Please find the report ‘Crossing the contact line’. It is based on data collected during visits of our colleagues to the five entry-exit checkpoints (EECPs) in March 2020. More statistical data can be found on the Eastern Ukraine Checkpoint Monitoring Online Dashboard.
- As part of measures aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19, the JFO Headquarters limited EECP operation in two steps. Since 17 March, people could cross only in the direction of their residence registration (“propiska”) – NGCA or GCA. In some cases, the SBGS allowed crossing if a person had an urgent issue (family separation, critical medical condition, etc.). Since 22 March, GCA EECPs fully suspended the passing of people while de-facto authorities did it a day earlier. Therefore, some people passed the GCA EECP but were not allowed to enter on the NGCA side and had to return.
- Due to the restrictions, some people could not cross the contact line despite having sufficient reasons for crossing and relevant residence registration. As a result, on all EECPs by the end of March people have been stranded for days, in many cases without the financial means for temporary accommodation. The most urgent situation occurred at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP: over 40 people have been waiting on the GCA side, unable to cross the contact line. Meanwhile, people waiting at Maiorske EECP, were provided with accommodation and food by local authorities and NGOs.
- From the end of February and throughout March due to the threat of the spread of COVID-19 SBGS servicemen had continued to carry out temperature screening of the crossing people at all EECPs before they were closed. All cases of temperature detection of 37.9 or higher and severe acute respiratory syndrome symptoms were recorded by SBGS servicemen, people received reminders about the need for self-isolation.
- During the period 1-17 of March, 18,077 vulnerable elderly persons were provided with transportation support at Stanitsa Luhanska EECP by NGO Proliska electric vehicle. As of 17 March, transportation services were suspended due to imposing the quarantine measures. Most services suspended their work at EECPs since 17-20 March at all EECPs: the Coordination Group representatives, iNGO medical representatives, and transportation, including a social bus at Stanytsia Luhanska.
The report is based on the results of a survey conducted by R2P at the five EECPs to enter the NGCA and administered on a regular basis since June 2017. The survey is a part of the monitoring of violations of rights of conflict-affected populations within the framework of the project ‘Advocacy, Protection and Legal Assistance to IDPs’ implemented by R2P, with the support of UNHCR. The purpose of the survey is to explore reasons and concerns of those traveling from the NGCA to the GCA, as well as conditions and risks associated with crossing the line of contact through EECPs. The information collected in the survey helps identify protection needs, gaps, and trends, and provides an evidentiary basis for advocacy efforts.