Report: Ensuring the rights of internally displaced persons

1. Introduction

In 2014, for the first time in the history of its independence, Ukraine faced foreign military aggression. As a result, approx. 8% of the country’s territory, populated by more than 5.8 million people, is now under occupation. Particularly tense is the situation on the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces, where, due to the occupation, intense hostilities have broken out. Before the war, the occupied territory of Donbass was home to more than 3.8 million people. At least half of them were forced to leave their places of residence and move to the unoccupied territory of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. As of July 2015, clashes continue in the Donbass, which is why the number of displaced persons continues to grow.

In Ukraine, these refugees have the official status of ‘internally displaced persons’ - IDPs. As of 6 July, 2015, the Ministry of Social Policy recognised 1,369,844 people as IDPs across Ukraine (which constitutes approximately 1,072,964 families). Approx. 730,000 (60%) of them are pensioners, 54,000 (4%) – disabled persons. More than 75% of the registered IDPs with disabilities and pensioners reside in five provinces - Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk.

Below, the Open Dialog Foundation presents its report on ensuring the rights of internally displaced persons in Ukraine.

2. State financial aid for displaced persons

On 1 October, 2014, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a resolution ‘On providing targeted monthly assistance to those fleeing the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and the areas of the anti-terrorist operation, to cover their living expenses, including payments for housing and communal services’.

In 2014, for the first time in the history of its independence, Ukraine faced foreign military aggression. As a result, approx. 8% of the country’s territory, populated by more than 5.8 million people, is now under occupation.

According to the resolution, the targeted assistance is provided to citizens of Ukraine, foreigners and stateless persons permanently residing on the territory of Ukraine and fleeing from the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, as well as the ATO zone, listed as such in the bodies of social protection of citizens.

The period of receipt of the targeted assistance shall last no more than 6 months from the date of registration. The period can be extended for a further six months if the person, who is in need, files a petition with the Ministry of Social Policy, substantiating their need for such assistance.

The amount of the financial aid per person is:

  • for persons unable to work (pensioners, children, disabled persons) - 884 UAH (35 euros);
  • for persons with disabilities - 949 UAH (38 euros);
  • for able-bodied persons - 442 UAH (18 euros).

The total amount of assistance per family (the total amount of aid rendered to each individual family member) cannot exceed 2400 UAH (96 euros). At the same time, the official minimum subsistence per person in Ukraine for 2015 is 1176 USD (47 euros). Thus, the maximum amount of financial assistance (2400 UAH) per family is equal to double the subsistence minimum, i.e. it is calculated on the basis of a two-person family. Clearly, this amount of financial assistance is insufficient, especially for disabled persons who are unable to work.

The amount of financial assistance is not taken into account in the calculation of total family income for all kinds of social assistance (subsidies, unemployment benefit, childbirth benefit, etc.).

Conditions under which financial assistance is not provided:

  • if any family member owns residential property situated in a region or area which is not under temporary occupation or in the ATO zone;
  • if the family owns two or more vehicles (regardless of whether the vehicles still remain in the occupied territory or in the ATO zone or were transported by the displaced person to a territory of Ukraine not affected by war);
  • if any family member has funds in an amount exceeding 10 times the subsistence minimum of UAH 12 180 (490 euros) on deposit in a bank account.

If the family, which is granted the allowance, consists of persons of working age who have been unemployed for 2 months from the date of the award of financial aid, the amount of the financial assistance for able-bodied persons is subject to a 50% reduction and over the period 6 months – it is suspended. According to human rights activists, in practice, this translates into an illegal reduction in the monthly targeted assistance to families who receive the maximum assistance (UAH 2400). This problem is especially acute for those families with three or more children, or disabled or retired persons. For example, if a family has three children, the amount of aid for such a family cannot be less than UAH2400 per month. However, in practice, this amount may be reduced if an able-bodied member of the family is unable to find a job for 2 months following the date of registration. Human rights defenders from the charitable foundation ‘Vostok-SOS’ reported incidents in which cash assistance payments to these families were stopped completely.

