11 July 2016

The situation of internally displaced persons in Ukraine

A study visit was organized in Odessa concerning the social situation of internally displaced persons from Lugansk and Donetsk regions as well as Crimea. The meeting was attended by employees of the Office for Foreigners as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations and institutions. The study visit was organized by the Rodzinna Przestrzeń Foundation within the project “Center of social support for internally displaced families in Odessa”.

The main goal of the program is to improve the situation and systematization of social support to internally displaced families – their involvement in the labour market and support the development of volunteering. A special kind of support will apply to mothers with children who receive material assistance, as well as the opportunity to spend their leisure time activities with their children. The most serious problems of internally displaced persons are the problems with finding an accomodation and employment (often the cause, however, is the lack of motivation for employment).

The project is planned to support at least 100 families and conduct trainings in the field of activation in the labour market. There was also organized a seminar with the participation of Polish experts during which the employees of the office presented a system of social and medical assistance for persons applying for international protection in our country and the cooperation of the office with non-governmental organizations. The purpose of the exchange of experience and knowledge is to increase capacity to support internally displaced persons in Ukraine.

The types, form and specificity of the system of social assistance provided to internally displaced persons in Ukraine were discussed during the study visit as well. The system is analogical to other citizens of Ukraine, but internally displaced persons have also the right to: monthly benefits to cover housing costs paid for no longer than 6 months as well as a one-time benefit. The situation of internally displaced persons remains difficult, however, the participants stressed that in the social aspect the context of the region must be taken into account – in principle, their situation is not much worse than residents of Odessa.

The delegation of the Office for Foreigners also visited the Odessa Technical and Vocational Education Centre of the State Labour Service and local Labour Office. The organizers presented the principles of operation of these institutions and the forms of support provided to unemployed persons, including internally displaced persons.

Internally displaced persons (IDP’s) are people who were forced to leave their homes and move to another region within their own country. Informally they are also called internal refugees. There are over 1 million IDP’s in Ukraine, e.g., from the area of Donetsk and Lugansk.