Activists: The new ministry should become a unifying platform for professional public community with government agencies  


Kyiv, May 10, 2016. The newly established Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs (hereinafter – the Ministry) is to become a unifying platform for professional public community with government agencies. This was stated by Olga Skrypnyk, advocacy expert and chairman of the “Almenda” civic education center, at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “The main theme of the unifying platform between the public and the government is a strategy for reintegration of Crimea to mainland Ukraine […] which will solve all issues related to discrimination of our citizens living in the Crimea,” said the human rights activist.

According to Ms. Skrypnyk, NGO representatives give their suggestions on the Crimean issue to members of the newly established Ministry. First of all, the “humiliating and discriminatory” non-resident status should be abolished. It is also proposed to amend the order of entry – exit, to resolve the issues of education and administrative boundaries. “It should become open doors for our citizens who remained in the Crimea, not a barrier,” said Ms. Skrypnyk.

Almost all the previous decisions of the Cabinet concerning the Crimea were ineffective and aimed at breaking ties betweenmainland Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula, noted Ms.Skrypnyk. According to her, it contradicts both the Constitution of Ukraine and the Law on Protection of Rights and Freedoms in the temporarily occupied territories. In particular, she means the resolution on travelling for citizens of Ukraine under 18, onforeigners’ entry. First of all, it does not take into account the need for legal services in Crimea. Secondly, it is the resolution that restricts the list of goods and personal items allowed to be carried. “If you want to move from Crimea to the Ukraine-controlled territory […] you will not even be able to take all your belongings,” emphasized Ms. Skrypnyk.

According to Sergiy Mokrenyuk, lawyer, representative “Euromaidan-Crimea”, the reason for exacerbating Crimean problems is unqualified appointments to bodies dealing with issues of Crimea and Crimean people. “The most important reason is secrecy, privacy, even conspiracy. And this led to the fact that the state actually dissociated itself from the public,” explains Mr. Mokrenyuk. Therefore, activists suggest that the new government should cooperate with civil society closer and make appointments in the ministry solely after public and transparent discussion.