In view of the difficult situation on the labour market in Ukraine, such restrictions in relation to displaced persons are unfounded and unfair. Thus, according to data cited by the State Employment Office, the unemployment rate in Ukraine in 2014 was at 9.3% of the population aged between 15 and 70. The Unemployment rate among IDPs is even higher. According to official data, as of May 2015, of more than a million displaced people, a little over 7,000 people found jobs through job centres.

Financial aid from the state is insufficient to meet the basic needs of the displaced persons. Thus, according to sociological research, 63% of immigrants reported that they only have enough money for food. Another 24% of respondents admitted that they sometimes do not even have enough money for food. Only 13% of respondents stated that, generally, they have enough money to live, but they cannot afford to buy valuable items (furniture, household appliances).

Not all displaced persons who apply for financial assistance, receive it.According to data presented by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, as of 6 July, 2015, 414 732 displaced families had filed applications for the financial aid, and to only 335,390 (81%) of them, such assistance had been granted.

In the process of receiving assistance from the state, displaced persons face problems associated with the disorganisation of public institutions providing social protection to citizens. Having observed the operation of one of the Kiev offices of Labour and Social Security, an employee of the Open Dialog Foundation highlighted several such problems:

  • long queues, due to an insufficient number of clerks, as well as the fact that the same clerks are forced to deal with displaced persons and other vulnerable groups of citizens;
  • complicated procedure of applying for assistance, related to the need for a large number of different certificates;
  • displaced persons’ low level of awareness as regards procedures.

On 30 June, 2015, the Ukrainian government changed the system of social assistance payments. According to the new rules, all assistance payments will be made by the state bank ‘Oschadbank’. Previously, IDPs could choose the bank through which they receive financial assistance. Human rights activists have criticised the government's amendment, stating that the rights of displaced persons have been restricted. Earlier, IDPs applied for receipt or renewal of the aid provision at social protection offices, currently however, they will do so through the branches of ‘Oschadbank’. “At the same time, a displaced person will not immediately become aware of the fact that their package of application documents is incomplete, as was the case previously, but only after the Bank sends their documents back to the social protection office, which, in turn, provides a written reply to the representative of the family, informing them that the package is incomplete. Also, it is not clear where additional documents should be filed - with the bank or the social protection office, what to do in the case of a refusal to grant the financial aid and so on”, - the coordinator of the charity foundation ‘Vostok-SOS’, Aleksandra Dvoretskaya, stated.

3. Provision of housing to displaced persons

Currently, there are two options for the resettlement of IDPs: in the private sector (rented houses and apartments) and in state-owned property (hotels, dormitories, summer camp accommodation, health resorts, boarding houses etc). For the Lviv region, which is very popular among displaced persons, the settlement ratio in the private and public sectors is 90% versus 10%, respectively. Very similar situations can be observed all over Ukraine; only a small proportion of displaced persons live in state-owned property.

The amount of the financial aid per person is:

  • for persons unable to work (pensioners, children, disabled persons) - 884 UAH (35 euros);
  • for persons with disabilities - 949 UAH (38 euros);
  • for able-bodied persons - 442 UAH (18 euros).

In October 2014, in response to public pressure, the law ‘On ensuring the rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons’ was adopted. According to the law, local authorities, acting within their powers, should provide IDPs with temporary housing, subject to the payment of fees for housing and communal services.

The State Emergency Service (GSCHS) of Ukraine reported that as of 9 July, 2015, 897,741 people were displaced from the temporarily occupied territory and areas of the anti-terrorist operation and headed to other regions of Ukraine. The largest number of IDPs are now in the Lugansk (196 676 people), Kharkiv (179 240 people) and Donetsk (108 848 people) provinces. The lowest number of IDPs are in the Ternopil (2596 people) and Chernivtsi (2640 people) provinces. Thus far, 826 buildings with various forms of ownership, with the capacity to accommodate 13,281 internally displaced persons have been appointed.

