Ukraine

Ukraine Protection Cluster Update: April 2016

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PROTECTION CONCERNS

  • On 1-30 April 2016, OHCHR recorded 43 conflict-related civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine: eight killed (two women and six men) and 35 injured (11 women, 21 men and a boy; the sex of two adults is unknown). Of those eight killed: five were killed by shelling; two by explosive remnants of war (ERW); and one person was killed by small arms. Of those 35 injured: 18 were injured by shelling (including a 15 year old boy injured in the village of Olenivka in Donetsk region on 27 April); 14 by ERW and improvised explosive devices (IEDs); 2 by light weapons; and the exact cause of injury of one person is unknown. In total, from the beginning of the conflict in mid-April 2014 to 30 April 2016, OHCHR recorded 30,766 conflict-related casualties in eastern Ukraine (civilians, Ukrainian armed forces and members of armed groups), including 9,346 killed1 and 21,420 injured.

  • The Protection Cluster is concerned that the Cabinet of Ministers has not introduced amendments to the relevant by-laws and regulations to bring them in compliance with Law No 921 (former Draft Law 2166) despite being asked by Parliament to produce these amendments by 13 April, making it difficult for IDPs to renew their IDP certificates or to register as IDPs. The amendments should provide instruction as to how regional offices of the Department of Social Protection will: (i) enable habitual residents/stateless persons to register as internally displaced; (ii) enable the provision of alternative evidence to establish displacement; (iii) provide “way-forward” procedures as to how to verify IDP presence, given the removal of the requirement of the SMS stamp. In Severodonetsk there are cases of IDPs and stateless persons who are eligible for IDP registration and whose applications are being transferred to Kiev, where their requests are on hold; and cases of IDPs with alternative evidence (other than the internal passport and propiska) to confirm previous permanent residence in the NGCA or in contact areas of the GCA, whose requests to receive IDP registration are pending. Another concern is the lack of regulations explaining how village councils should create and maintain registers of IDPs. The recent case of Berdiansk, where lists of IDPs were published online and the public asked to verify IDP addresses, is an example of how confidential data may be misused and how IDP verification should not be done. According to Law 888, as of 10 December 2015, residence registration has been transferred to local city or village councils for all Ukrainian nationals. However, it is not clear if these local councils will become involved in ‘verifying IDP presence’.

  • Freedom of movement remains an issue in Luhansk oblast. The only official pedestrian crossing point at Stanitsa Luhanskaya Bridge was closed on 8 April by the Ukrainian Government due to increased shelling in the area. This resulted in longer queues in GCA/NGCA of Donetsk region. In addition, locals have reported several cases of people making payments (to the amount of UAH 150-300) to be able to cross the contact line to reach Luhansk city. People have resorted to crossing the line of contact unofficially across Severskyi Donec river in Slavyanoserbskyi district, even though this area has not been de-mined.

  • The demand for shelter for GBV survivors is increasing, including for those who suffer violence from intimate partners who have recently returned from participating in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. However, lack of specialized shelter and safe spaces for GBV survivors remains a key protection gap. Even though some crisis shelters, including in the city of Zaporizhzhia and Druzhkivka (Donetsk region), provide shelter for a very limited number of GBV survivors, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Dnipropetrovsk do not have any such shelters at all. The Luhansk Regional Centre for Psychosocial Support is discussing with the state administration the possibility to provide shelter for SGBV survivors in Borovenki village.

  • The Mine Action Sub Cluster is concerned about the increased risk of landmine and ERW accidents in spring and summer. This is due to seasonal agricultural work as well as the summer school holidays which result in additional movement of the population, thereby increasing the risk of exposure to potential mine and ERW injury.

  • The humanitarian situation in Donetsk oblast remains precarious due to difficulties with accreditation. The harsh economic environment in the self-proclaimed ‘DPR’ is characterized by high inflation, rampant unemployment and increased poverty. The inability of the de facto authorities to provide basic services to the local population and IDPs remain a major challenge.

  • The Child Protection Sub Cluster is concerned about reports of an increase in domestic violence families of demobilized ATO soldiers, which have a negative impact on the psychosocial well-being of children. There is an urgent need to provide psychosocial support to demobilized soldiers, especially those living in rural areas where there is less access to social services and employment and livelihood opportunities. Another protection concern for children is a proliferation of small arms among demobilized soldiers.