KEY DEVELOPMENTS AT EECPs
EECPs continued to operate in a restricted mode for the quarantine period. Hence, crossing through EECPs requires a special permission from both sides. However, even after getting approval to cross the contact line from one side, the other side may not allow the crossing. SBGS may allow crossing if a person has an urgent issue and by the decision of the JFO Headquarters. Thus, people submitted requests and waited for a decision. More than 10 cases were reported when people were allowed to cross the GCA side but were blocked on the NGCA side of the EECP. Consequently, these people had to return to GCA.
The quarantine, implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 has become a trap for thousands of internally displaced persons and other citizens who have residence registration on one side of the contact line, but actually live on the other side. Before the closure of EECPs, thousands of pensioners went to the GCA side every day to receive their social benefits. Residents of NGCA, who are quarantined for the last 45 days, do not have access to different state services and funds.
Over 200 attempts to cross the contact line on five EECPs were identified during April. In most cases, appeals for a permission to cross were rejected even though some people had serious reasons to cross. In particular, R2P observed cases where parents got separated from their children because of different residence registration orwhen individuals travelled for purposes of medical treatment or attending funerals.
On 16 April, Ukrainian government and the NGCA side exchanged prisoners of war at Maiorske EECP. 20 people were returned to the GCA side in exchange for 14 persons returned to the NGCA side, 4 more people refused to return to NGCA. Returning citizens were placed on a two-week selfisolation