The actual situation may differ significantly from the statements made by the authorities. According to statements of civil activists, the provisions of the law ‘On ensuring the rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons’ regulating the provision of housing to IDPs are not implemented, as the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has not developed the necessary regulations to ensure the implementation of this law. In particular, locally, displaced persons often receive refusals to their applications for free housing under the pretext that there is none available.

According to the information received from the Ministry of Social Policy, as of February 2015, the executive authorities in Ukraine were able to settle only 616 people in 24 buildings, designed for temporary accommodation of IDPs (it regards the state-owned buildings, densely populated by displaced persons) only 616 people. It was predicted that by summer, this figure could increase to 1029. The inspection of the buildings, provided by the state, shows that only in exceptional cases are they adjusted to needs of disabled persons, the elderly or patients in need of hospitalisation.

The IDPs are temporarily settled in public sanatoriums, boarding houses, summer camps, ministerial hostels, hotels and even hospitals. A common shortcoming as regards the buildings, designed for temporary accommodation of IDPs, is the delay in state funding. The state has assumed the obligation to compensate for the expenses associated with the accommodation of displaced persons; however, it fails to do so to the necessary extent, and, as a result, many buildings cannot continue to render help.

Apart from ordinary centres for the dense settlement of IDPs, there are also centres of social and psychological rehabilitation, which are home to displaced persons in need of a period of respite following psychologically stressful experiences, as well as those needing to adapt to new living conditions. As a rule, an education program is organised for children who live in such centres; they also have an opportunity to participate in various training sessions. Also, socio-psychological centres provide individual and family counseling, psychological support for pregnant women, correctional work with children and a variety of training programs.

Some displaced persons with disabilities (including disabled children) have the opportunity to live in wellness boarding houses and health resorts. For example, approx. 2,100 people with disabilities were settled in the Odessa province (the largest number of displaced persons with disabilities of all provinces); 900 of them were placed in health resorts and boarding houses, and the remaining 1200 were forced to find a place of residence independently.

The disadvantage of boarding houses, health resorts and summer camps is their unsuitability for residence in winter conditions. Therefore, in many cases, it is necessary to urgently install a central heating system.

In places of dense settlement, IDPs often face problems with acquiring food and clothing. To a large extent, these displaced persons have been provided for by volunteers; however, the activity of volunteers’ has been gradually decreasing over time.

In approx. 90% of cases, displaced persons from eastern Ukraine and Crimea live in private sector properties (rented houses or flats), for which they are forced to pay through their own means, as state financial assistance does not cover the entire cost of the rent.

Since 1 October, 2015, the government has introduced assistance for IDPs, designed to cover their living and housing rental costs. In particular, it provides for the following financial assistance: persons with disabilities – UAH884 (35 euros), for able-bodied persons – UAH 442 (17 euros). The total amount of aid is limited to UAH2,400 (96 euros) per month per family. Thus far, the provision of such assistance has been requested by 358,000 households, of which 302,000 have already received aid. It is worth noting that, to date, the minimum price of renting a one-bedroom apartment in Kiev is approx. UAH5000 per month (200 euros).

The Ministry of Social Policy has issued four road maps, in which one can find all the addresses and telephone numbers one can use to obtain information about settlement, employment and other issues of interest to IDPs.

As early as in July 2014, the government created a website for IDPs, through which citizens can elect suitable options for settlement, and learn about vacancies in their vocations in these regions online. According to the regularly updated data, at the moment, the lowest number of available places for settlement is offered in the Lugansk (no vacant places), Donetsk (6 places) and Kharkiv provinces (no places), as they are the most popular among internally displaced people. The largest number: Lviv (1127 places) and Ternopil (909 places) provinces.

It is worth noting that most of the available places to live are in the countryside and they are chargeable, while vacancies are offered mainly in the cities (the largest number of jobs offered is in the Kiev region - 124). The majority of IDPs have moved from the industrial towns of the Donbass, and so they do not always wish to settle in the countryside.

