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22.01.21

20 million UAH in 2020 and 114 million UAH in 2021 were included in the state budget to pay compensation to people whose property was destroyed as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Among those who have been compensated are nine clients of the Right to Protection CF.

Decisions on the compensation payments are made by specially created commissions. They include representatives of the regional state administration and non-governmental organizations. Eight meetings of such commissions took place in December: three in Luhansk oblast and five in Donetsk oblast. According to the results of these meetings, compensation was approved in 33 cases in Luhansk region and 47 in Donetsk region.

The biggest obstacle to obtain compensation was the problem with ownership documents. Many people required legal consultation on this matter. In addition, in order to receive compensation, a person must relinquish ownership of the destroyed housing, while victims often did not want to do so due to their distrust of state institutions, which resulted in refusal to participate in the compensation procedure.

In order to monitor the work of local commissions, collect and transmit data to the regional housing and community services department and to the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, control bodies are established at the level of district councils, such as the Volnovakha Regional State Administration. District commissions provide assistance to regional and national authorities only if the latter do not have the opportunity to apply to local commissions.

For security reasons, the commissions were unable to visit some districts of Pivdenny, Marinka, Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, Opytne, Vodyany, Pisky, Taramchuk and Berezovo, Donetsk region, as well as some districts of Zolote-4, Luhansk region, to inspect the destroyed housing. In some cases, such as Marinka, the Joint Forces Operations (JFO) management refused to allow the inspection, while in other cases, such as Berezovo, a decision by the Joint Forces Commander is still awaited.


In December, lawyers of the Right to Protection CF worked on 49 court cases concerning access to adequate housing, land, and property. 7 cases were positively resolved by the courts of first instance and one case – negatively, 7 positive decisions came into force. In one (previously negative – ed. note) case, after successful review in the Court of Appeal it also entered into force. Another 36 cases are still being heard in the courts of first instance, 4 cases – in the courts of appeal.

compensation housing destroyed

In addition to this, in December 2020, the team of R2P accompanied 54 strategic lawsuits: 39 cases of compensation for destroyed and damaged housing in national courts, 14 cases in the ECtHR and one case for compensation for a house that was destroyed in fires.

33 cases were heard in the courts of first instance and one decision was in favor of our beneficiary. Courts of first instance considered two more cases on enforcement of decisions by the Court of Appeal on the compensation for destroyed housing. Three cases were heard in the Courts of Appeal, and two of them were upheld. 2 cases are being considered by the Supreme Court. Another 14 cases are considered in the European Court of Human Rights. In nine of them, the complaints were based on the fact that the partial compensation (UAH 30,000 – 100,000) awarded by the Supreme Court was inadequate and that the domestic courts had not protected the plaintiff’s property rights. Three cases were initiated regarding the lack of access to property in the temporarily occupied territory.

21.01.21

When considering a case in court, we always hope for the rule of law, justice, but, unfortunately, this is not always the case. This happened to our beneficiary whose money was confiscated right at the Entry-Exit Checkpoint (EECP) for exceeding the established limit. Two court instances, numerous petitions and almost six months of court battles – and all of this just to help people return their funds for cancer treatment…

Our beneficiary is a man, a citizen of Ukraine.  He lives with his wife and 4 children in Khartsyzsk, which is in the temporarily occupied territory. Man was shocked to learn that his wife was diagnosed with cancer. At first she was operated in Donetsk and then she went for further treatment to Azerbaijan. After discharge from the hospital, the woman was advised to undergo therapeutic radiological treatment in the city of Dnipro as there were no conditions or equipment for further treatment in the temporarily occupied territories.

Due to the impossibility of free crossing of the contact line due to quarantine restrictions, a written invitation was issued by a specialized hospital in Dnipro. In addition, it was stated that the woman would be accompanied by her husband and her brother, as she could not travel on her own. Therefore, permission to cross the contact line was obtained, the money was collected and so it was high time to move for the treatment to Dnipro, Ukraine.

“Stop right there! Cancer will wait…”

On the 10th of August 2020, a family of three left Khartsyzsk and moved in the direction of Novotroitske Entry-Exit Checkpoint to get to the Government Controlled Area. They had the entire amount of money for treatment in the car. The total did not exceed the allowed limit for 3 people.

NOVOTROITSKE EECP MONEY TO TREAT CANCER CONFISCATED

Since they were traveling together, the money were in the bag of the husband (our beneficiary – ed. note). But then when they arrived at the EECP their car, documents and bags were inspected.  Our beneficiary showed the entire amount of money and documents from the hospital, which confirmed the purpose of the trip. But that didn’t help: an employee of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine drew up a report on an administrative offense for the “illegal transfer of funds in excess of the established limit”. Employee of the SFSU refused an explanation that the amount was for all three people in the car, that the family is going to the Dnipro for complex treatment.

In result, all the money was confiscated. According to the family, they were left with only 250 UAH. They had to urgently borrow money from their acquaintances and then go to Dnipro. Thanks to caring people and friends, they managed to raise the required sum of money.

