Ukraine: Protection Cluster Factsheet - October 2021 [EN/UK]

News and Press Release
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Protection Highlights

• Protection of Civilians: The number of security incidents continued to increase – in October, INSO registered 520 cases (478 in September and 440 in August). The number of damaged civilian houses increased from 31 (September) to 40 (October). OHCHR recorded six civilian casualties (all injured), all of which were in non-government controlled areas (NGCA).

• IDP Integration and Durable Solutions Strategy: On 28 October, the Government of Ukraine adopted the Strategy on ‘Integration of IDPs and implementation of mid-term solutions on internal displacement until 2024’ and its Operational Plan. The Strategy is expected to be a framework document for further development of the IDP-related legislation and focuses on the key six priorities: housing and property; employment and education; social protection; healthcare; access to documentation; and integration to the hosting communities. Protection partners proactively engaged and contributed to the development of the Strategy, which is a welcomed step towards working more effectively on durable solutions to IDPs jointly with Ukrainian authorities.

• Freedom of movement: On 10 October, additional restrictions for crossings via EECP ‘Stanytsia Luhanska’ were adopted in Luhansk NGCA, resulting in a 63% decrease in the number of crossings through the EECP (from 66,255 in September to 24,537 crossings in October). During the week of 11 to 20 October, crossings were below 1,000 (a dramatic decrease compared to 12,000 crossings in the same period in September). As a result, UNHCR/R2P’s border monitoring found an increase of crossings via the international border crossing point (IBCP) of ‘Milove’. Restrictions limited even further access of NGCA residents to essential protection assistance – which was already very much limited, since COVID19 restrictions applied in March 2020 decreased by 97% the number of crossings. Finally, on 11 November, the latest stricter restrictions applied in EECP ‘Stanytsia Luhanska’ were lifted - switching back to the previously applied rules, according to which NGCA residents are allowed to leave NGCA once per month without prior application/authorization required. Restrictions at ECCPs are particularly concerning in light of the limited humanitarian access to provide assistance directly on NGCA side – according to the Protection Cluster’s response monitoring, only 7% of targeted NGCA residents were reached in NGCA from January to September 2021.

• Access to pensions: On 5 October, Oshchadbank announced that the validity of the IDP bank cards will be no more prolonged automatically starting from 1 January 2022, which raised concerns regarding access to pensions and social payments for IDPs residing in NGCA. Nonetheless, the Ukrainian representative in the Trilateral Contact Group informed about the prolongation of the bank cards until April 2022 – an official statement by Oshchadbank is still pending.

• IDP targeted assistance: On 3 November, the Government introduced an opportunity to apply for prolongation of IDP targeted assistance online through the ‘Diya’ portal. The service is available only in case if the grounds and documents required for receiving IDP assistance remain unchanged.

• IDP housing: On 22 October, the third group of 300 IDPs was selected to benefit from the preferential long-term mortgage loans (KfW). It is expected that in 2021-2022, 680 households (1,768 IDPs) will benefit from this programme – so far, 600 households were selected.

• ECHR Decision on IDP’s right to vote: On 21 October, the European Court on Human Rights held a decision in the case Selygenenko and Others v. Ukraine recognizing refusal to IDPs to vote in Kyiv local elections in 2015 as discrimination based on their place of registration (please note, that in 2019 the Parliament adopted amendments to the legislation, allowing IDPs to vote in the national and local elections)