Ukrainian human rights defenders believe that the laws for protecting civilians unlawfully deprived of freedom by Russia are effective but need some improvement.
This view was expressed by Aliona Luniova, Director for advocation of ZMINA Center for Human Rights, at the UKRINFORM – Media Center Ukraine.
“The way the services established by the laws are provided should be reviewed. And the conclusions should be made regarding what exactly does not work. Someone from the governmental authorities, from those responsible, should take over this function. I believe that this could significantly help us,” Luniova said.
Generally speaking, as she said, it is great to have Law of Ukraine “On Social and Legal Protection of Persons Deprived of Personal Freedom as a Result of Armed Aggression Against Ukraine, and Their Family Members” in force. It is effective to a certain extent.
As Bohdan Melnykovych, a Crimean Human Rights Group lawyer, emphasized, this law provides for the State’s care of civilian hostages and their family members. In particular, they shall be assigned an annual state cash aid for the period such a person is held in the sites of unfreedom (in the amount of UAH100,000), a single-time state cash aid after the person’s release (in the amount of UAH100,000), a single-time state cash aid in the event of death (loss of life) of a person (in the amount of UAH100,000). In addition, medical rehabilitation shall be provided, legal assistance shall be provided. This category of people shall be provided with a temporary dwelling if needed, and their jobs shall be preserved if the fact of depriving of personal freedom as a result of armed aggression against Ukraine has been established. Certain privileges for obtaining education are provided, too.
According to Anastasiya Kalinina, a CrimeaSOS lawyer, the Commission for establishing the fact of deprivation of personal freedom as a result of armed aggression against Ukraine at the Ministry of Reintegration is active. “According to the Ministry of Reintegration data, 462 annual state financial aid were paid in the course of Year 2022. This is an allowance that is paid every year for a year of captivity. There are also 1,448 single-time cash aids that are paid after release, and in 2023 this figure is much higher – 1,957 annual cash aids and 819 single-time cash aids,” she said.
As Tetiana Katrychenko, executive director of the Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHL) emphasized, the Russians have been using the practice of detaining civilians since 2014. At that time, the families of these people were left alone with problems, there was no comprehensive support. “These people ended up in penal colonies, pre-trial detention centers, basements, in unspecified places of detention, and their families, who were also in the occupied territory, did not know what to do with it,” she emphasized.
As reported, Law “On Social and Legal Protection of Persons Deprived of Personal Freedom as a Result of Armed Aggression Against Ukraine, and Their Family Members” was adopted on January 26, 2022.