Monitors of the Right to Protection CF witnessed the family’s story at the EECP and advised them to apply to the organization’s office to protect their rights.

Judicial Battles

Woman and her brother soon visited the office of the Right to Protection CF in Dnipro. They told about the incident in all details and provided the medical documents. Our colleagues have made numerous legal inquiries and collected all the documents necessary to protect their interests in court.

«During the review of the case materials, an important fact was revealed. The control coupon issued at the EECP entrance was corrected.  The number “3”, which indicated the number of people in the car, was corrected to “1”.  Someone deliberately tried to change the fact to make it look as if our beneficiary was trying to enter the Checkpoint on his own. The report on the administrative offense also stated that the client was moving from the temporarily occupied territory in a car alone,»

explained Vyacheslav Stasiuk, lawyer at the Dnipro office of the Right to Protection CF.
Court of Appeal of the Donetsk region in the city of Mariupol

Our lawyer then prepared a written request to close the case due to the lack of corpus delicti, because the client crossed the contact line while being accompanied by his wife and her brother, money was shared among all of them and the amount did not exceed the limit for 3 people.

However, the city court found our beneficiary guilty of violating the provisions of Part 1 of Article 204-3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, imposed a fine and confiscated the family’s confiscated funds.

After reviewing the text of the decision, the lawyer prepared an appeal and stressed that there was clear evidence of the client’s innocence. On January 18, 2021, a regular session of the Court of Appeal of the Donetsk region in the city of Mariupol took place.

Two monitors of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation were invited to testify in court, as they have communicated directly with all three family members during their crossing on August 10, 2020.

The fact that there were three people in the car, and not one, as stated in the coupon was proved and taken into account by the judge.

«We went through two court instances, the first one, where a negative decision was made, and the second one – our appeal, which corrected the judicial error of the court of first instance.  The decision of the court of first instance was canceled and the proceedings were closed due to the absence of an administrative offense in the client’s actions,»

– commented Serhiy Halemsky, a lawyer at the Mariupol office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation.

The Court of Appeal found that the client had been unjustifiably fined and ordered to return all the confiscated money.

11.01.21

From birth Leonid lived in Ukraine. In the 1990s, he lost the passport of a citizen of the USSR, the only passport he had at that moment. Due to lack of need, the man never thought about renewing the documents and getting a Ukrainian passport in time.

But one day everything changed. In 2019 Leonid was given a disappointing diagnosis and required urgent surgery and treatment, which are impossible without documents. The man applied to the migration service for a passport of a citizen of Ukraine. In result of the inspection, he was denied on the grounds that his citizenship could not be established. Leonid was advised to apply to the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation for legal assistance.

The lawyer of our Foundation made several inquiries, prepared and submitted an application to the court to establish the fact of Leonid’s residence on the territory of Ukraine from the period of independence. As a result of a difficult trial, the fact of residence was established by the decision of the Leninsky District Court of Kharkiv.  In September 2020. After all the necessary documents were collected the procedure for Leonid’s citizenship of Ukraine was started.

On 1-st of December, Leonid received a certificate of registration as a citizen of Ukraine.  Immediately then, he submitted an application to obtain a passport of a citizen of Ukraine to the Kholodnohirsky Regional Department of the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) in Kharkiv region.

Thanks to the cooperation of the SMSU with the Right to Protection CF, as well as the great job done by the Migration Service staff, Leonid came into the New Year 2021 in a new status of a citizen of Ukraine. Now he can finally receive proper treatment, open his own bank account, exercise his civil and political rights, same as everyone else. 

Паспорт на Новий рік New Year Passport

As Leonid said, this was the best New Year gift for him:

«For a moment I felt completely desperate. I was prepared to live the rest of my life without a passport, although in reality I dreamed of receiving it one day. New Year is a magic time when all dreams come true! I believed in a miracle again!»


Recently we told the story of our another beneficiary Pavlo who was in a similar situation and had to live 27 years without a legal identity.

05.01.21

Back in the days Mykhailo had to flee persecution from Tajikistan. Nowadays he runs a successful business in the cities of Irpin and Bucha (Kyiv Region) – the Mazza_cafe_halal.

These cafes specialize in traditional Eastern cuisine. Here everyone can enjoy pilaf, chebureks, doner kebabs and other famous delicacies.

Mazza_cafe_halal - a successful business

His success in business is the result of hard work and constant development. According to Mykhailo, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) business grant helped him to get a kickstart.

Earlier, Mykhailo joined the Right to Protection CF training for beneficiaries «How to make money and find yourself in Ukraine», where he shared his experience of successful integration and on starting a career in Ukraine. We decided to go to the city of Irpin and visit Mr. Mykhailo’s cafe and talk with him about his life, development, and the path to success.

More – in our video:

31.12.20

Due to the life circumstances Oleksandr became homeless. He lost his family, hope for the future and his overall health condition worsened much. The only thing he had is an old Soviet passport, which is completely useless today as there is no such country on the political map of the world.

