Right to Protection is an NGO dedicatedto protecting the rights of asylum seekers, refugees, stateless andundocumented persons, as well as internally displaced and conflict affected persons.
Category: Projects implemented
“I still can’t believe it’s all real,”
– our beneficiary said when she finally received her dream birthday present – a passport of a citizen of Ukraine.
Liuba is 37 years old. She was born and raised in a large family of Roma ethnicity. The family lived in hardships and often moved from place to place, later settling in a permanent residence in the Novovodolazk district of Kharkiv region. When Lyuba grew up, she was married in accordance with Roma tradition. The woman became stateless because her parents did not deal with the documents issue. Liuba gave birth to five children, but the two older ones were taken away from the woman due to lack of documents.
The woman’s plans for life changed dramatically when her parents’ house suddenly burned down. Unable to withstand such a blow, Liuba’s father died of a heart attack. She was forced to return to the Kharkiv region to be able to support her mother. All this time Liuba tried to get a passport and repeatedly applied to the local “passport office”, but to no success.
Our colleagues learned about Liuba’s story from the partner organization Depol Ukraine Charity Foundation. Their representatives appealed to the Kharkiv office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation to help the woman obtain a passport.
Our Foundation lawyer made a number of inquiries to the state institutions to gather all the necessary documents to confirm Liuba’s citizenship. Under the current law, a woman’s nationality depended on the place of residence of her and / or her parents. In order to prove the fact that the family lived in their native village in 1991, a request was made to the village council.
After that, the citizenship of Liuba’s parents was confirmed and it was agreed with the leadership of the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region to prove the personality of Liuba with the help of only one witness. And it was the woman’s sister Raya, who came from the Kirovohrad region with a 3 month-old child to help her sister with citizenship. However, discrepancies were found in the sisters’ birth certificates, which the lawyer had to correct. Thanks to the help of employees of the Kholodnohirs’kyy district of the State Register of the Acts of a Civil Status in Kharkiv the documents were processed as soon as possible.
In the end, the State Migration Service of Ukraine in Kharkiv region issued a final positive decision on the identification of Liuba, as well as issued the passport of a citizen of Ukraine for the first time in her life. In fact, on the eve of her 38th birthday, Liuba’s most cherished dream – to receive the passport finally came true.
Now it’s time for the Liuba’s children and her youngest sister (in whose case the Kharkiv Court of Appeal issued a positive decision) to receive the documents. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.
On November 18 Right to Protection Charitable Foundation with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe Program organized an event in the format of an online consultation “How can amalgamated territorial communities (hromadas) receive financial assistance (subvention) from the state to provide housing for internally displaced persons?”
The event was attended by representatives of 50 united territorial communities of Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia regions. During the consultation, the existing opportunities for international technical assistance for socio-economic development of united territorial communities in Ukraine in above mentioned regions were also discussed.
As been noted by Myroslava Sushchenko, the Head of the offices of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation in Dnipro and Zaporizhia, decided to organize this consultation event for the members of amalgamated hromadas, who have repeatedly approached our Foundation’s specialists for information on existing financial opportunities to provide housing for IDPs, which exist primarily through the receipt of a subvention from the state to local budgets.
SPEAKERS AND TOPICS
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 about the procedure and conditions for providing a subvention from the state budget to local budgets.
Myroslava Sushchenko spoke on how to develop and approve the Local Targeted Program for Housing for IDPs and on the procedure for establishing a temporary housing fund, providing it for the use of IDPs, purchasing apartments on the secondary market and providing migrants with housing on financial leasing terms.
Vartan Muradyan, a field adviser at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Slovyansk told about their work.
Markiyan Zhelyak, Public Engagement Specialist of the Emergency Loan Program for Ukraine’s Reconstruction Program, spoke in detail about the achievements and results of implemented projects in Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia oblasts, as well as future potential UNDP projects.
Anna Aladzhalyan, Chief Community Development Consultant of the Eastern Regional Office of the Ukrainian Social Investment Fund introduced the participants to the projects and activities of the USIF.
“Every amalgamated hromada has the opportunity to receive financial assistance from the state to purchase housing for IDPs. The main thing here is to set the right priorities, calculate your own strengths and write projects in proportion to the community’s capabilities in order to receive the appropriate subvention. For example, this year 10 apartments in Kramatorsk, 8 in Pokrovsk, and 1 house in Primorsk, Zaporizhia Oblast, were purchased at the expense of the subvention. It may be just one house, but it is still a step towards solving the housing problem of at least one socially vulnerable family of migrants. I urge communities to participate in the competition for a state subvention for socio-economic development of the territories, ”
This guide provides an extensive overview of existing state and local housing programs in the housing sector. It will be useful for local governments, as it will allow them to analyze existing practices in the context of housing policy in all regions of Ukraine.
