Finally! Law on Displaced Persons adopted
On Monday, Oct 20, the Verkhovna Rada passed a long-needed law on internally displaced persons [IDP]. Draft law No. 4490a-1 got 249 votes (with the minimum 226).
The bill specifies the procedure for registering IDP and regulates issues regarding employment and social payments.
Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk stated in parliament that the law envisages payment to IDP of 884 UAH , with these payments to be received by 420 thousand people. He estimates a figure of 355 million per month, and 2 billion UAH over 6 months. He also said that adoption of the bill will make it possible to seek money from international organizations to help displaced people from Donbas.
In fact, of course, there are also many thousands who were forced to flee their homes in the Crimea after Russia effectively seized control in late February.
There was widespread frustration and, for those urgently in need of help, despair on Oct 14 when parliament again failed to pass the bill in question. Not one MP even came out to speak with activists calling for the bill’s inclusion on the agenda and a vote on it.
An appeal was launched by human rights organizations asking the speaker Oleksandr Turchynov to ensure that the bill was passed on Oct 20.
Thankfully this has happened. With huge numbers of people forced to flee from Donbas and the Crimea and winter approaching, any further delay would have been inexcusable.
As (repeatedly!) reported, parliament did adopt a law on June 19. It was not, however, the one that had been discussed with civic groups, but a new document only tabled on the day of voting. It basically failed to address any of the very real problems which confront people forced to leave their homes.
On July 20 President Petro Poroshenko announced that he was vetoing the law, saying that it did not establish procedure for state assistance to displaced persons and failed to ensure coordinated and responsible work from state authorities, bodies of local self-government and their cooperation with the community in this area. The law was criticised as largely declarative.
This was a promising move, as was the tabling in parliament on Aug 28 of a draft Law on Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons, No. 4490a-1. This was drawn up in cooperation with groups actively helping IDP.
Months passed, and parliament did nothing although temporary accommodation in sanatoriums, etc. was only an option during the summer months, and there were huge numbers of other issues urgently needing to be resolved.