Calls for modern system of registration
The President, Cabinet of Ministers and Verkhovna Rada will soon be receiving an appeal to reform the present practice of registering citizens. The appeal was drawn up by participants in a forum of civic organizations entitled “What rights does a person without an internal passport [an identification book]?” The forum was initiated by the Kirovohrad civic organization Territory of Success.
Around 40 civic activists from Kirovohrad region and other parts of the country attended. Members of the State Penitentiary Service, the Kirovohrad Department of Justice and the regional centre for social services joined in the animated discussion.
Inga Dudnik, Head of Territory of Success, presented the results of a survey carried out in the Kirovohrad region regarding the problems getting an internal passport which prisoners face. One of the main problems proved to be finding out what happened to the passport after it was removed when the person was detained or during the pre-trial investigation. She said that the organization’s lawyer had needed half a year to track down one person’s document. Ordinary members of the public would take even longer. While not all cases were so difficult, she added, the trend was worrying.
Oleksandr Bukalov, the Head of Donetsk Memorial stressed how immediate these issues are. His organization has been helping people resolve such problems for 10 years, and for the country as a whole the problem remains unresolved.
According to an official from the Department for the Execution of Sentences, in the Kirovohrad region 417 prisoners (17.6% of the total number) do not have passports. 108 never received one, 136 lost them; 12 have the old form passports; and 161 had their passports removed during the investigation.
However the lack of a passport was not the biggest problem. According to the forum members, the biggest hurdle lies in the flawed system of registration which leads to restrictions of people’s legitimate rights and interests.
Volodymyr Bocharov who is in charge of penal issues for the Ukrainian Network of People Living with AUDS and HIV believes that the system of registration is badly in need of reform. Not only is it an instrument for total control over citizens, but it is also a certain type of business for the authorities. He said that just in the Kirovohrad region the police had in 2010 found 8639 people living without registration or current passports. Fines were imposed with the overall amount ranging from 9 to 299 thousand UAH. This is while the region has not created conditions for such registration. There is no centre enabling homeless people to be on a formal list. This means that such fines, providing the State with stable income, will continue.
The organizers of the forum have called on all NGOs concerned about this area to join their efforts.