Responding to immediate needs of IDPs through the Resource Centre

On 17 February 2015, a press-conference to present first results achieved by the IDP Resource Centre was held in Kyiv. For the first four months the Centre has assisted over 4,500 IDPs by providing consultations on psychological and legal issues, employment, and accommodation, and delivered humanitarian assistance to more than 2,600 resettlers.


Working in close cooperation with both the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsperson) and the volunteer movements aimed at addressing the challenges of internally displaced persons, UNDP’s “Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development Programme in Ukraine” has supported the start-up phase of the Resource Centre for IDPs. This joint project of 11 leading civil society organizations, charitable foundations, and initiatives who work side by side the specialists of the Office of the Ombudsperson is aimed to assess the situation, monitor needs, and devise strategies for joint action for IDPs.


Among these organisations: Centre for Civic Education "Almenda," Centre for Civil Liberties, Employment Centre of Free People, Krym SOS initiative, Vostok SOS initiative, First Aid Kit for Refugees initiative, Crimean Diaspora, Social Action Centre (No Borders Project, Friends House initiative), Charitable Foundation "Pravo na Zakhyst," Charitable Foundation "Rokada," just to name a few.

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As Maksym Butkevych, Coordinator of the Resource Centre for IDPs, noted, the main objective of the Centre is three-fold: first, to coordinate civic and government initiatives in addressing IDPs problems; second, to contribute to the IDPs-relevant policy development; and, finally, to provide humanitarian and legal aid to IDPs from Crimea and eastern part of the country. In addition, the Resource Centre carries out monitoring visits for an assessment of IDPs needs in places of compact settlement across the country.
Since its launch in October 2014, the Centre has carried out monitoring visits to 31 of IDPs compact living settlements in over 10 regions of Ukraine, reaching out to 1,919 IDPs for needs assessment purposes. The monitoring reconfirmed the lack of employment, unsecured housing, scarce household appliances and issues with documentation and receiving social assistance as priority challenges. The Centre has assisted over 4,500 IDPs by providing consultations on psychological and legal issues, employment and accommodation. Moreover, the Centre has also supported the provision of humanitarian aid to IDPs, ensuring that help gets to people who need it the most - people with disabilities, families with children, the elderly, and single-parent families.
Janna Lukyanenko, Representative of the Ombudsperson for the rights of internally displaced persons, underlined that the start-up work of the Centre has also stimulated change within the Office of the Ombudsperson itself. Despite budgetary constraints, the Office has recently decided to single out the issues related to IDP rights into a separate unit that would dedicate its attention exclusively to monitoring of the situation with rights of the resettled people.
"The work started up by the Resource Centre has served a catalyst for creation of the new unit, and will continue contributing to operations of the Office of the Ombudsperson – not only through direct assistance to the internally displaced persons, but also through analysis of the existing laws and regulations that may affect IDPs, helping develop amendments to existing regulatory provisions," she emphasized.
While many issues will remain on the government's agenda even after the families and individuals manage to successfully complete their move to the new host community, right now the core needs of IDPs have to be addressed, their rights protected or restored and doors to a life in the new setting kept open. The Resource Centre will have a lot of work in the upcoming months, but its team is ready and energized for action.