On June 28, the government of Ukraine established the institution of Commissioner for Internally Displaced Persons. It aims to facilitate the rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and create conditions for their voluntary return to their abandoned places of residence or integration to new places.
The Commissioner for Internally Displaced Persons is the key official in Ukraine who protects the rights of displaced citizens. Analysis of the Commissioner’s powers suggests that the role is strategic as opposed to providing special assistance directly to citizens.
Duties and responsibilities relate to:
- Implementing measures in accordance with the procedure established by law to promote the social security of IDPs and citizens of Ukraine who left their place of residence in the temporarily occupied territory because of the armed conflict;
- Social rehabilitation of persons who are deprived of personal freedom as a result of the occupying Russian armed forces or bodies;
- Contributing to informing IDPs about job opportunities in relevant settlements and facilitating employment;
- Creating conditions for the voluntary return of citizens of Ukraine, foreigners and stateless persons from the temporarily occupied territory, including IDPs and people who went abroad, to the abandoned place of residence or integration into their new place of living, including their professional and social adaptation;
- Implementing measures to promote the education of displaced persons and citizens of Ukraine living in temporarily occupied areas.
It should be noted that the Commissioner’s role does not extend to solving problems of IDPs with housing but focuses on analyzing housing needs and solving issues of social protection of IDPs and those who went abroad.
The Commissioner is required to report to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the situation with IDPs at least once a month.
The guarantees of observance of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of IDPs are established by the Law of Ukraine on “Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons.”
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