What You Need To Know:
✓ Ukraine government was 'unprepared' to war-related human rights challenges;
✓ Initiatives for IDPs in Ukraine are positive, but negative for those still in separatist-held areas;
✓ Ukraine cannot put responsibility for human rights in East Ukraine on to Russia.
“Unfortunately the Ukrainian government has faced this problem unprepared… and when it comes to human rights, there are no easy solutions,” Halyna Bocheva, Advocacy Expert at Right to Protection Charity, told Hromadske.
There are a number of positive legislative initiatives with regards to Internally Displaced Persons already on the Ukrainian territory; however, the legislation talking about those still in the separatist republics really just bars them from access to resources.
According to Bocheva, as it stands now, those who want to commit terrorist acts in Ukraine are able to get through the border with bribes, but those normal civilians, who cannot afford to bribe border guards, those are the ones who are suffering.
“The government and humanitarian organizations have to come up with long-term plans as …we have to be honest with ourselves. This conflict won’t end tomorrow.”
The humanitarian plans made by Ukraine and outside organizations need to be broadened from immediate supplies, to a plan that includes opportunities for integration; housing, livelihoods, access to jobs being of primary concern. This needs to be systematized by the government, according to Bocheva
With respect to assigning responsibility, Bocheva does not believe that Ukraine can push responsibility for the humanitarian crisis on to Russia.
“First of all we have to know that Russia is not too responsible for human rights on its own territory,” she explained.
In a war situation, Ukraine has the right to wage war and kill the combatants, but this does not exempt it from protecting the rights of civilians, and especially the rights to life.
Civil society, which has done an outstanding job aiding displaced persons, has to explain human rights to the Ukrainian government, Bocheva explains, as it is very unlikely that anyone will be able to explain anything to the separatist governments.
Hromadske International's Angelina Kariakina and Volodymyr Yermolenko spoke with Halyna Bocheva on June 21, 2015.