Maria comes from Donetsk. She lived there all her life, but all this time she was a stateless person, legally nonexistent all this time.
The woman contacted the Kurakhiv office of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation which is located in the Donetsk region. Immediately after that, she began actively collecting evidence to prove her residence in Ukraine as of 1991.
Although the court upheld the claim, the position of the State Migration Service of Ukraine has not changed and they are refusing to comply with the court’s decision.
We suggest you read this story from the own words of the lawyer of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation Ruslan Bereteli, which he posted on his Facebook page:
[English translation below]:
Sometimes it seems that very little can surprise me in my work. But no, when I listen to people’s stories I can’t understand how they overcome such obstacles in their lives, especially those that are artificially built by the state.
One winter morning in 2020, Maria came to the office. “Simply María” – I thought. She sat on a chair and I listened to her story for almost an hour. Ms. Maria told how she grew up in Donetsk, how she went to school, worked, found a husband, one after another gave birth to two beautiful children and all this time she WASN’T, SHE DIDN’T EXIST.
Yes, you heard it right: SHE. DIDN’T. EXIST.
She was, but she did not exist in the legal field of the state, Maria had no rights. She gave birth to children who received no birth certificates. She couldn’t buy a plane or train ticket. She felt like a nobody.
I can’t remember such a motivated client in my work practice at our Kurakhiv field office yet. Every instruction on gathering evidence to prove residence in Ukraine as of 1991 was followed almost instantly. Relatives in Donetsk overturned both the school where Maria studied and the hospital where she was registered since her childhood, as well as the statement from the company where Maria’s mother worked. They found the student’s personal file, medical card, other certificates and much more…
Despite the numerous evidence which prove that Maria lived in Ukraine as of 1991, representative of the State Migration Service of Ukraine was against the establishment of this fact.
The lawyer of the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation insisted on the position of our beneficiary in court. Despite the contrary position of the SMSU representative, the court granted the application. Cheers, victory, salute…
Though … “didn’t happen as should happen” – says Ukrainian wisdom.
As of now, the Migration Service department refuses to comply with the court’s decision, their employees do not provide the application form, demands the provision of some far-fetched evidence, offers to wait for the head, etc.
And Maria is still fighting to receive citizenship. She is looking right into the eyes of the state, which does not want to notice her.
[Original FB post in Ukrainian]: