Round table discussion on “Armed conflict in eastern Ukraine: damage to civilian housing”

On 17 September 2019, a round table discussion was held on the topic: "Armed conflict in eastern Ukraine: damage to civilian housing".

 Representatives of state bodies (Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Human Rights, Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, General Staff of the Armed Forces, Office of Civil-Military Cooperation of the Armed Forces, Security Service of Ukraine), international organizations (United Nations Office in Ukraine, United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine), UNHCR in Ukraine, UNDP in Ukraine, Delegation of the Council of Europe to Ukraine, Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, International Committee of the Red Cross, Norwegian Refugee Council, Danish Affairs Council x refugees), public sector (NGO "SOS Donbass" UHHRU CF "right to protection") and diplomatic missions (Embassy of Denmark in Ukraine). In total, we welcomed 32 guests.

The speakers were: from UNDP, Marcus Brand; Natalia Melnyk, Alina Pavlyuk, and Maxim Petrov from Donbass SOS NGO; Natalia Timonina from the Secretariat of the Ombudsman of the Verkhovna Rada; Vladimir Shcherbau and Tagui Melkumyan from UN Monitoring; Oleg Martynenko from UHHRU; Igor Shatyofort from UNHCR in Ukraine; and Elina Shishkina from Right to Defense.

“Compensation for destroyed civilian property depends largely on political will. UNDP will continue to support the development of an effective mechanism for systematic documentation and compensation of damaged property in accordance with international law, and in close collaboration with government and civil society, ” said Marcus Brand, Senior Advisor on Democratic Reform and Sustainable Development.

The first question of the round table was devoted to the presentation of the report of the NGO Donbass SOS “Armed Conflict in the East of Ukraine: Damage to the Housing of Civilians.”

The results of the study show that during the prolonged armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, the parties paid insufficient attention to the protection of civilians under international humanitarian law and international human rights law. One of the recommendations to the authorities that developed the report's authors is the need to develop a comprehensive national strategy for the protection of civilians who have been affected by hostilities, including the assessment of damages, the creation of a register of damaged / destroyed real estate, or the resolution of compensation issues.

This analytical report, with recorded facts of violations of international humanitarian law in eastern Ukraine, will be submitted to the International Criminal Court by Donbass SOS.

During the presentation, the speakers also presented the Roadmap for the Development and Commissioning of the Unified Register of Damaged or Destroyed Real Estate and Infrastructure.

The work of the working group at the Ombudsman's office to develop a draft mechanism for assessing the damage caused to real estate as a result of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine was also presented.

Special attention was paid to the problem of human rights violations caused by the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Discussing the possibility of applying a transitional justice model in Ukraine, the main focus was on the need to apply all aspects: compensation for victims of armed conflict; bringing those responsible to justice; ensuring the right to know all historical truth about the course of events; institutional reforms as a guarantee of non-recurrence of armed conflict.

Another topic of discussion was the difficulty and challenges of collecting information related to property damage in Ukraine from the perspective of humanitarian operation experience.

Finally, the participants discussed some aspects of the protection of the rights of civilians affected by the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine: current status and prospects.

The event is part of the implementation of the Initiative on Overcoming Impunity for Mass Violations of Human Rights and Other International Crimes Committed in Armed Conflict, supported by the UNDP Civil Society for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights in Ukraine, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark and the International Renaissance Foundation's Human Rights and Justice programs.

The original article can be found here (in Ukrainian):