Assessment of the conditions of crossing LoC through EECPs [EN/UK]

Report
from UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Right to Protection
Published on 07 Jun 2019 View Original
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CONTEXT

The armed conflict that broke out in the East of Ukraine in 2014 caused millions of residents of conflict-affected areas to move to more secure regions of the country. The years of 2014-2015 are marked by the extremely high intensity of armed confrontation and also by the high number of civilian casualties. It was dangerous not only to stay in settlements where there were hostilities, but also to try to leave the conflict zone. Civilian transport was often hit by shelling. One of the most tragic incidents was the shelling of the checkpoint near Volnovakha on 13 January 2015.

In 2015, according to the Minsk Agreements, a conditional line of contact was determined, dividing the territories controlled by both parties to the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. In order to ensure the safety of civilians moving from and to the NGCA (Non government-controlled area) as well as control over the movement of persons and goods, transport options from NGCA were terminated; the movement by motor roads was made possible only through specially created crossing points and on the basis of permission from the Security Service. In 2017, the SSU’s (Security Service of Ukraine) Anti-Terrorist Center adopted the Temporary Order for Monitoring the Movement of Persons through the Line of Contact within Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts , which formalized these restrictions. The order provided for the possibility of entering and exiting the NGCA only through specially designated road corridors where entry-exit crossing points (EECPs) were arranged.

Accordingly, the load on the EECPs increases both in terms of their capacity (i.e., the speed of carrying out the control procedures and the number of officers that carry them out) and in terms of their infrastructure. On average, the crossing of the LoC takes 3 to 4 hours, most of which travelers spend awaiting their turn for passing control.

The situation in Luhansk Oblast, where only one EECP operates in Stanytsia Luhanska, remains especially difficult. Today it is the most loaded, ensuring a daily passage of up to 10,000 people.
Since the establishment of the EECPs, a number of significant changes have taken place at crossing points in response to the needs of the millions of people crossing. These changes were related to the location of EECPs (for example, in 2016, Zaitseve EECP was moved closer to the LoC and Maiorske EECP was organized), features of control procedures (for example, the adoption of the procedure of moving goods) and their infrastructure. For a long time the humanitarian needs of people crossing the LoC through EECPs were covered mainly through the assistance of international humanitarian organizations.

The complex rearrangement of EECPs initiated and funded by Donetsk and Luhansk oblast state administrations took place during 2018-2019.

This report was prepared by CF “Right to Protection” based on the findings of monitoring the conditions at EECPs. The survey was conducted to assess the meeting of the needs that people crossing through the EECPs on a daily basis have, the risks and challenges inherent in this process, and the results of the complex rearrangement of EECPs in 2018-2019. The monitoring included analysis of the normative regulation, decisions of local governments, monitoring of the process of arranging EECPs, and collection and analysis of information on the state of humanitarian infrastructure of EECPs at the time of its completion.

For the purpose of integrated analysis, the data received by CF “Right to Protection” in the course of systematic monitoring of crossing through EECPs conducted within the framework of the Advocacy, Protection and Legal Assistance to the Internally Displaced Population of Ukraine Project supported by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and data under the project «Provision of Multi-Sectoral Humanitarian Assistance to Conflict-Affected Populations in Eastern Ukraine» which is implemented by R2P with the financial support of the European Commission, within the framework of civil protection and humanitarian assistance of the European Union within the ACCESS consortium were used.

The report compares the state of arrangement and the humanitarian infrastructure available at EECPs as of the beginning of 2019 and the corresponding period of 2018, i.e., before the Donetsk and Luhansk oblast state administrations conducted complex rearrangement of EECPs.