A collection of model documents that includes various options and examples of legal regulation for the provision of IDPs’ housing rights. The collection was designed to facilitate the development of an appropriate documentation framework for communities that intend to implement programs to help address the housing problems of migrants.
For almost five months now, the teams of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation have been involved in the implementation of the project «Prevention of the spread and response to COVID-19 in areas in eastern Ukraine affected by the conflict». Together with partners from the 3P Consortium and with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), we are working to raise awareness of the coronavirus situation and monitor public protection.
Physicians and patients have repeatedly pointed to significant delays in obtaining test results (PCR). The wait could be up to seven days, and sometimes longer. This situation not only undermines the measures to effectively control the spread of infection, because the establishment of contacts begins only after confirmation of the diagnosis, but also deprives the hospitalized of proper treatment. In addition, such delays may also contribute to the spread of the virus among patients and medical staff, given that it is not always possible to isolate patients with suspicion from each other and not all of them end up in specialized medical facilities for coronavirus treatment. Therefore, because of the rapid spread of coronavirus infection in the region, in October we decided to investigate the situation with PCR testing.
From the statistical data it can be seen that the problem mostly concerns the Donetsk region, where the balance of untested samples on October 23 reached the mark of 6490 units. As of November 4, this figure was reduced to 2,425. The average daily capacity of all laboratories involved in October was about 1,393, including state and municipal – 937, while the average revenue – 1,295. 362 of them were in the regional laboratory center, and the last number of the all remaining was only 47.
In terms of the detection rate, both oblasts are very far from the 5% set by the World Health Organization (WHO): 30% for Donetsk oblast and 22% for Luhansk oblast. This can usually indicate not only the prevalence of the virus in the general population, but also selective testing, which may not cover many people with mild symptoms and asymptomatic disease.
One of the indicators that allows us to estimate the coverage of testing is the number of tests per 100,000 population. It is difficult to establish the exact population of the government-controlled territory of Ukraine (GCTU) in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, but the approximate number can be calculated by subtracting the number of people living in the uncontrolled territory (data from so-called authorities) from the total population of the oblasts. So, we come to 71 per 100,000 in Luhansk region and 75 – in Donetsk. A comparison with the indicators of neighboring countries (see table below) and the national indicator indicates that even taking into account the population, the number of tests performed is too small.
What can be done?
One of the first suggestions / recommendations that comes to mind is to open the new laboratories. According to the Donetsk Regional State Administration’s health department, the region needs at least four more such facilities. It is estimated that the cost of re-equipping the laboratory alone can reach several million hryvnias (1, 2, 3). In addition, it is necessary to train staff. Under favorable circumstances, the time required to open a laboratory can be approximately 2-3 months.
Among the more immediate proposals put forward by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine (MOH) were:
Use priority systems, which did not change the situation significantly, because among the 2,425 untested samples in Donetsk laboratories, 1,862 were of the first degree of priority.
Redirect to less busy labs. Used repeatedly. Although, given the rapid spread of coronavirus, chronic under-testing at the national level and the fact that the residue problem still remains, this option is clearly not a reliable solution.
Test less. The Ministry of Health tried to reduce the workload of laboratories by limiting testing to three groups of people: suspected disease, confirmed diagnosis, and contact persons with symptoms. Thus, the short-term result was proposed to be achieved through a long-term containment strategy.
Involve private laboratories. Almost 100 million hryvnias were allocated for this. On the most productive day in October, 1950 samples were processed in the Donetsk region, 54% of them by private laboratories. At today’s commercial rates, the allocated funds could be enough for three months of such cooperation, but this amount is allocated for the whole country. In addition, testing in private laboratories costs more than in public and communal ones. So, in the long run, it is unclear to what extent the private sector will be able to meet the needs, whether there will be enough money for it and whether it is the optimal investment.
Use the new rapid antigen tests recommended by the WHO. Their accuracy is expected to be comparable to PCR testing. The Ministry of Health assures that 800,000 will be purchased and delivered in the near future. However, so far such tests are available only in private laboratories at a price of 800 UAH.
Meanwhile, the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation decided to focus on the needs of existing institutions and find out how to increase their capacity. Looking at the reporting of laboratories, the most obvious is the continuation of full-scale work on weekends and holidays, when the number of processed samples is significantly reduced or drops to zero. Although the implementation of this decision may be complicated by the lack of the required number of qualified personnel. So our monitors contacted the labs directly to find out how to increase capacity (see average and maximum power for 7 days on November 4).
