President vetoes flawed displaced persons law


President Petro Poroshenko has heeded calls from human rights groups and activists working directly with displaced people, and vetoed the law on dealing with the ever-increasing number of people forced from their homes since Russia’s invasion of the Crimea on Feb 27, 2014.  The law in question - on the legal status of people forced to leave their homes because of the temporary occupation of the Crimea and the anti-terrorist operation in Donbas -  was passed on June 19.  It had only just been registered in parliament and was not the draft bill which had been discussed with civic organizations.

The President states that he cannot sign the draft law and proposes a number of amendments.  The document posted on the Verkhovna Rada’s official website says that the law does not establish procedure for the provision of state aid to displaced persons; does not ensure coordinated and responsible work from state authorities, bodies of local self-government and their cooperation with the community in this area.  It also fails to meet international standards for protecting internally displaced persons [IDP].  

The comments state that the law is largely declarative, made up of blanket norms which “re-addressed key issues to be regulated by other laws, future decisions of the cabinet of ministers and other subordinate legislation”.

Other criticisms of the law include the following:

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 and railway bridges. People fleeing areas where such attacks take place would not be covered by the bill.

The law claimed to need no additional government spending which was only possible if it was indeed declarative, without any real measures provided. 

It made 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. 

These and other concerns do not appear to have been addressed, meaning that a revised draft bill may still be inadequate.  This is with autumn getting nearer, the number of people displaced every higher.


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