An urgent problem is the lack of residence registration (registration of the place of residence) of internally displaced persons on the non-occupied territory of Ukraine. According to the data presented by the Migration Service, as of February 2015, of more than 1 million IDPs, only 18,000 had a permanent place of registration (residence permit) on the non-occupied territory of Ukraine. One of the reasons why internally displaced persons do not change their place of registration is their unwillingness to lose their IDP statuses. Under the law, a basis for registration as an IDP is residence registration on the occupied territory. Accordingly, by changing the registration of residence, internally displaced persons lose their IDP statuses and are therefore ineligible for state aid.

Without registration, internally displaced persons may face problems when setting up their own companies, and due to this fact, they may have problems with employment or accessing medical care.

4. State assistance in the employment of IDPs

State aid for the employment of IDPs begins with their registration in the state job centre in their current place of residence. Through jobs centres, jobs (if any) are offered to IDPs.

An urgent problem is the lack of residence registration (registration of the place of residence) of internally displaced persons on the non-occupied territory of Ukraine.

In the State Employment Service, internally displaced persons can access social services relating to employment: job search assistance, counselling and information assistance. In order to do so, they do not have to present any documents.

In addition, the State Employment Service:

  • conducts information seminars in the places of temporary settlement of people;
  • provides them with an opportunity to attend workshops on job seeking skills, CV writing, preparing for a job interview with an employer;
  • provides legal advice in the field of employment.

Internally displaced persons can also find out about job vacancies of a particular vocation in various regions of Ukraine. The current database of vacancies throughout Ukraine with stated level of salaries is available on the website of the State Employment Service, as well as on the government website for internally displaced persons. Based on this information, IDPs can choose the most convenient option of settlement.

As of 8 May, 2015, the Ministry of Social Policy registered 1,278,100 IDPs (approx. 946,000 households) throughout Ukraine; 107,900 of them are in need of employment. Of the 38,000 people who addressed job centres for jobs, 7,100 (19%) were employed.

The government of Ukraine has simplified the procedure for obtaining the status of an unemployed person for IDPs. Thus, internally displaced persons are exempt from the obligation to provide a certificate listing the amount of salary and the payment of insurance premiums, a certificate of termination of running a private agricultural farm, and from the obligation to report to the employment centre at least once a month. Displaced persons may apply to any employment centre, regardless of their place of registration, or residence, or stay.

The status of an unemployed person allows the unemployed person to receive unemployment benefits. The minimum amount of unemployment benefit in Ukraine is UAH 544 (21 euros).

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has prepared a roadmap, "How can internally displaced persons find a job?”, which gathers relevant information for IDPs on the issues of employment and identifies possible risks (for example, details known cases of fraud), and describes ways to avoid them.

Despite the government's efforts, many IDPs are unsatisfied with the level of state support. Thus, according to the survey conducted in January-February 2015, 44% of internally displaced persons feel that they receive insufficient support from the state. Every third immigrant faces discrimination during a job search, renting a place to live, or in other everyday situations. 58% of respondents reported that they had encountered difficulties during job searches in the new locations. 26% of respondents have not sought work after displacement and hope to receive assistance from the state.

Typical reasons for refusals to employ IDPs given by employers include: a lack of vacancies; unwillingness to hire a person from the occupied territory; non-fulfillment of job requirements; lack of work experience. 38% of respondents from the Lugansk and Donetsk provinces reported that they have hired IDPs.

The complexity of employing internally displaced persons from the Donbas is partly due to their professional skills sets. The most vulnerable to unemployment were employees of the coal and steel industry, as employment is limited due to a lack of demand for persons with these particular skills in other regions of Ukraine. For such persons, the pressing issue is professional retraining which will allow them to acquire popular and readily available jobs.

On 8 July, 2015, the government of Ukraine approved the Programme of employment and vocational training for IDPs for the years 2015-2016. The programme provides a number of priority steps for the state, aimed at solving IDPs’ employment problems. In particular:

  • the creation of temporary jobs for internally displaced persons and incentives for employers to hire employees under flexible forms of employment;
  • promoting increased entrepreneurial activity among internally displaced persons;
  • organisation of professional training of displaced persons in professions that are in demand on other regional labour markets;

creation of socio-economic prerequisites for the development of areas of mass residence of internally displaced persons and restoration of the affected areas, including with the involvement of the labour potential of internally displaced persons.

