Breaking the impasse: Reducing protracted internal displacement as a collective outcome- Case Study: Ukraine [EN/RU/UK]


Internal displacement in Ukraine is primarily due to the armed conflict in the country’s eastern Donbass region that started in April/May 2014. Presently, more than 1.7 million people are officially registered as IDPs, amounting to 4 per cent of Ukraine’s overall population of 42.5 million but not including those displaced inside non Government controlled areas. Displacement first occurred in 2014 and is ongoing. Since the beginning of 2016, another 106,000 IDPs were registered as such, although some of them might have been displaced earlier but were unable to register at the time of their displacement.

The number of people displaced inside the non-Government controlled areas is unknown. A much smaller number of IDPs originate from Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in March 2014.
The majority of IDPs remain close to their original homes, with 55 per cent of all IDPs located in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and a significant number (almost 200,000) in neighbouring Kharkiv Oblast. The capital, Kiev, hosts more than 100,000 IDPs, with the remaining IDPs living in other locations across the country. Many people who are registered as IDPs in the Government-controlled areas of the eastern oblasts move back and forth between the so-called contact line (which separates the parties to the conflict) to access social payments and markets and keep family ties.

While displacement in Ukraine is relatively recent, there is wide-spread consensus among national and international actors that in the absence of any progress in the peace process, Ukraine will need to face the challenge of protracted internal displacement. Some IDPs have already successfully found regular jobs or reestablished their businesses in new locations, helping them to lead relatively normal lives. But the majority of IDPs face a multitude of difficulties. Some even returned in precarious, often unsafe, conditions when their coping mechanisms were exhausted.

  1. Causes

In addition to the ongoing conflict, insufficient Government attention to addressing displacement as a matter of priority, linked to the absence of a comprehensive and operational solutions strategy or action plan, is a major problem.

Inconsistencies or contradictions between provisions of several legal instruments in different policy areas exacerbate the situation, as do inadequate human and financial resources, particularly at local government levels.6 Besides the overall economic downturn of Ukraine in recent years, IDPs’ ability to rebuild their lives and integrate into communities is also undermined by structural problems, such as widespread poverty, the overall high degree of unemployment, very low salaries in many economic sectors, the fact that many IDPs lack marketable skills, unfriendly business environments for starting a small business

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