Working together to solve common problems for IDPs

NGOs, civil society representatives, people from conflict-torn areas and IDPs themselves collaborated in the Together for the Result Forum to discuss the rights of IDPs

Форум "Разом до результату"

On October 30th, 150 civil society representatives, members of NGOs, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and people from conflict-affected areas attended the Together for the Result Forum in Kyiv.

Established by the Ukrainian Institute of Human Rights and supported by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the forum sought to address the most pressing problems for IDPs, and present solutions. Representatives from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Donbass-SOS, Public Holding Group of Influence, Programme Counselor on IDP issues, Crimea SOS, the Norwegian Refugee Council and other groups were also in attendance.

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Luhansk, Donetsk regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and others from conflict-torn areas discussed the need for housing, employment, electoral rights and pensions.

Civil society representatives further commented on the current situation for IDPs, and presented the necessary steps the state should take to ensure their rights, including the freedom of movement and the right to social protection.

“In accordance with the Principles on Internal Displacement, IDPs, on the basis of full equality, enjoy the same rights and freedoms as other persons in their country. The purpose of the forum is to jointly develop a plan and vision on how citizens, activists and legislators can work together to improve the protection of the rights of internally displaced persons and those living in the conflict-affected areas,” said Noel Kalhoun, Deputy Representative of the UN Refugee Agency in Ukraine.

During the panel discussion, “Are there prospects for a common result?”, representatives from the Ukrainian Institute of Human Rights presented an analytical review of legislative initiatives, registered with the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, that concerned the rights of IDPs and those affected by conflict. Their speeches prompted a lively discussion among guests at the event. Valeriya Lutkovska, co-founder of the NGO, the Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights, proposed a unique, direct channel of communication: The Union of IDPs. This open platform would coordinate the joint actions of civil society representatives and parliamentarians. Members of Ukrainian Parliament, Mustafa Nayem, Natalia Korolevska and Olena Sotnyk also expressed their commitment to ensuring the implementation of appropriate rights for IDPs.

 

 

Positive experiences of integration among IDPs were also shared. In the panel discussion, “Integration of IDPs – Best Practices,” civil society representatives Hrystyna Shostyro, Yana Lyubymova, Larysa Sydorenko and IDP Nataliya Malyugina, discussed successful relocation stories in new territorial communities.

In the second part of the forum, the participants consulted each other in small groups to discuss advocacy and election rights for IDPs, advocacy and communication at the level of territorial communities, pensions and social payments for IDPs, and protecting the rights of IDPs in national judicial authorities.

They developed a list of recommendations for each concern that were presented during the final session at the forum. All recommendations will be summarized and passed on to members of the Parliament of Ukraine, and the Inter-faction Deputy Association – Human Rights Coalition.