Ministry of Social Policy has reduced the number of displaced persons using unconstitutional regulations?

Дата: 30 May 2017
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The Ministry of Social Policy states that since July 2016 the number of internally displaced persons in Ukraine has decreased by more than 200 thousand.

As reported by the press-service of the Ministry of Social Policy.

According to the latest data from the social protection departments of the population, the number of internally displaced persons today is 1,584 thousand people or almost 1.3 million families. The largest number of internally displaced persons is concentrated in the Donetsk region – 528 thousand, Luhansk – 289.7 thousand, Kharkiv – 196.7 thousand, Kyiv – 167 thousand. Among the total number of internally displaced persons – 806.6 thousand pensioners, 57.6 thousand people with disabilities, 241 thousand children.

“At the moment, there is a decreasing trend in the number of internally displaced persons registered in structural units on social protection issues. Thus, since last July the total number of IDPs has decreased by more than 200,000 people”, – the report says.

The Ministry notes that this decrease is connected with both the return of people to their places of permanent residence, as a result of which they lose the status of IDPs and with the decisions of local authorities to cancel certificates if there are grounds defined in Article 12 of the Law “On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of IDPs”.

The said law states, in particular, that “in the event of non-notification by an internally displaced person of his return to an abandoned place of permanent residence, the decision to revoke the certificate of IDP status is made on the basis of information about a long absence (more than 60 days) of a person at the place of residence, which gives reasonable grounds to believe that the internally displaced person has returned to the abandoned place of permanent residence”.

The Ministry reports that “according to the results of measures taken only in the Donetsk region during July 2016 – April 2017, more than 190 thousand people were removed from the register”.

The Ministry of Social Policy also reminds that a Unified Information Database of Internally Displaced Persons has been introduced in order to ensure the registration of internally displaced persons.

“This has positive consequences for regulating the status report of IDPs, in particular, it allows to identify doubles at the registration stage, informing the management of the previous place of registration about deregistration of internally displaced person, who moved to a new place of residence”, – informed the press-service.

At the same time Liudmyla Yankina, a human rights defender and project coordinator of the Human Rights Information Centre, believes that such calculations of the number of IDPs are not true, since the methods for obtaining these figures are doubtful and the reduction was implemented artificially.

“Not only that, that unconstitutional laws and regulations have been adopted to confirm the status of IDPs, but also the verifications for this confirmation are carried out with violations of human rights”, – said Yankina in a commentary to the Human Rights Information Centre.

According to her, today’s statement of the Ministry is “an act of defiance against internally displaced persons, since the Ministry of Social Policy is the main factor of IDP’s problems from the moment of displacement”.

“Precisely the agency, which does not properly take into account the internally displaced persons, initiated the unconstitutional changes, the checks of citizens that occur with severe violations of human rights. They apply double standards to the IDPs and the Minister of Social Policy makes discrediting statements”, – notes Yankina.

The human rights defender cited an example of irregularities in the procedure for verifying IDPs.

“A verification group comes to the person at the place of temporary stay and a person, for example a pensioner, went to the store. And the verification records that the person is missing. And then they cancel the certificate on the status of IDPs and the person does not receive a pension. A Ukrainian pensioner should not prove that he has the right to a pension”, – said Yankina.

She also added that the Unified Information Database of Internally Displaced Persons was supposed to be introduced in the beginning of 2015 in accordance with the law and a lot of money was allocated for this. But the registry was introduced only last fall. And the way it works now also creates problems for IDPs. After all, pensions are constantly suspended.

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