5. Provision of medical care to displaced persons

One of the major problems for people displaced from the Donbass and Crimea is the obtainment of medical care and necessary medication. This is an especially pertinent problem, given that approx. 65% of displaced persons are pensioners or persons with disabilities.

Serious problem

Medical care

for displaced people

One of the major problems for people displaced from the Donbass and Crimea is the obtainment of medical care and necessary medication. This is an especially pertinent problem, given that approx. 65% of displaced persons are pensioners or persons with disabilities.

According to Ministry of Emergency Situations, as of 18 June, 2015, from among IDPs, 178,402 adults and 100,048 children applied for medical registration; of which, 113,983 adults and 62,983 children were registered). 38,588 adults and 21,667 children were hospitalised. 227,805 medical instrumental examinations and сheck ups of IDPs have been carried out. Women of this category gave birth to 4167 babies.

Psychologists of the State Emergency Service (GSCHS) of Ukraine, along with representatives of civil and voluntary organisations provided psychological assistance to 155,393 people, including 42,840 children.

According to the official stance of the government, IDPs have full rights to health care, including free-of-charge medication or subsidised provision of medicines; the same as citizens who permanently reside on the territory to which displaced persons have moved. Providing these individuals with medication is carried out in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine and within the approved budgets of health care institutions for the current year.

In practice, this means that health institutions have to render medical care to IDPs using the funds (including medications), designed for permanent local residents. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that even for the latter, they are not always available in the required quantities. This approach leads to a shortage of medicine both for displaced persons and local residents.

According to the survey, 77% of the surveyed displaced persons reported that they have received medical assistance free of charge. However, in practice, this means that they often had to buy medicine themselves, while only medical care was offered free-of-charge. 10% of IDPs paid for health services directly at the cash-desk of the medical facilities.

As far as the quality of the assistance provided is concerned, 81% of displaced persons are satisfied with medical care. Despite the financial difficulties experienced by IDPs in terms of payment for medical services, the surveyed displaced persons noted the friendly, sympathetic attitude of health workers towards them as displaced people, and the attentiveness and humanitarian attitude of many of them. Also, according to the survey, 45% of displaced persons did not encounter particular difficulties in obtaining medical assistance in health care institutions. 27% of respondents stated that medical assistance was too expensive for them, 17% noted a lack of information about how and where to access medical care.

An urgent problem is the lack of access to primary medical examinations for all IDPs. Because of this, first of all, emergency first aid is not provided in a timely manner to persons who need it, and, secondly, measures aimed at preventing socially dangerous diseases (tuberculosis, lice, etc.) are not implemented.

As noted by medical doctors and volunteers, vulnerable categories of patients, for whom urgent medical care is vital are frequently seen among displaced persons. These are predominantly people with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis, diabetes, cancer and mental illnesses. The main problem lies with the fact that the medication they need is expensive and in most cases, those affected have to buy the medicines themselves.

The complexity of the treatment of seriously-ill patients consists in the fact that many of them do not have the necessary medical documentation, as they left it on the occupied territory. Mentally ill persons, who fled the ATO zone, often suffer from the acute psychological and emotional states, and refuse to be hospitalised in a psychiatric institution; still, according to the existing regulations, it is impossible to do so barring their consent.

6. Ensuring the rights of displaced persons for the obtainment of education

According to the UN, approx. 167,000 children are currently registered among IDPs in Ukraine.

An urgent problem lies in the reluctance of IDPs who are parents to send their children to school or kindergarten.

According to Ukrainian law, pre-school and school education in Ukraine is free-of-charge. Higher education is also predominantly free. Human rights activists who monitor IDPs’ access to education have registered no cases of violations of the rights of displaced persons to education. On the contrary, human rights activists have noted a tendency to positive discrimination of displaced persons, when they received additional benefits and privileges compared with other categories of children.

