30 January 2015

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has adopted a resolution in its plenary session calling on Ukraine to fully implement the newly adopted legislation on the rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and further requests the Russian authorities to offer protection to Ukrainian refugees and to allow them to settle anywhere in the country.

PACE calls on the Ukrainian authorities to provide information to IDPs concerning their rights on return or resettlement; to eliminate the discrimination that Roma people face, notably when registering as IDPs; to fully comply with international standards as defined in the 1998 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement; and to develop sustainable policies and structures for those who can return home, including material and medical help, or creating durable alternatives for those who cannot.

Furthermore, the resolution calls on the Russian authorities to simplify the submission of asylum applications, allowing this to take place in areas that are not adjacent to Ukraine and to enable the relocation of Ukrainian refugees to Moscow and St Petersburg where there are family ties. PACE further recommends that identity documents are provided to those granted asylum, enabling them to access social benefits and that the concerted efforts to protect Ukrainian refugees does not detract from the protection needs of other nationalities.

PACE also calls on the international community to simplify the procedure for the submission of asylum applications for Ukrainian nationals.

The resolution details that over 921,000 persons have registered as internally displaced within Ukraine and over 524,000 have sought asylum or other legal status in the Russian Federation. In addition, 3,397 Ukrainian citizens have sought protection in other European countries, mainly Poland and Belarus.

The Assembly stresses that the reports of serious human rights violations allegedly committed during the armed hostilities require objective investigation and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 30 January 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.