lawyer at the R2P.

During the next visit, Oleksandr, the driver who notified us about the problem, together with a woman – Anatoliy’s acquaintance, carried over the documents that were in the Non-Government Controlled Area and gave these documents to our lawyers. The woman has also said that Anatoliy’s identity could be confirmed by two women, one of whom lives in Cherkasy and the other in Svitlovodsk.

Thanks to the close cooperation of the lawyers of the Slovyansk office of the CF” Right to Protection” (R2P) with the State Migration Service in the Donetsk Region (SMS) and the Department of the Migration Service in the city of Slovyansk, it was possible to do a remote identification of Anatoliy Ivanovych.

Побиття, пограбування та подальша втрата пам’яті через бажання отримати зароблену за життя пенсію. Історія Анатолія Івановича Attack, robbery and subsequent loss of memory after unsuccessful attempt to collect an honestly earned pension. The Story of Anatoliy Ivanovych

After that, the lawyers of the Fund formed a complete package of documents and sent it to the SMS for further preparation of the passport of a citizen of Ukraine.

Now we are so glad to announce that yesterday Anatoliy Ivanovych received the long-awaited document and started the procedure of issuing a passport of a citizen of Ukraine to travel abroad! We wish him strong health and endurance! And let all obstacles and misfortunes remain in the past.

Attack, robbery and subsequent loss of memory after unsuccessful attempt to collect an honestly earned pension. The Story of Anatoliy Ivanovych

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13.01.22

For a long time, the Charitable Fund ”Right to Protection” (R2P) has been supporting communities near the contact line. Yesterday our colleagues Yevhen Maksymenko, the lawyer, and Ketevan Kazanovska, the expert on the social and political issues, took part in a meeting of the working group to determine the social needs of the population of Svitlodars’k city amalgamated territorial community (ATC).

Tetyana Yerokhina, the Chairman of the working group and the Deputy Head of Svitlodars’k City Civil-Military Administration (CMA), thanked the R2P for developing the Social Passport of Svitlodars’k ATC and for the legal aid during the reorganization of the municipal institution (Bakhmut District Territorial Center for Social Services) in the Center for Social Services of Svitlodars’k CMA.

Also during the meeting there was a discussion on:

  • the social services legal framework in the context of the amalgamated territorial communities;
  • the base principles of the working group and the on the work plan for 2022;
  • the logic of interaction of the structural departments of the Svitlodars’k CMA with the social service entities, NGOs, and CSOs in the process of determining the social needs of the population.

The legal aid is provided within the framework of the project ”Support of the amalgamated territorial communities along the contact line during the reorganization of social and administrative services under the decentralization reform”, which is implemented in the Donetsk and the Luhansk regions by the CF ”Right to Protection” (R2P) with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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10.01.22

One may not call the situation “easy” when a person is not recognized as a citizen of any country in the world, has no documents and even legal right to stay on the territory of Ukraine, despite the fact of living here for a long time. However, lawyers of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) are not afraid of any “difficult cases” and never refuse to help beneficiaries.

For the past year, the specialists of the R2P Team have helped 94 undocumented persons to apply to the State Migration Service of Ukraine for the stateless determination procedure (SDP). We still continue to work with all of them, as this is only the first step in a complex and lengthy procedure. Nevertheless, these people now can stay on the territory of Ukraine legally and at least have some documents.

Statelessness: Ukraine became the 21st country in the world and the 15th in Europe to establish a separate Stateless Determination Procedure (SDP) Без громадянства: Україна cтала 21-ю країною в світі і 15-ю — в Європі, яка має окрему процедуру визнання ОБГ

“The goal of our Project is to prevent and eliminate statelessness. In other words, applying to the SMS of Ukraine is just the beginning of a long journey that a person begins with our help. Seven of our beneficiaries have already been granted stateless status and documented by temporary residence permits in Ukraine. The next steps are to obtain a permanent residence permit and in the future – acquire Ukrainian citizenship. So we continue to work with them, “

– says Sofiia Kordonets, Manager of the R2P Project “Legal assistance to stateless persons in Ukraine”.

