Once again about “internally displaces persons”, to be precise, forced migrants (IDPs), the legal term which is used by the country to refer to a considerable part of its population. Personal values and beliefs, and the war forced about 1.5 million people to leave their homes. The first wave of the people who came from the conflict zone looked like the angry hedgehog from a popular Soviet animated cartoon, the hedgehog with a bundle of things and dim prospects.
Discrimination of IDPs from Donbas. Is it Just the Beginning? Part 1
This is another statement which is legally wrong: According to Ukrainian laws, pensions are to be paid out only to those pensioners who live on the territory controlled by Ukraine.
In accordance with Ukrainian legislation (Pension Act of Ukraine, Article 85): Pensions are paid out without taking into consideration the salary /wages of the retired person at the place where the retired person lives and without taking into consideration the place of the registration. This means that getting pension using a bank card issued by a Ukrainian bank and registered on the controlled territory is legal according to the Civil Code of Ukraine (Article 29. Place of residence of a physical person). It means that, if a retired person has lived at least one day in the town where s/he got the bank card, getting the pension by them is legal. So, Roman Prokopenko sums up, “The fact that the state could not defend its territories from occupation does not give the right to some of its representatives to discriminate people on the ground of their registration”.
IDPs and Ministry of Social Policy: “The War of the worlds?”
The relations between IDPs and the authorities are rather complicated. There are a number of limitations which are connected with the violation of their elective franchise; there is no systematic help to IDPs with getting accommodation, and regular social payments are absent. There is also corruption at checkpoints. The task of humanitarian support of the citizens who have left the occupied territory and those who are still there is solved by volunteers who are totally exhausted, international funds, and private organizations. There has appeared one more problem: almost a million people are accused of fraud.
State structures, which are to observe legal rights of taxpayers, initiate real mass discrimination of Ukrainian citizens on the ground of the place of their residence.
Minister of Social Policy Pavel Rozenko claimed at a press conference that, according to the law, aid to forced IDPs is given to forced IDPs, in other words, to those who have come to the territory controlled by Ukraine and who have been registered in the corresponding way. The minister said, “Whether you like it or not, we will follow these rules”. Human rights activists share this point of view of the minister: payments for renting an accommodation should be given to IDPs (884 Hryvnyas a month to retired people and minors, and 442 – to those who work or are able to work). And this is fair. However, lawyers draw the attention to the fact that it is not admissible to deprive citizens of Ukraine of social payments to children, invalids, and to pensioners because they live on the occupied territory. This is illegal because, under Ukrainian laws, this is mass discrimination of Ukrainian citizens on the ground of the place of their residence.
The European Court took sides with the pensioner.
The claims of the Ministry of Social Policy and the Security Service of Ukraine aimed at depriving 350 thousand people of social payments is commented on by Natalya Tselovalnichenko, lawyer of Donetsk regional organization “Ukrainian Voters Committee” and head of public organization “Luhansk Human Rights Group”.
“The violation of constitutional rights of Ukrainian citizens who are IDPs or civilians living on the occupied territory is a negative factor which doubts the European way of development of our state
and gives grounds to sue the state”. Precedents exist. For example, the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case “Pichkur vs. Ukraine” of November 11, 2013. The state was accused of violating human rights (property right; discrimination) for the rejection of the Pension Fund – to pay pension to a citizen of Ukraine who left Ukraine for good. The claimant – Ukrainian pensioner who lived in Germany – was paid the debt and the compensation, all in all, 5,000 Euros.
Summing up, I would like to cite expert Roman Prokopenko again, “Discrimination is not just a problem. It is a crime, and the state which propagates and practices discrimination commits a crime. One should not think that the state discriminates only the citizens of the Donbas. If the society does not resist, the state will inevitably go further.
Larysa Byelozerova, DonPress
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