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Passports for Roma: three generations - without documents and orphan with newborn baby
Myroslav Horvat and representatives of three generations of the Diuhov family Photo by Romani Cherhen NGO
Myroslav Horvat and representatives of three generations of the Diuhov family

Two Roma families from Transcarpathia for the first time received an opportunity to issue personal documents. In particular, representatives of one of the families lived without passports and birth certificates for three generations. And for the orphan girl getting the passport will become almost the only chance to feed and raise her newborn son.

Great-grandmother’s first step to citizenship

Before three generations of the Diuhov family from Uzhgorod had the opportunity to issue the identity documents, the staff of Law Community Center at the Transcarpathian regional youth Roma Association "Romani Cherhen" had to perform hard work.

“The fact is that Gisella Diuhov, born in 1980, has never had a passport of citizen of Ukraine. Her adult daughter, Viola Duhov, born in 1995, respectively, also has had no passport. Last year Viola had a son, Christian, and the mother couldn’t receive e a birth certificate,” said the Chairman of the NGO "Romani Cherhen", consultant of Uzhgorod LCC Myroslav Horvat.

Back in February, with the support of lawyers of the Center the oldest representative of the Diuhov family Gisella's mother managed to get two birth certificates at the city Department of the registry office - the first one for her daughter Gisella Diuhov (again), and the second certificate - for her newborn great-grandson Christian.

A few days later in the city passport office the lawyers of the Center started the process of collecting documents for registration of the passport for Gisella Diuhov. Only after receiving it the woman could get the birth certificate for her daughter Viola.


Viola (left) and Gisella Diuhov in the passport office. Photo by Romani Cherhen NGO.

The staff of LCC supported Gisella at all stages of case: Myroslav Horvat personally went to the housing office, where they also experienced difficulties with the documents, because the woman was registered at the one address, and lived differently. Finally, Gisella got all the necessary information, the staff of the passport office began issuing, but the family moved from Uzhgorod to Lviv and communication with it was lost. It became possible to get in touch with them only after some time through local relatives.

“Today, Gisella's passport is ready, but its owner should come from Lviv and personally pick up the document at the passport office”, noted Myroslav Horvat.

Then the paperwork for her granddaughter Viola will be performed much faster, and the whole family finally will have the documents. And this, accordingly, will allow them to receive social assistance and provide other opportunities.

The orphan girl is living only with the certificate birth for 20 years

A 20-year-old girl from the city of Chop, Uzhgorod district has to pass a much longer path to obtaining documents for herself and her baby. Being in the 7th month of pregnancy she addressed Law Community Center at the Transcarpathian Association of Hungarian Roma. The girl told that she had recently moved to Chop Roma camp from the village of Kontsovo, Uzhgorod district. According to the girl, her name is Alena, the surname is Demeter, and she was born on January 3, 1996 in the town of Mukachevo, but had never had any identification documents. Her mother Erika Demeter died a few years ago, leaving only a certificate from the hospital about the birth of her daughter. Accordingly, Alena’s future baby could remain without the birth certificate.

The lawyer of LCC Valeria Lakatosh undertook to help the woman, but to get her personal papers was not an easy objective.


Alena Demeter during the first visit to the Chop LCC. Photo by Transcarpathian Association of Hungarian Roma (Chop).

Valeria Lakatosh told Legal Space that in May Alena gave birth to a son in the Uzhgorod hospital: “We managed to negotiate with the main doctor to provide all necessary help, because Alena is an orphan and there was no one to support her. We also managed to issue the baby’s birth certificate”.

Further, according to Valery Lakatosh, the court will have to establish Alena’s identity. The lawyer hopes to be supported by the lawyer of Uzhgorod LCC Valery Navrotskiy. Then the girl will receive the birth certificate and passport, and only then the birth certificate will be issued for her son.

P.S.Community Law Centers that provide free legal aid to the Roma population work with the support of the Roma Program Initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation. You can learn more about activities of Community Law Center network, basics and principles of work on the website “LegalSpace” in Empowerment of Roma Communities.

The opinion of the International Renaissance Foundation cannot coincide with the point of view of authors of publication.

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