Consideration of an application for stateless status lasts 6 months and can be extended up to 12 months. The result should be the granting or denial of a status.

In Ukraine, the procedure is relatively new (the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers came into force only in April 2021), so as of now there were no precedents of refusals, as well as cases of fines for illegal stay in Ukraine.

status Як звернутися з заявою про визнання особою без громадянства?

In total, by the end of 2021, 728 applications for recognition as stateless persons were received by the State Migration Service within Ukraine.

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06.01.22

Winter Holidays Season is full of miracles! And sometimes, the specialists of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) become the ones who make it happen. One of such miracles is the story we will tell you today. It is the story of Borys, who received his first passport as a citizen of Ukraine at the age of 25.

Without family and documents

Borys was born and raised in Crimea, Ukraine. When the boy was 16 years old, his parents decided to live apart. As a result, the father and son (Borys) moved to the Poltava region to work and live. The father planned to document his son with a Ukrainian passport for the first time.

However, it happened so that at the end of April 2013, the father suddenly died, leaving the boy without documents and the opportunity to return to his mother, sister, and brother in Crimea.

Now Borys was on his own with all the life problems. He repeatedly applied to the State Migration Service to obtain a passport of a citizen of Ukraine, but he was denied admission, citing the fact that it is extremely difficult to establish his identity because he spent all his life in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the temporarily occupied territory. The State Migration Service of Ukraine demanded the presence of the mother, who flatly refused to come. And there were also some questions about his citizenship…

The New Life

During this time, the boy grew up, moved to Kharkiv, where he found a job, fell in love, and began to live as a married person with his beloved girl (ed. note – unofficially, civil marriage, since he had no documents). Borys decided to apply to the State Migration Service again. The Kholodnohirsky branch of the State Migration Service in Kharkiv recommended Borys to apply to the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P).

After a long conversation with a beneficiary, the lawyer of the Fund made several inquiries, prepared all the necessary documents. Together with Borys our colleague found and prepared witnesses for the identification procedure, identified the possibility, and jointly with Maria Kovalenko, the Acting Head of the Kholodnohirsky Department of the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) in Kharkiv, confirmed that Borys belonged to Ukraine.

Now we just have to wait for the approval of the Head Departments of the SMSU in the Kharkiv region.

Passport: the best New Year gift

Meanwhile, Borys became a father of a son! But he dreamed of being a father not just biologically, but officially, according to the law.

And then – a miracle happened: a few days after the birth of the baby Borys received his first passport! His dream became real.

Новорічне диво для Бориса: отримати паспорт та офіційно стати батьком

Congratulating the young man on such a significant and pleasant change in his life, Oksana Zhelanova, a lawyer at the R2P, explained where and how young parents can register their son’s birth and how Borys can be registered as a child’s father since he is now a citizen of Ukraine.

The next day, Borys happily told that the couple successfully registered the birth of a son and received a birth certificate.

The CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) wishes the young family health, wealth, and happiness. And to all of us we wish to believe in miracles – they actually happen!

At the same time, we express our sincere gratitude to the staff of the Kholodnohirsky Department of the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region for indifference and constant readiness to help people. We also thank the leadership of the SMSU in the Kharkiv region for their high competence and wise personnel policy.

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05.01.22

One of the main areas of work of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) is legal assistance to asylum seekers and refugees.

These people leave their country, home, and sometimes relatives not because of their own free will, but due to persecution for political, religious, and other reasons enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention.

They hope for help, but the road to recognition as a refugee in Ukraine is usually long and thorny.

Feraz (name changed), an Iraqi national, applied to the State Migration Service of Ukraine for refugee status, but soon had to prove the right for it in court. According to the Migration Service, the plaintiff simply sought to legalize his stay in Ukraine, and also could not prove the fact of religion change and threat to his life.

