Photo: Tomas Vlach

Total number of IDPs, 31 December 2020 (IDMC)

Photo credits: M. Levin

National Frameworks

The Ukrainian Government has taken measures to assist and protect IDPs, including the adoption of a law on internal displacement in 2014 and the creation of the Ministry for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine in 2016 (which later became the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories). In 2017, the government adopted a three-year strategy to reintegrate displaced people and facilitate long-term solutions. Programmes to implement the strategy have focused on housing, property rights, social benefits, education, employment, medical care, and support for host communities.

National Practices

Adapting Pre-Existing Housing Schemes to Meet IDPs’ Specific Needs

With over 90 per cent of Ukrainian households owning their homes, the right to housing is particularly dear to the country’s citizens. Yet for Ukraine’s over 1.4 million registered IDPs who fled the conflict that began in 2014 in Eastern Ukraine, housing remains one of the most pressing challenges inhibiting durable solutions. The City of Mariupol is widely reputed to have one of the best housing programmes for IDPs in Ukraine. Its housing programmes arose out of necessity, adapting to evolving conditions over time. Mariupol’s current housing strategy for its some 98,900 registered IDPs15 is integrated within the city’s wider development strategy, which includes measures for IDP humanitarian assistance, support for livelihoods, investment in public transport, access to medical and psychological support, measures for people with disabilities, and cultural activities. Read more

The Role of Joint Advocacy in Protecting IDPs’ Electoral Rights

Ensuring that IDPs can exercise their full voting rights has been a challenge in Ukraine. Following the 2014 occupation of Crimea and the beginning of armed conflict in the East of Ukraine, some 1.4 million IDPs were eligible to vote in presidential elections based on existing laws. However, until late 2019, IDPs were effectively excluded from participating in local elections and voting for half of the national parliamentary seats. In Ukraine, changes in national electoral laws occurred in part due to a multi-year advocacy campaign that brought together national and international NGOs, international organizations, the Council of Europe, and members of Parliament, some of whom were IDPs themselves. In addition to the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons’ (Ministry of ToT) Interagency Working Group on Improving National Legislation on the Protection of IDPs Human Rights, the Protection Cluster brought together over 100 actors to coordinate advocacy efforts related to internal displacement, including on electoral rights. Read more

“Your Rights” Mobile Phone App

IDPs in Ukraine can easily access information about their rights on their mobile phones. In 2018, UNDP Ukraine, as part of the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme, developed a smartphone app called, “Your Rights” for IDPs and gender- based violence (GBV) survivors. The free downloadable app generates practical solutions and legal pathways for them to restore their rights and receive redress. After answering a series of questions in the app to clarify their specific situation, IDPs receive step-by-step guidance on how to protect their rights, including the contact details of free legal aid providers. Read more

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