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Right to nationality: how residents of occupied territories can remain citizens of Ukraine
Participants of press conference "The right to Ukrainian citizenship for residents of the occupied territories" Photo by Kherson crisis media center
Participants of press conference "The right to Ukrainian citizenship for residents of the occupied territories"

The right to citizenship of Ukraine for residents of the occupied territories became a key issue of discussion during the press conference that took place on 8 April in Kherson. Representatives of courts, authorities and CSOs analyzed the changes in the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine (specifically Article 257-1) that simplify the procedure for the recognition of the facts of birth and death in the temporarily occupied territories.

According to the lawyer of the public reception of UHHRU on the basis of the Almenda (free legal aid to residents of Crimea) Anna Rassamahina, all the documents adopted and issued by the occupied authorities in the temporarily occupied territory (in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions) are illegal and cannot be accepted by the authorities of Ukraine as the basis for any legal facts. This problem occurred immediately after the occupation.

Long work of human rights organizations and state institutions changed the situation - changes in the Civil Code of Ukraine (Article 257-1) are adopted today. This article is about the simplified procedure for the recognition of the facts of birth and death in the temporarily occupied territories.

“The good news is that you can go to any court of Ukraine. The relative of someone who died or was born and other interested persons can address. For example, the grandmother of the newborn. These statements are considered without delay, that is, immediately after its filing. And after considering the statement all the legal implications of birth and death according to the Ukrainian legislation can be initiated. You can get the inheritance after the specsintact’s death and the child becomes a citizen of Ukraine”, Anna Rassamahina told.

Human rights activists who were engaged in advocacy of these changes fear that this procedure will not work: no statement will be considered quickly. But it works. Courts do comply with the requirements of this article. In the registry of judgments of Ukraine there are about 2000 decisions reached in accordance with Article 257-1. 182 of them are in Kherson region.

As Anna Rassamahina noted, she raised the question whether denials of recognition of the fact of birth or death took place. But she found no failure. This means that either all appeals were reasonable or the simplified procedure does not allow to fully explore the evidence and establish that fact. This, according to the human rights activist, is tempting to reflect, whether in several years some of the certificates will be issued by several courts of Ukraine.

The head of the main territorial administration of justice in Kherson region Roman Khasanov noted that the issue of evidence arose for a long time and it is good that there is an opportunity to help the citizens of Ukraine who are in this situation. Although, of course, this can create some inconvenience for courts and registry offices.

Head of division of state civil acts registration of the main territorial administration of justice in Kherson region Olena Klymenko told about the practical use of the document:

“From 24 February to 31 March 161 people addressed us. The majority applies for registration of death and basically they are Crimeans. 131 people applied with the court decision about birth”.

In the opinion of the judge of the Chamber of Civil Cases Gennady Semizhenko this is the situation of force majeure, when the article in question is not perfect from the legal point of view:

“The paradox is that public authorities cannot carry out registering because of discrepancy of the document, but the courts decide on the conformity of those or other facts just on the basis of these documents. Usually visitors have no other documents, only a medical certificate or its copy issued by the bodies illegitimate on the territory of Ukraine and the courts accept them”.

The judge noted that prior to Henichesk the court received 60 complaints, 50 of them are considered, everyone is happy.
Following the press conference, the participants concluded that the new norm of the Civil Code is executed, although it has some disadvantages and can be used for selfish purposes. For example, by those who want to avoid criminal liability. But complaints from neither public authorities nor the courts are fixed.

Reference
Registration of birth and death that occurred on the territory of Ukraine is carried out by bodies of state civil acts registrationon on the basis of clearly defined procedures and documentation - birth and death certificates. This reference set pattern approved by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
Such certificates are not issued on the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Certificates of the Russian sample are issued in the Crimea, Ukrainian certificates are issued in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but with stamps "DPR" and "LPR". On the basis of these documents the Ukrainian civil registry offices cannot make entry into the electronic registry and issue certificates of the state sample. The negative consequences are obvious. You cannot enter into the inheritance, receive social benefits, and generally confirm the relationship of parents with their own child.

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