As it turned out, many employees at the Luhansk Laboratory Center are currently simply ill. Mariupol City Hospital № 4 may well perform up to 600 tests per day, depending on the needs of the city, given that last week almost 260 tests were performed per day, it turns out that there was no special need. At the same time, in the newest Kramatorsk laboratory there is often a shortage of electricity.
In general, the reserves to increase capacity include:
Process automation. This is expected to give the largest increase in the number of analyzes performed. In the Toretsk branch of the regional laboratory center (RLC), for example, an automatic sample preparation station (ASPS) was installed, which will soon allow up to 270 tests per day. ASPS in the Mariupol branch of RLC has failed, in case of its restoration productivity can be doubled. Installing its own ASPS in the Kramatorsk branch of the RLC could increase the number of tests per day to 400.
Introduction of an automated reporting system. It is currently being implemented only in the laboratory of the Donetsk Regional Center for AIDS Prevention and Control. The Mariupol and Kramatorsk branches of the RLC and the laboratory of the Mariupol City Hospital № 4 (LMCH) emphasized that currently manual data entry into a computer takes a long time.
Staffing and organization of the work process. All laboratories, except LMCH, need more specialists, usually biologists, bacteriologists and immunologists. In the Mariupol branch of the RLC there is an opportunity to arrange an additional job, which requires an increase in staff by 3 people. The Toretsk branch of the RLC pointed out the overcrowding of its two specialists, and the expansion of the staff would make it possible to organize work in two shifts. At the State Securities Commission, specialists are not only forced to work overtime, but also do not yet receive additional payments for the risks of working with COVID-19, so it is difficult to motivate them to work in two shifts.
The voiced needs of laboratories can be found in the table below.
This study was made possible by the significant support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Responsibility for the content rests on the Right to Protection and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
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Right to Protection Charitable Foundation brings your attention to our report «CROSSING THE CONTACT LINE: October 2020 Snapshot», prepared on the basis of data collected during the monitoring of the situation at the demarcation line. More data on the following topic.
General trends and dynamics
During the whole month, it was possible to cross the demarcation line only through two control checkpoints (hereinafter – CC). This led to a significant reduction in the number of crossings compared to the period before the introduction of quarantine restrictions. The number of crossings decreased by ≈77% in October compared to September, due to the closure of the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint: ≈20,000 and 86,000 crossings, respectively;
From September 30 to October 4, the crossing was temporarily suspended at the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint in the Luhansk region due to large-scale forest fires. As a result of the fire at the CC on September 30 and October 1, the first aid post and the waiting areas at the checkpoint were partially damaged. All beneficiaries waiting to cross the demarcation line were evacuated in a timely manner;
On October 13, the Special Forces Operation Command (further – SFO) announced that they would temporarily close the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint between October 16 and 31 due to the increasingly rapid spread of COVID-19 in the Luhansk region. Since the closure of the following checkpoint until the end of October, only about 200 people have received permission from the SFO to cross the demarcation line towards the government controlled territories of Ukraine (further – CTU);
The day after the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint closed, people gathered to cross the demarcation line towards the uncontrolled territory of Ukraine (further – UCTU): in many cases, people claimed that they had not been informed about the closure of the checkpoint. Some people stayed overnight at the checkpoint, waiting to be able to cross the demarcation line towards the UCTU because they were not provided with housing. In addition, there were many elderly people over the age of 80;
On October 28, the SFO Command announced that the closure of the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint would last until November 15;
From October 5 to 15, 3,574 vulnerable elderly people received assistance in transportation to the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint from the NGO Proliska.
The report contains information collected by the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation as part of a survey, conducted regularly since June 2017. CCs are located in Donetsk (Mayorske, Maryinka, Hnutove and Novotroitske) and Luhansk (Stanytsia Luhanska) regions. 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 Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine» implemented by the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The purpose of this survey is to find out the reasons, conditions and risks that accompany the crossing of the line of contact through the control checkpoints. The information gathered during the survey will help identify needs, gaps and trends, as well as provide an evidence base for advocacy activities.
On November 10, 2020, the Committee hearings on the problem of flooding of mines and pollution of drinking water in Donetsk and Luhansk regions were held.
The discussion was conducted in the format of a video conference, at the level of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Environmental Policy and Nature Management. Deputies of the Parliament, representatives of the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, the Ministry of Defense, the State Ecological Inspectorate, the Ministry of Energy, the State Agency for Water Resources, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, the State Service of Geology and Subsoil, Donetsk and Luhansk Regional Administrations NSDC, scientific, international and public organizations all joined the event.
