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About 40 people could end up on the street: human rights defenders from Cherkasy prevented the illegal eviction of displaced persons

Publication date: August 19, 2022

Author: Olena Orlova/Legal Development Network

The authorities of Cherkasy tried to evict the displaced persons from the dormitory, which belongs to the communal property of the city. People were not offered alternative housing. Lawyers from the public organization “Cherkasky Human Rights Center” intervened in the situation. Their comprehensive assistance forced the officials to suspend the eviction and begin to resolve the situation in the legal field. 

In July of this year, a group of displaced persons appealed to the lawyers of the Cherkasy Human Rights Center with a complaint: “We are being evicted from temporary housing!”. We are talking about nearly 40 people who were evacuated mainly from Donbas and Kherson oblast, and who were previously accommodated in a dormitory of one of the Cherkasy educational institutions. The dormitory belongs to the communal property of the city.

  • «When people moved to Cherkasy at the beginning of the war, the authorities settled them in schools and free dormitories of educational institutions. But since the order was issued that studies will resume in these institutions in the fall, internally displaced persons began to be informed that they should leave the premises», explains Taras Shcherbatiuk, head of the Cherkasy Human Rights Center.
Photo: Taras Shcherbatiuk, head of the Cherkasy Human Rights Center, in the premises of one of the educational institutions where IDPs are temporarily resettled.

At the risk of being on the street, people directly turned to the organization, which has been taking care of displaced people since the beginning of the full-scale war with the russian federation. The center provides both humanitarian and legal assistance, its contacts are well known to everyone who needs such assistance.

Photo: The Cherkasy Human Rights Center adds such information materials to each package with humanitarian aid, in particular for displaced persons.

After analyzing the situation, the Center’s lawyers decided to first of all prepare statements on behalf of each displaced person.

  • «We issued about 50 applications. They studied the situation of each person: who moved and from where, what their financial situation is, and where they plan to live. Our lawyers described all of this in letters of application, which they sent to the Cherkasy City Council and the regional state administration with the demand to clarify the situation: why is this happening, why are people being thrown out into the street? In the letters, we specifically reported that the displaced people have the right to proper living conditions and that the authorities at one time organized the possibility of temporary residence for these people», says Taras Shcherbatiuk.

Written appeals yielded results: appropriate meetings were held in the city and regional councils regarding the possible eviction of IDPs. In addition, human rights defenders launched an information campaign: the head of the organization addressed this issue several times on local television and radio, and relevant articles were published in local media.

  • «The government hasn’t come up with anything strategically new, at least we don’t know about it. But later we found out that people were not evicted but were moved to another floor. And in this way, they were given the opportunity to stay in the dormitory for a certain time. We also do not know how long this situation will last. Since the work on providing housing for IDPs in the city is carried out unsystematically. But our comprehensive actions showed both the local authorities and the specific officials who tried to evict the displaced people that it is unacceptable to do so, that it is necessary to pay more attention to the situation in which people got into, and do everything possible to ensure that they have where to live», summarizes Taras Shcherbatiuk.

At the same time, the lawyer advises those who are faced with a similar problem not to despair and not to start packing immediately. The situations of temporarily accommodated displaced persons may be different: someone signed a relevant contract when settling, an obligation to stay until a certain period; someone was settled without signing the documents. You should not panic and act to your own detriment in any case.

If you have already received such a message, immediately contact lawyers and human rights organizations that care for IDPs. There are many such CSOs, in particular among the organizations of the Legal Development Network. Report the attempted eviction and begin formal communication with the local authorities.

  • «After all, if people will simply obey such “orders”, neither local nor state authorities will do anything. Therefore, the main advice: do not be silent, immediately notify in writing that you are being evicted, that you have nowhere to live. Describe the entire situation: your financial situation, marital status, and whether there are children in the family. Send letters to local, executive, and state authorities. It is by notifying all parties, all entities that take care of the issues of IDPs, in particular, their residence, that it is possible to achieve a response to the request. When certain facts of a possible violation of your rights have already been recorded, the result will be different», believes Taras Shcherbatiuk.

Lawyer’s comment: regulatory framework
Article 47 of the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees everyone’s right to housing. Citizens in need of social protection are provided with housing by the state and local self-government bodies free of charge or at a fee affordable to them in accordance with the law.

According to Part 8 of Article 11 of the Law of Ukraine “On Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons”, local state administrations, within the limits of their powers, ensure the temporary use of residential premises or social housing, suitable for living, for the temporary use of internally displaced persons, subject to payment by the specified persons, respectively to the legislation on the cost of housing and utilities.

The resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of March 20, 2022 No. 332, according to which internally displaced citizens must receive support from the state.

P. S. More relevant information on legal and humanitarian issues – is in the special section #StandWithUkraine. It accumulates materials that may be useful to those who suffer, whose rights are violated as a result of the war between russia and Ukraine.

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