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When rightless status pushes to commit illegal actions
  • Written by Victor Zuev, Odesa regional organization “Committee of Voters of Ukraine”
  • Published in  Events
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Coordinator of the initiative on the reduction of statelessness in the northern districts of Odesa oblast Victor Zuev (on the left) and Mr. Paul from the village of Savchinske. The farmer still has the USSR passport, as he is lack of money to legalize himself. Coordinator of the initiative on the reduction of statelessness in the northern districts of Odesa oblast Victor Zuev (on the left) and Mr. Paul from the village of Savchinske. The farmer still has the USSR passport, as he is lack of money to legalize himself.

Since the beginning of the year representatives of Odesa regional organization “Committee of Voters of Ukraine” and Kotovskiy inter-district Department of Justice perform field visits to the North of Odesa oblast on a regular basis. Human rights activists revealed hundreds of stateless persons with undocumented status, who have problems with obtaining identification documents. Almost each person’s story is a plot for drama work, in which the rightless status pushes people to commit illegal actions. Visit to Frunzensky district confirms that perfectly well. The district borders in the West with the self-proclaimed Transnistrian Moldovan Republic.

According to the previous information, there are about 50 people without citizenship here, who have problems with registration of the status, but are afraid of asking for legal aid. The reason is that the frontier guards already deported many of them, some even got to prison. Lawyers had to go to such people’s homes because people had no finance to reach the village council. Moreover, not everyone has a phone to get in touch with officials.

A third of residents of the district, who asked lawyers for help, are people with passports of already nonexistent Soviet Union. Besides financial reason there is one more point here: they can’t make up their minds to change old passports for the new ones, as they do not understand advantages of such exchange, and also without having money for it.

Other part of clients is people who moved in the 1990th years from Moldova, received certificates of permanent residence, but can't obtain the Ukrainian citizenship. The reason is quite trivial: migratory service always specifies as the grounds of rejection absence of some mysterious document that makes obtaining Ukrainian passport impossible. In addition, most of applicants complain of a high level of corruption due to what they are compelled to work for businessmen illegally for nothing. Everyone who lawyers listened to within field sessions appealed to migratory service at least twice and even three times. But in most cases people heard there that Ukraine did not need them.

In order to survive, people often commit illegal actions - for instance, they steal. Some of these people after serving punishment mend their ways and get engaged in farming. But paradox is that such business activity is also beyond the law for them.

Reference
The project on reduction of the statelessness of persons of the Moldavian nationality caused by collapse of the USSR is implemented by Odesa regional organization of “Committee of Voters of Ukraine” and funded by the European Union.

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