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Field trips to settlements in Zakarpattya: the main problem of Roma is absence of documents
Residents in Uzhanska St. have to obtain property rights. Lawyer Serhiy Chychak – on the left. Photo by: Oktaviya Adam
Residents in Uzhanska St. have to obtain property rights. Lawyer Serhiy Chychak – on the left.

Property documents, birth certificates – such legal issues are settled by lawyers of Uzhhorod Community Law Center based on Roma organization of Zakarpattya “Roma”. Lawyers conduct field trips every week – in settlements.

Field trips to the places where Roma live is only the part of daily work of Center’s lawyers, as Serhiy Chychak says. For example, from 20 February to 20 March, Community Law Center provided legal aid to 30 Roma – 22 out of them obtained documents. The percentage of successful cases is quite high – almost 75%.

Once a week, lawyer comes to the settlement. Serhiy Chychak gives typical examples of issues settled this month.

On Pirohova St. of Radvanka region in Uzhhorod, where about 30 Roma families live, the main problem is making land and buildings legal. The territory where people live is the property of Lviv railroad – geographically the settlement is located near “Uzhhorod” rail station. Lawyers will find out more about this problem and help people.

The main problem of 30 families from Pirohova St. is making land and buildings legal.

without any signing any contracts. In 10 years they decided to obtain property rights for this house.

- I studied all the documents and visited place of residence and found out that 4 separate houses are situated by single address – so we will have to divide, - Serhiy Chychak says. – First step was talking to ex-owner of the house. He agreed to sign a contract. Luckily, all sides have identification documents.

Absence of necessary documents still remains a problem for many Roma. Recently, Center helped 27-year old resident of Radvanka to obtain temporary identification document. Young woman does not have any documents confirming the fact and place of her birth. Whereabouts of her father is unknown, and her mother does not want to talk to lawyers. In this case, the problem will be settled in court.

- Such field trips and personal communication with Roma is a good method of aid, though it takes long time, - Serhiy Chychak tells. – However, people started contacting with us more eagerly – that is why the results are positive.

While lawyers help Salka Dyenda obtain birth certificate, temporary identification is her only identification document.

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

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