During May, representatives of NGO "Agency for Democratic Development of Donbass" and the Representative Office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Ukraine organized round tables "Integration of IDPs and community cohesion in the Donetsk region: challenges of 2017" in Lyman (May 17), Druzhkivtsi (May 24), Toretsk (May 24), Bakhmuti (May 25) and Kostantynivka (26 May).
The event was attended by representatives of city councils, employment centers, Kramatorsk local center for the provision of free secondary legal aid, public, journalists and internally displaced persons from the occupied territories of the Donbas.
The participants discussed the main legal needs and problems of IDPs in the communities of Donetsk region - access to medicine, education, justice, and learned about successful cases of social adaptation of IDPs in communities.
In particular, during the events, it was discovered that the main legal issues of concern to the population are the issues of social security of the population (for example, the issuance of targeted cash aid to IDPs, if you are married and your husband/wife is absent). One of the topical issues is the introduction of medical reform and major changes to the Law of Ukraine "On Health Care".
Olena Soloshenko, the Deputy Head of the Sloviansk Legal Aid Office, said it is important today to unite the efforts of opinion leaders, government officials and specialized organizations that assist IDPs, around the legal requirements of IDPs, to protect their rights in relations with the authorities and courts, especially this refers to IDPs that are in different risk groups - people with disabilities or HIV infections.
Oleksii Kormiletskyi, a Luhansk OPORA expert, noted that social adaptation and placement of internally displaced persons is one of the main areas of work of local self-government bodies and non-governmental organizations; the successful implementation of re-training and self-employment programs for IDPs will be able to accelerate the process of adaptation and make them real members new communities.
The resident of Yenakiyevo Iryna said that she had lost her job at the Yenakitevo Metallurgical Combine in March:
"The enterprise was registered in the controlled area, we received salaries, we had pensionable service. After nationalization, when we were offered to open new labor books with the seals of the "DPR", I decided to quit. I did not receive the estimated money and part of the salary," the woman said.
As a result of the round tables, the participants approved a joint action plan of the public and local self-government bodies with a view to the successful integration of the IDPs in the above communities.
As the head of the Agency for Democratic Development of Donbass Serhii Kovalenko, the following initiatives were included in the joint action plan of public and local self-government bodies in Donetsk region:
- Organization of a wide-ranging information campaign among internally displaced persons using media resources, volunteers, social workers and businesses (including mobile operators). The purpose of the campaign is to integrate IDPs into communities, motivate their development and actively participate in the lives of new communities.
- Creation of a unified base of possibilities for professional retraining and professional development of internally displaced persons among regional volunteer organizations.
- Establishing legal advisory points in city libraries for the purpose of providing free legal assistance to IDPs.
- Providing horizontal interconnection of regional employment centers and volunteer organizations of Donetsk region with the purpose of providing wider opportunities for employment by internally displaced persons.
- Encouraging the establishment of bodies of self-organization of the population (BSP) of IDPs and their involvement in the life of local communities. Attracting representatives of internally displaced people to local government in communities where there are places of their compact residence.