Internally displaced persons in Ukraine urgently need durable solutions

Promoting durable solutions for the 1.4 million people registered as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine.

26 November 2019, Kyiv, Ukraine – The United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), in collaboration with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), convened discussions with central government authorities, members of parliament, local authorities and civil society organizations about promoting durable solutions for the 1.4 million people registered as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine.

“It is important that we continue our efforts to find durable housing solutions for internally displaced persons. The Government’s current durable solutions and integration strategy expires in 2020. We need to reflect on what we did so far and commence a dialogue on the strategic approach to durable solutions for IDPs in Ukraine”, stressed Ms. Osnat Lubrani, UN System Resident Coordinator in Ukraine, Humanitarian Coordinator.

Mr. Oleksii Ilyashenko, the Deputy Minister for European Integration at the Ministry for Veterans, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine stressed the need for a new strategy on durable solutions for IDPs. “The new government is striving to ensure protection and integration of internally displaced persons. We need to review the approaches established by the previous strategic document and develop a new effective strategy, in cooperation with international organizations, which will concern people living on both sides of the contact line. This is very much in line with the willingness of the President of Ukraine to ensure peace and to protect all citizens of Ukraine”.

Mr. Sergiy Nizhynsky, Deputy Minister for European Integration in Ministry for Social Policy, stated that “Effective access to social services and pensions is an integral element of integration. The Ministry would facilitate ensuring equal access to pensions for all IDPs”.  

To inform development of the new strategy, the NRC presented a Ukrainian translation of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs, a document built around international standards and best practices on ending displacement. The framework provides a definition of “durable solution” and articulates indicators for measuring progress.

Kristina Nechayeva, Protection and Advocacy Coordinator of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), said: “Even though each country has its unique circumstances, situations of displacement have much in common across contexts and continents. This understanding of the internal displacement has been compiled by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, a forum of the UN and non-UN humanitarian partners, in the Framework on Durable Solutions for IDPs.”

Participants of the discussion focused on several pressing issues for IDPs, including housing, jobs, pensions, voting rights and social cohesion.

Given the importance of housing for IDPs, the UN Refugee Agency presented the Recommendations on durable housing solutions for IDPs, developed by central and local authorities, non-governmental organizations and IDP communities during the Solidarity Cities Forum in Kharkiv on October 3, 2019.

The document suggests prioritizing budgetary allocation for IDP housing at central and local levels and ensuring that development of housing solutions involves IDPs in decision-making.

Members of Parliament of Ukraine expressed their readiness to take part in developing an updated strategy on durable solutions for IDPs. Ruslan Gorbenko noted, “The rhetoric of the government has changed. The new strategy has to be elaborated in order to bring real results and real changes in people’s lives”. Nataliia Korolevska said that “everyone who holds a passport of a citizen of Ukraine must have equal access to rights and should not be discriminated against on the basis of registration.”

Participants highlighted the importance of hearing the voices of IDP communities and civil society organizations. Tetyana Kutas from the NGO “The 10th of April” said that the coalition of IDPs in southern regions of Ukraine identified housing as a key priority. They cooperate with local authorities in joint search of the best housing options for each IDP household.

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UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR has been working in Ukraine since 1994, first, protecting rights of asylum-seekers, stateless persons and later also the rights of conflict-affected citizens of Ukraine. https://www.unhcr.org/ua/. For additional information contact Victoria Andrievska: +380 50 413 8404, [email protected]

NRC, the Norwegian Refugee Council, is an independent humanitarian organisation helping people forced to flee. NRC has started its work in Ukraine in 2014 providing protection and assistance to conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine, including Internally Displaced People. For additional information contact Kristina Nechayeva: +38 067 828 58 44 or +38 050 468 45 24, [email protected]

OCHA, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, is the part of the United Nations Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA established its presence in Ukraine shortly after the outbreak of the conflict in 2014. OCHA works with a wide range of humanitarian actors to ensure that relief and protection reach the people in need in a timely and effective manner.  For additional information contact Valijon Ranoev: +38 050 422 3943, [email protected]