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27.06.2014

Mysterious money supposedly allocated for refugees

   

Civic Activist Olexandra Dvoretska reports that she and colleagues have been unable to learn any details about the 25 million UAH supposedly allocated by the  Cabinet of Ministers to provide temporary accommodation for Crimeans forced from their homes because of Russia’s occupation of the peninsula.

Efforts to find the relevant resolution have also proven fruitless making the reports in the media on Wednesday baffling, especially since they quoted Ostap Semerak from the government speaking at a press conference.  A person at Semerak’s office also knew nothing about the money.

On the other hand, Interfax Ukraine, UNIAN and other agencies had no reason to make up a press conference given by Semerak.  Nor would it be likely that they themselves came up with the explanation that the money was targeted aid of 200 UAH per day. 

Clarification is particularly important given the hopelessly inadequate measures thus far taken to provide for the large numbers of people displaced as the result of the annexation of the Crimea and the trouble in eastern Ukraine caused by Kremlin-backed militants. 

Law no. 4998-1, passed on June 19, is supposed to resolve the problems of these ever-increasing numbers.  It unfortunately does nothing of the kind and human rights groups and activists working directly with people displaced (often, like Dvoretska, themselves forced from their homes) have either demanded serious amendments or asked President Petro Poroshenko to veto it.

The bill only covers the Crimea and the areas where anti-terrorist operation are or have been carried out. There have already been terrorist attacks by the Kremlin-backed militants on railways, a railway bridge and others.  If these become more serious and frequent, then people will surely begin fleeing their homes from those places as well.   

The law claimed to need no additional government spending which seems wildly unrealistic unless it was seen only as a smoke screen passed to pretend that the government was doing something.  It also makes unwieldy demands, effectively requiring people who may have left their homes in great haste to ‘prove’ that they were displaced.   

There are also a number of provisions which would be likely to lead to corruption or simply leave people without any help with accommodation since such help would be denied if the people do not agree to the place proposed.  Such demands may be realistic if a person is fleeing for a week or two.  They are not necessarily reasonable in the present situation where people have no idea when they will be able to return. In such a situation, they will clearly want to consider other factors, such as work or educational opportunities, etc.  With the law in its current form, they go where sent, or face having to find a place to stay themselves.

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