UN Special Rapporteur: Ukraine needs IDP strategy. And it must be done before winter


The UN Special Rapporteur congratulates the newly established ministry within the Ukrainian government to address this issue, yet there is still no strategy to support IDPs in the country.

Kyiv, September 9, 2016. The Ukrainian government has to elaborate a comprehensive strategy to solve the problems faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs). This was stated by Dr. Chaloka Beyani, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “I urge the government to increase efforts to protect the rights of IDPs who were forced to move because of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur noted the progress of the Government of Ukraine in responding to the situation with IDPs achieved since his last visit to Ukraine two years before. In particular, he mentioned the law on internally displaced persons and the establishment of the Ministry of temporarily occupied territories and internally displaced persons which deals directly with IDPs. “However, we must do more to effectively implement the legislation and establish a mechanism to coordinate the efforts of ministries and regional and local authorities,” emphasized Mr. Beyani.

He is convinced that IDPs should be able to receive their pensions and social benefits regardless of their location in the country. “I believe that one of the main problems affecting IDPs’ social and material security is linking pensions and social assistance to their registration. This system is based on a check of their place of residence. This situation causes difficulties with verification of IDP residence and leads to suspension of these payments. 500-600 thousand people in eastern Ukraine are up against this problem and it has to be solved as soon as possible,” urged Mr. Beyani. He also noted that the system of registration, along with the suspension of social benefits, leads to repeated forced displacement, in particular, to mass migration and spontaneous returns to dangerous places.

UN Special Rapporteur noted that the authorities in the government-controlled areas must ensure the right to freedom of movement and choice of place of residence. At the same time, the leadership in the separatist-controlled areas also must ensure the above-listed rights. Besides, the parties must ensure the safety at both the local and national level. “People queue up for some hours in a few available for crossing checkpoints. They risk their lives. There are no special conditions for the elderly, children, pregnant women and persons with special needs. As winter sets in, the situation will only get worse,” noted the expert.

Mr. Beyani also informed about his meetings with internally displaced persons, where he discussed with them the major challenges that winter presents to them. “According to the IDPs, the issue of long-term housing is the key one, along with access to the means for supporting normal human life. However, these issues still need to be addressed, as well as the issue of compensation for damage and destruction of their previous property,”-noted Mr. Beyani.

According to the UN data, Ukraine has the highest number of internally displaced persons in the world.

The text of the previous report for 2014 can be viewed here.