«The problem of mines flooding in Donbass did not appear yesterday. Throughout the years of conflict, Ukraine has suffered from the irresponsible actions of the occupying authorities in the uncontrolled territory, as a result of which the ecosystem in eastern Ukraine is now at risk of ecological catastrophe. Experts and civic activists are constantly trying to draw the authorities’ attention to this problem. Over the last year, we have seen some progress in this direction. Thanks to the joint efforts of the People’s Deputy of Ukraine Lesya Vasylenko and the public, the problematic issues were raised and voiced at the level of the profile committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. We hope this will be the first step in addressing this important issue and by working together we will avoid an environmental catastrophe,»
– commented the Legal Analyst of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation Anastasiia Bondarenko, who also took part in the Committee hearings.
As we mentioned before, on October 29, 2020, a round table «Risks and protection: legislation and practice» was held, where the White Paper was presented – an analytical document developed by experts from the 3P Consortium, which offers practical recommendations for public authorities for refinements and additions to the Unified State Civil Protection System of Ukraine. The hearings of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Environmental Policy and Nature Management became a logical continuation and beginning of the practical implementation of the action plan to respond to the environmental problem in the region. The next step will be to bring the issue to a parliamentary hearing.
* UPD: as of 18/11/2020, the full two-hour version of the conference is missing on YouTube, an excerpt with Ms. Anastasiia’s report is available
The most effective way to solve struggles in a conflict world is to start dialogues between all sides. It is always a difficult and time-consuming process, but in the long run it allows consensus to be reached.
Recently, the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation launched an extremely important Dialogues project. With the participation of professional facilitators (moderators), participants discuss various aspects of the environmental situation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, such as flooding of mines, deterioration of soils, mine gas emissions, etc.
So far, six dialogues have taken place, and each such meeting helps people on both sides of the line not only to listen but also to hear each other to solve common problems.
«I am convinced that only inclusive dialogue can lead to lasting peace. Involving as many parties as possible in the reconciliation process will allow hearing and taking into account the views of people with different and even polar views on the situation, which is essential for stable social relations»,
– said project coordinator at Right to Protection CF Natalia Proskurenko.
Apart from the formal agreements, which are conducted with the participation of world political players, there are a number of other dialogue initiatives aimed at finding a solution to the situation with the conflict in Donbas. After all, being in their information bubble, politicians sometimes lose touch with ordinary people and do not feel their needs, and pressing issues often disappear from the agenda of high-level negotiations. Informal peacekeeping dialogues exist to create links between citizens with varying degrees of influence on the processes taking place in the country.
Environmental problems are almost always postponed. If left without attention those can have very tangible consequences. Such are the risks in the conflict-affected Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Closing and flooding of mines in the territory controlled and not controlled by the government of Ukraine can pose a serious danger to water bodies, soils and air, as well as to the health of local residents.
The participants of our dialogue project who are the experts in the field of ecology are trying to develop recommendations for joint action on both sides of the line of demarcation, in order to prevent the environmental catastrophe.
During the dialogues, environmental experts noted:
«For a long time, the development of our country has been characterized by unbalanced consumption of natural resources and with low priority of environmental issues. The root cause of Ukraine’s problems is the predominance of energy and resource intensive industries that have a negative impact on the environment. Coal mining regions of Ukraine have a high rate of industrial facilities: mining and processing, metallurgy, energy, chemicals, etc. These areas are also the most densely populated. Approximately 20% of the country’s population lives in the areas where mining operations are carried out, and the volume of housing construction in recent years has reached 30%. Intensive and long-term use of mineral resources in the coal basins of Ukraine has led to significant changes in the environment. The main factors of influence are: high concentration of mining companies in a small area, high level of production and lack of funding. The massive and almost simultaneous closure of coal mines and the destruction of the relevant infrastructure associated with the conflict have significantly upset the ecological balance, in turn leading to dangerous environmental changes in an area of almost 30,000 km2. The main technical and environmental problems are: destruction of the underlying surface, soils and vegetation as a result of explosions and the use of military equipment; flooding of mines and the surrounding area and the possibility of outflow of mineralized mine water to the surface with the formation of flooded areas; groundwater pollution; almost complete cessation of treatment facilities and damage to radioactive and toxic waste storage facilities; pollution of the atmosphere and lithosphere by chemical products, which are formed as a result of ammunition explosions. As a result of the ongoing conflict in large areas of Eastern Ukraine, there is no practical possibility of conducting ecological monitoring of techno-ecosystems of industrial complexes of coal mining enterprises. Now Donbas is an anomalous region with high chance of mass flooding of the mines (up to 70%), which accelerated with the beginning of the armed conflict in 2014, is in a state of regional mostly uncontrolled rise of groundwater levels, subsidence and deterioration of environmental parameters».