An urgent problem lies in the reluctance of IDPs who are parents to send their children to school or kindergarten. For example, in the Kharkiv province, which is one of the leaders in terms of numbers of displaced persons, UN observers have recorded that there are approx. 5,000 children (of 18,000 children registered in the province), who do not attend school or kindergarten. Representatives of the education sector stated that such cases exist, but, at the moment, there are no clear mechanisms for solving this problem, as the obtainment of education is the prerogative of parents of said children. As far as the general situation in Ukraine is concerned, approximately 10% of the children of displaced persons do not attend kindergarten or school. Observers have noted that this can be partly explained by the fact that the parents of these children intend to return to their former places of residence in the short term.

The educational opportunities of schoolchildren are influenced by the insufficient financial means of their parents. Statistics show that 24% of IDPs from among students of Kiev schools do not intend to continue their education in universities due to a lack of financial means.

7. International assistance for IDPs

Meeting the basic needs of IDPs would be impossible without the broad support of international organisations and foreign countries which have extended a helping hand to Ukraine.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM)

From December 2014 to April 2015, with the financial support of the EU, the IOM has provided one-off cash support to 23,264 internally displaced people in the city of Kharkiv and the Kharkiv province. The project identified the most vulnerable groups of citizens, including disabled people, elderly people, single parents and families with many children, who had their most urgent needs met the in their conditions of settlement including during winter time, such as the purchase of medicines, warm clothes, rent payments and food bills.

With the participation of the IOM and the financial support provided by the United States, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Canada and the United Nations, more than 23,000 IDPs received clothing, footwear, medicines and other assistance.

The IOM also organised and conducted a series of training seminars on employment and self-employment for displaced persons in several provinces of Ukraine. During the training, qualified trainers helped participants to develop their own business plan with a view to formulating future grant applications for the purchase of equipment or the opportunity to attend vocational courses.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The UNHCR supports the government of Ukraine and public organisations in the issues of the provision of assistance to IDPs, as well as by providing assistance directly to the most vulnerable categories of displaced persons. In particular, the UNHCR has transferred about USD 240,000 within the framework of technical assistance to the Ukrainian government. Also, more than USD 500,000 has been transferred in order to support non-governmental organisations involved in the provision of assistance to refugees. Approximately, USD 2.5 million has been provided for targeted assistance to the most vulnerable categories of IDPs (single parents, large families, families unable to work and families with special needs).

In addition to financial support, the UNHCR provides non-food humanitarian assistance to IDPs - clothes, shoes, underwear, winter clothing and blankets. With the support of UNHCR, 12 buildings for high-density accommodation of displaced persons were renovated. Another 47 buildings are at different stages of renovation.

In 2014, the UNHCR carried out a programme, aimed at granting aid to IDPs, including small business grants and grants for home improvement. The programme provided for the issuance of 85 grants totalling $198,000.

In 2015, the UNHCR is planning to collect approx. $41.5 million dollars from different countries in order to provide humanitarian aid to displaced people in Ukraine. The main donors to UNHCR in this regard are: the United States ($10.4 million), Sweden ($1.8 million.), Denmark ($1.5 million) and Germany ($ 1.1 million).

These very countries are the leaders in terms of the provision of various types of assistance to displaced persons in Ukraine.

The US Department of State for Population, Migration and Refugees stated that in 2015, the United States have budgeted for the allocation of $18 million to International organisations that provide assistance to displaced persons in Ukraine.

Since 2014, Germany’s Federal Government has supported various kinds of humanitarian assistance programmes for displaced persons in Ukraine in the amount of approx. 18 million euros. For example, with the material and technical assistance of Germany, 7 transit towns of modular homes for displaced persons have been built in three provinces of Ukraine (Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye and Kharkov). The modules are small buildings, where each family will have its own bedroom and living room. Also, the town is equipped with kitchenettes, laundry rooms, bathrooms with showers, children's playrooms and rooms for studying. All necessary utilities have been provided: water, electricity, heating and sewage pipes were sent to the territories where the modular towns are located. 5 transit camps were established in the Dnepropetrovsk province (in Dnepropetrovsk - for 456 people, Dniprodzerzhinsk - 480 people, Krivoy Rog - for 424 people, Pavlograd - at 640 people, Nikopol - 456 people). In Zaporizhya, a modular town has become home to 544 people, while in Kharkov – 400. Large families and families with disabled children have priority in terms of settlement in such towns. Accommodation in modules is not free-of-charge; displaced persons have to pay utility bills and rent from their own means.