For a long time Oleksandr has been living in a warehouse. In addition, the man had vision problems. 

Oleksandr contacted us for help in order to update his documents and obtain a passport of a citizen of Ukraine, which he never had. With the help of a lawyer from the Severodonetsk office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation, the necessary documents were collected. The department of the State Migration Service of Ukraine registered Oleksandr as a citizen of Ukraine even without the need of a court procedure.

After receiving his passport, Oleksandr was able to settle in a dormitory and receive much needed medical care. These holidays a man will finally meet in the warm.

Олександр нарешті отримав паспорт громадянина України Olexandr finally received the passport of a citizen of Ukraine

29.12.20

In December 2020, the dream of our beneficiary Mr. Mykhailo finally came true – he received a passport of a citizen of Ukraine.

For 2.5 years, lawyers of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation worked actively to help Mykhailo obtain a passport. The process was quite a complicated one: court hearings, legal inquiries, cooperation with the State Migration Service of Ukraine and the Registry Office. But the end result was totally worth it!

Mykhailo was born in the Belarus SSR, where he received a passport at the age of 16. In 1988, the man permanently moved to the Ukrainian SSR to the city of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, where he lived and worked all his life.

Although our beneficiary was employed, the fact of permanent residence on the territory of Ukraine as of August 24, 1991 was difficult to prove in court. The SMSU representative insisted on questioning at least one witness who could confirm the man’s residence in Ukraine.  Fortunately, such a witness was found and agreed to come to court.  In result, the court established legal fact of Mykhailo’s residence on the territory of Ukraine as of August 24, 1991.

But then another problem emerged – COVID-19 quarantine. Due to the restrictions imposed, Mykhailo could not obtain proof of citizenship for 9 months: in early 2020, the man applied to the Bakhmut City Department of the State Migration Service for a certificate of registration as a citizen of Ukraine and received it only in September.

With the certificate, the man was finally able to apply to the SMSU for a passport, but faced difficulties due to the lack of appropriate conditions for people with disabilities. On December 2 a monitor of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation accompanied Mykhailo and helped him to receive a passport.

Михайло отримав паспорт Mykhailo received a passport of a citizen of Ukraine

It is probably unnecessary to remind that a passport is the most important document in the life of any person. But for Mr. Mykhailo that’s a vital document. Without a passport, he could not receive medical help and a pension, despite the fact of having 20 years of work experience. Finally, Mr. Mykhailo will feel what it is like to be a citizen and have equal opportunities and rights as all the other people!

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!

09.12.20

The problem of statelessness can happen to anyone. This can be the result of fire, any natural disaster or even fraud. And someone may fall victim to a bureaucratic mistake made in time of the fall of Soviet power.

The story of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation beneficiary Ms. Olena began many years ago. The woman was born and lived in Ukraine for her whole life. Back in the days she had a Soviet passport.

For some time Olena was not registered at any place of residence. When a woman worked at the factory in Kharkiv, she did not have her own flat or house, as well as was not able to get a dormitory room, thus having no ability to receive registration of the place of residence. It was the year 1991. By the law, a person who officially resided in Ukraine as of August 24 and / or November 13, 1991 is considered a citizen. Despite the fact that Olena was officially employed, she could not prove her citizenship for many years.

Employees of the State Migration Service of Ukraine advised the women to apply for help to the office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation in Kharkiv. A number of lawyer’s requests were made and a statement to the court was prepared. During the proceedings, our lawyer represented Ms. Olena’s interests in the courts and proved that she had resided in Ukraine as of August 24, 1991.

Due to the high competence and efficiency of the management of the Kharkiv district department of the State Customs Service of Ukraine in Kharkiv region in the person of Dmytro Kolesnyk and Lilia Myshchenko, the procedure of establishing Olena’s identity was carried out, and all the necessary documents for passport issuance were collected and prepared.

olena-story-no-more-stateless

«Finally, I feel like a full-fledged person, a citizen of my country, where I live from my birth. I am so happy!»,

– Says Olena, without hiding her tears of joy, after receiving the Ukrainian passport she had been dreaming of for almost 30 years.

Now, Olena finally can fully exercise all the rights granted by the Constitution and the Laws of Ukraine. Now she can officially work, receive medical and social assistance, buy property and real estate, land, as well as to enjoy full belonging to the citizenship of her Homeland.

02.12.20

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to convert our communication with our beneficiaries into the remote mode.

In a short period of time we had to master many modern online tools, because people’s need for our help has not disappeared. And we are very glad that within the training course «Webinars: tips for human rights activists»  we were able to share with the participants all our knowledge and experiences, in particular, on the organization of webinars!

Watch the video below where our colleagues Daria Lysenko and Anna Bukreeva share on the results of this online course


The training course was implemented with the support of the Norwegian Refugee Council in Ukraine (NRC) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.