We are glad to present 2020 Annual Report ‘Crossing the contact line’. The report is based on data collected by NGO ‘Right to Protection’ during the monitoring of the situation on EECPs. More statistical data is available on the Eastern Ukraine Checkpoint Monitoring Online Dashboard: https://www.unhcr.org/ua/en/eecp-monitoring-2020.
✅ On March 12, The Ukrainian Government adopted a number of measures aimed at COVID-19 prevention. Starting 22 March, EECP operation was suspended in the GCA, while the same happened at the NGCA a day before. Rapid developments put many people who were coming to EECPs into a difficult position; some even did not have enough means for temporary accommodation. In particular, forty people travelling to the NGCA got stuck at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP.
✅ Introduction of quarantine measures caused a drastic decrease in the number of crossings. Thousands of people were deprived of the possibility to receive social payments, pensions, birth and death certificates, to visit relatives or property. Some were cut off from their permanent place of residence.
✅ In July, 83 persons were compelled to remain in the buffer zone at Novotroitske EECP for several days, having no possibility to return to the GCA or proceed to the NGCA.
✅ Daily in August-September, up to ten persons had to stay overnight in the shed in the buffer zone at Stanytsia Luhanska EECP as they were not allowed to return to the NGCA due to inability to confirm residence registration.
✅ Similar to 2019, visiting relatives was the most widespread reason to cross in both directions. Receiving pensions or social payments and withdrawing cash were more common among people travelling from the NGCA.
✅ Before the introduction of quarantine restrictions, long lines were the main concern of the respondents at all EECPs. But in the fourth quarter of 2020, the majority became distressed with issues with permissions to cross, as it was possible only through two EECPs by a complicated procedure (52 percent compared to 8 in the first quarter).
✅ Also, in 2020, at least 3,000 people were provided with help from R2P monitors with installing and running the app «Vdoma». Moreover, R2P monitors have assisted about 800 people in getting permissions for crossing from the Coordination Group.
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 the 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.