How to reduce the chances of emergency situations in Eastern Ukraine?
The 3P Consortium knows how. Being established in 2019 specifically for this purpose by the group of Ukrainian and international non-governmental organizations: ACTED, IMPACT Initiatives, Right to Protection Charitable Foundation, Danish, Austrian and Ukrainian Red Cross, 3P works everyday to reduce environmental and man-made risks and to prevent emergencies. Project is funded by the European Union within the framework of Disaster Risk Reduction in Eastern Ukraine project
It is high time to talk about the achievements of the Consortium in the third quarter of 2020!
On October 30, 2020 in Chernihiv, Ukraine, Right to Protection Charitable Foundation held a workshop «Common action of public authorities, legal aid centers and the public sector in support of asylum seekers in Ukraine»
Event was attended by the representatives of the State Migration Service of Ukraine and the Department of the State Migration Service in Chernihiv Oblast, the State Border Guard Service, the Chernihiv City Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid, the Regional Center for Free Secondary Legal Aid in the Chernihiv Region, the Chernihiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office, and the Chernihiv Temporary Holding Facility as well as the Ripky District Court of Chernihiv Region.
During the Discussion such issues were spoken out:
Peculiarities of interaction of public authorities with the secondary free legal aid centers and human rights organizations in cases for asylum seekers, which are located in temporary holding facilities for foreigners during the quarantine operation;
difficulties for governmental institutions in the process of processing the cases of asylum seekers;
The ways to solve the existing problems.
The seminar was held in a mixed format – most participants were physically present on the event, some joined through the use of videoconferencing tools, which became a new and interesting practice for participants. They were actively involved in the discussion.
According to Oleksandra Lukyanenko, a lawyer at Right to Protection Charitable Foundation, such meetings are a very important tool for establishing joint action with public authorities, free legal aid centers and human rights organizations in our common sphere of providing aid to the asylum seekers in Ukraine.
Project Manager, Lawyer of the Charitable Foundation Oleksandra Zhurko noted that such workshops are useful as they provide an opportunity to meet directly with all parties, as everyone are able to get answers to their questions in the shortest time possible.
On October 29, within the framework of the project for the integration of refugees, Right to Protection Charity Foundation organized an online training with experts from various businesses.
The purpose of the event was to acquaint the beneficiaries with business representatives, to give practical advice. It was held in the format of group coaching in 4 business areas at once: restaurant business, project management, translations and real estate.
Mashraf Khaidarov, owner of Mazza_cafe_halal, spoke about his successful experience of integration into society and doing business in Ukraine. Mashraf is a refugee from Tajikistan and has the status of a person with protection. He managed to win a grant from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) program, thanks to which he was able to open a small business – cheburechnaya (Kavkaz self-service type of small cafe – edit. note).
«In the business plan, I wrote everything down to the smallest details: location, product, miscalculations to every cent. And most importantly – for whom I will do it, who is my client. This business grant helped me to start, was a perfect basis, and then I began to collect money and plan a larger-scale business»,
– Mashraf mentioned during his speech.
In his opinion, Ukraine is a favorable country for doing business. During the quarantine period, Mazza_cafe_halal were able to increase their profits and open 2 new points.
Igor Bilyk, Project Manager Coordinator at SoftServe IT company gave practical recommendations on how one can improve their life and systematize the workflow by using project management tools.
«The project manager needs to consider a large number of parameters in order to arrive at the desired goal. As in life, in project management it is necessary to be responsible, proactive, energetic, analyzing»,
– Igor shared.
Igor Zagrebnoy, CEO at i-translation.pro and Money Coach spoke about how one can make good money as a freelance translator.
«Nobody wants a cheap translation, everyone wants a high-quality and fast one,»
– says Igor
Speaker advises to look for clients all the time, everywhere, even when one just starts their own business. The expert also emphasized that it is important to have your own specialization and motivated the participants of the event:
«Taking absolutely all the orders you get is just not profitable. … The law of the Universe is: the client whom you can serve a quality product once will then always buy from you!»
– Igor said.
Elena Zvonareva, CEO at the Kub Real Estate Agency and a Business Coach also shared her experience.
«You can master the profession of a realtor without special education. In this sphere, recommendations are important, not certificates. The client always goes to the personality of the realtor, or to the atmosphere of the agency, and not to pieces of paper»
– Elena shared.
The Right to Protection Charity Foundation thanks the speakers and companies who supported the event, thereby showing a high level of openness and corporate social responsibility!