In June 2015, approx. 285 tonnes of humanitarian aid from Germany and Poland was transferred to Ukraine. The aid will be distributed through the charity fund ‘Caritas Ukraine’ and is destined for more than 11,000 IDPs in the Zaporizhya, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk provinces. In December 2014, the Polish government dispatched 150 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Ukraine; approx. 5,500 IDPs from the Kharkiv province benefited from it. 

Denmark’s total aid for IDPs in Ukraine amounted to approx. $3 million.

On 30 April, 2015 it became known that the Japanese government will allocate approx. 16.6 million dollars for a number of programmes, carried out by international organisations, in order to provide assistance to IDPs in Ukraine and restore the infrastructure of the Donbass. In particular, 6.3 and 5 million dollars, respectively, will be allocated for the implementation of the UNDP Projects: ‘Rapid response to social and economic needs of displaced persons’ and ‘Economic and social restoration of the Donbass’. In addition, there are plans to implement UNICEF projects aimed at increasing the access of children, affected by the conflict in the east, to high quality education ($ 3.7 million) and the IOM project, designed to restore educational and medical institutions ($1.4 million).

8. Conclusions and recommendations

External military aggression resulted, in addition to the financial and economic crises, in the emergence of acute social and demographic problems in Ukraine, related to the enormous flow of displaced persons from the occupied territories of the Donbass. Despite the ongoing efforts, made by the government, the solution of many problems of displaced persons remains a burning issue. In order to solve them in a more effective way, we deem it necessary to:

  • Create a centralised government body that would comprehensively implement the policies in the field of solutions of IDPs’ problems. This move is especially crucial due to a large number of IDPs in Ukraine – approx. 1.5 million people.
  • Create a centralised government body that would coordinate the provision of assistance to IDPs from international donors.
  • For the swifter provision of social assistance to IDPs, special departments in the centres that provide social protection to citizens, (Department of Labour and Social Protection, employment centres), which will specialise only in providing assistance to IDPs.
  • Simplify the procedure for obtaining IDP status. In particular, the number of documents required for the registration of IDPs should be reduced. Also, the extension of the list of documents with which IDPs can confirm their transfer from the occupied territory is also necessary (at the moment, this only applies to registration of residence on the occupied territory).
  • Information on IDP status should be valid indefinitely.
  • Create a single database of IDPs, which would include all displaced persons.
  • Remove the existing limit of UAH 2400 of financial assistance per family, as it infringes the rights and opportunities of large families (with more than two children), as well as families with senior citizens and disabled persons.
  • Adopt the necessary laws and regulations, which would allow the full implementation of a government Programme for Employment and Vocational Training of Internally Displaced Persons in the years 2015─2016.
  • To attract foreign partners, as well as to apply international experience in employment and vocational training for IDPs. In particular, apply the experience of the International Labour Organisation, having experience of providing consultations to countries on changes in legislation and the potential of temporary jobs.
  • Adopt the necessary laws and regulations that would allow displaced persons to exercise their right to housing. In particular, develop a procedure for obtaining housing for temporary inhabitation by IDPs, as provided for in Law of Ukraine ‘On ensuring the rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons’.
  • Develop a separate funding programme for the medical support of IDPs. The provision of medication to displaced persons shouldn’t be funded from the funds set aside for local residents but from a separate IDP budget.
  • Establish a system of primary medical examination for IDPs.
  • Develop a separate programme for the provision of education to IDPs. In the majority, this problem concerns school-age children, since, as evidence shows, a large proportion of children from IDP families do not attend school.

Read publications ODF on the situation in the ATO zone: