On January 21 a delegation of the European Commission, headed by Jean-Louis de Brouwer, The Director of Operations of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Office (ECHO). Members of the delegation will assess the humanitarian situation in the country and discuss with the authorities the situation of internally displaced persons.
Immediately upon arrival, the delegation held a meeting with representatives of CrimeaSOS, UNHCR and IDPs. Mr de Brouwer emphasized the importance of this dialogue for the understanding of the general trends in the situation with IDPs:
"For me the opportunity and privilege to meet you and discuss your problems is absolutely crusial. The way you are going to brief us about your living conditions (housing, access to employment) is crusial for us to understand better who you are and also that we could probably reframe our actions in supporting you but only making sure that the Ukranian government is providing you with a support".
Vanno Noupech, the UNHCR Deputy Representative in Ukraine, focused on the unsystematical work of the Ukrainian government towards IDPs. "On the one hand, many legislative acts, the strategy on human rights and other documents have been adopted. But on the other hand, many advocacy issues remain unresolved, there is no single state body that would work with IDPs or the national strategy", – said Mr. Nupek.
Tamila Tasheva, CrimeaSOS coordinator, highlighted the key trends on the situation in the non-government controlled territories of Ukraine. These are, in particular, suppressing of dissent and the general deterioration of the living standards of the population living in these areas.
Liliya Imadinova, IDP from Crimea, confirmed that many Crimean Tatars, who stay currently on the peninsula, are regularly subjected to discrimination, harassment and house searches. This is also proved by the statistics presented in the format of an interactive map of human rights violations in Crimea.
CrimeaSOS coordinator also noted that ncontrolled territories continue to suffer from the incessant shelling. Only on January 21 Ukraine's position were fired 29 times. Among other issues of major concern, are :
People from the east and Crimea, who were present at the meeting, noted a bright tendency for discrimination of IDPs. For example, Julia from Donbass suffers for a long time from being denied in housing because of the "donetsk registration". According her opinion, local people are just tired of the problems with IDPs, and this caus the negative attitude of many of them.
Mr. Jean-Louis de Brouwer concluded a speech at the meeting, highlighting the main problems of internally displaced persons in Ukraine, in particular:
A fundamental reason for the majority of these problems is the lack of a unified state strategy both for the occupied territories and on IDPs. This issue will be raised in particular at the future February parliamentary hearings on the status of the rights of IDPs and Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea and ATO zone.
The European delegation will try to bring the received during the meeting information to the political level in meetings with Ukrainian politicians, which will be held in the coming days.
We remind that today in Ukraine there are more than 1.7 million IDPs from Crimea and the east of the country. The main problems are social: the provision of housing and employment. The problems of legal protection are access to administrative services, the exchange and receipt of documents, freedom of movement, access to justice, the electoral law, drawing social benefits and access to education.