Here is what Feraz says about his reasons for appeal:

«I cannot return to Iraq because I am in danger there. In July 2014, I passed the rite of baptism in Ukraine. I have converted to Christianity. I currently attend a Protestant church in Kyiv. Every Sunday I also preach in church with other people. Because I changed my religion from Muslim to Christian, my relatives and the community in which I lived threatened to persecute and kill me. According to Islamic law, a person who changes his religion must be killed in the name of the Islamic God. I cannot return to Iraq because I am in danger of dying there.» 

– Feraz tells.

Olena Kalashnyk, a senior lawyer and advocate at the R2P, took up Feraz’s case:

Overview of the practice of the Supreme Court in disputes concerning the recognition of persons as refugees or in need of the complementary protection (2018-2021) Огляд практики Верховного Суду у спорах щодо визнання осіб біженцями або такими, що потребують додаткового захисту (за період з 2018 по 2021)

«An asylum seeker appealed to the administrative court. Our lawyers helped gather the necessary evidence: information about the country of origin from internationally recognized sources, a baptismal certificate and photo evidence, the testimony of the pastor of his church, letters of support, and more. The court of first instance dismissed the claim, but the appellate court overturned its decision and ruled in favor of the plaintiff.»

– Olena tells.

Now Feraz has been granted refugee status in Ukraine and can finally start making his life and planning for the future while leaving all the fears in the past.

Read more about the legal practice in favor of asylum seekers and refugees in the review (in Ukrainian) from the National Bar Association of Ukraine and the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P).

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28.12.21

In the first 10 months of 2021, the police recorded more than 1,200 complaints of domestic violence in the Slavic community. 90% of them were confirmed, and law enforcement officers took procedural actions against the perpetrators in accordance with current legislation.

Given the context of the armed conflict and the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of domestic violence cases in Ukraine is growing disproportionately every year.

Фонд запускає новий проєкт з протидії домашньому насильству

In every third situation of domestic violence, children who receive a negative psychological impact from this phenomenon become victims of active actions or witnesses.

Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) with the support of the GIZ CPS Civil Peace Service, launched a pilot project in December 2021 in Slovyansk, Mutual Respect: Piloting School Policy to Combat Domestic Violence. This project aims to overcome harmful social and cultural norms that tolerate violence against others. another goal is to create a positive climate in schools as a factor of stability in areas of armed conflict.

Фонд запускає новий проєкт з протидії домашньому насильству

On December 22, 2021, the project coordinator Valery Mikhei gave a presentation to the administration and teachers of Slovyansk Secondary School No. 12. The school administration thanked for the indifference to this issue and expressed a desire to cooperate in the future.

The project “Mutual Respect: Piloting School Policies to Combat Domestic Violence” is implemented with the support of the German Federal Government within the framework of the Civic Peace Service program.

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24.12.21

As of now, the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) implements 5 dialogue projects and is actively involved in peacebuilding initiatives.

We are proud that the experts of our team took part in the development of the Conceptual Framework for Peacebuilding Policy in Ukraine. This document is the basis for the strategy of the Center for Peacebuilding.

On December 22, representatives of the R2P Nadiya Kovalchuk, Natalia Proskurenko, and Oleksandr Gviazdovskyi met with the Acting Director of the newly established Ukrainian National Center for Peacebuilding (UNCP) Oleksandr Smyrnov. The formats of partnership and the possibility of future cooperation were discussed at the meeting. They agreed to work together on priority issues of dialogue and peacebuilding.

The public sector and civil society worked together to create the Conceptual Framework for Peacebuilding Policy in Ukraine, represented by more than 200 experts and specialists, including human rights activists, participants of the religious initiatives, veterans, women’s organizations, as well as journalists.

It should be noted that the document on the vision of peacebuilding was written for the first time in Ukraine based on proposals from civil society.

In addition, for the first time, civil society organizations have the opportunity to influence the content of the highest priority areas of the Ministry for Reintegration and UNCP in the field of peacebuilding.

More about the Center for Peacebuilding

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