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IDPs from Crimea can get Ukrainian passports in Kherson

Kherson Community Law Center provides legal aid to IDPs from Crimea. Indeed, Kherson region borders Crimea peninsula and a lot of IDPs flee to Ukraine via Kherson. They all need specific kind of legal aid.

Nataliya Kozarenko, the Center’s lawyer, explains that the number of IDPs is slightly going down. The main wave of displaced persons arrived in summer 2014. But even today we still have a steady number of new comers from Crimea and Eastern parts of Ukraine. In December we consulted 41 IDPs. ¼ of issues dealt with restoring passports and ID papers. We have at least 10-15 such cases each month.

The issue of passports is again top-news. Ukraine planned to implement a visa regime with Russia. People without international passports couldn’t get from Russia to Ukraine and vice-versa. Of course it will create difficulties to families in Crimea. By now this decision is still pending. However, local Community Law Center is getting ready for future consultations.

This situation creates a lot of problems. For example, Oleksandr from Crimea was serving his time in prison in Kherson region. When he was liberated, he received only a certificate from local prison. It was not enough to get back to Crimea. Indeed, Russians consider Crimean border as an international one. So people need their passport to cross the border. Oleksandr didn’t have his passport with him during his time in prison and didn’t know what to do to get back home. He had to stay in Kherson and wait for a new passport. It could take up to two months to get his new ID papers. And without his passport he couldn’t request his IDP status and obtain due social payments and facilities. More than 400 persons liberated via amnesty processes were in the same situation.

The Center’s lawyer helped Oleksandr to get his passport in 3 days. Oleksandr is very sick and needed urgent medical assistance. He couldn’t get it without his passport. Thanks to the lawyer’s letter to migration services, Oleksandr received his passport very quickly. State services are trying to help people as well and avoid bureaucratic dead-ends. The cooperation between Kherson Community Law Center and local migration services is helping people in need to receive their documents as quickly as possible.

Additional information: Community Law Centers are established with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of “Human rights and justice” programme initiative. You can learn more on the Centers network activities, basics and principles of work here: www.legalspace.org

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