We present the research of the NGO “Europe without Barriers” (members of WG1) on “Human Rights at the Border” in the framework of the initiative “Human Rights at the Border during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Mobility problems and ways to solve them “.
We begin to acquaint with the results of initiatives supported by the UNP in 2021 within the framework of the project “Support to the activities of the Ukrainian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (UNP EaP CSF) in 2021-2023”, administered by the Institute for Economic Research and policy advice funded by the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and the European Union.
Purpose of the initiative. Promote respect for human rights when crossing the state border by analyzing mobility issues and developing draft decisions for responsible authorities.
The target group of the initiative was citizens of Ukraine and foreigners who crossed or plan to cross the state border of Ukraine and the line of demarcation / administrative border with the temporarily occupied Crimea and ORDLO, including asylum seekers in Ukraine, stateless persons, border residents, internally displaced persons , residents of the temporarily occupied territories.
A study of human rights at the border was conducted in July-October 2021. The methodology included mainly analysis of documents and other written materials, as well as interviews with experts, stakeholders and travelers, including representatives of the State Border Service, State Customs Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local authorities of Volyn, Lviv, Zakarpattia and Odesa oblasts. More than 15 normative acts, about 10 monitoring materials of non-governmental and international organizations, about 30 publications in media and social networks were analyzed.
As a result, a group of authors (some remained anonymous for security reasons) prepared an analytical document consisting of three parts:
- review of human rights issues at the border in the legal framework of the European Union and Ukraine,
- practical aspects of respect for human rights when crossing the border in the EU and Ukraine,
- human rights issues in the context of crossing the administrative border with Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
Information and advocacy campaigns
On September 29, 2021, a public discussion was held on the human rights situation at the borders. Representatives of the State Border Guard Service, the State Customs Service, the State Migration Service, the Ombudsman’s Secretariat, the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation, the CEDOS think tank, etc. took part in the discussion.
According to the study, 12 recommendations were formulated for the Ukrainian authorities aimed at improving the human rights situation at the border and information and analytical material “12 recommendations for human rights in border crossing and demarcation” was prepared.
The main stakeholders were services-subjects of integrated border management (SBGS, SCSU, State Customs Service), non-governmental and international organizations interested in human rights at the border and freedom of movement, as well as representatives of Ukraine’s neighboring countries.
Representatives of the above institutions received the text of the analytical report and its summary, took part in a public discussion, which, in particular, spoke about the access of refugees to the procedure for obtaining protection at the border.
Problems of unjustified denials of entry to citizens of Ukraine, inadequate information about the rules of border crossing during a pandemic, discriminatory treatment and imperfect rules to confirm the availability of funds were presented to 18 representatives of consular services of EU member states during the “Schengen meeting” in the EU Delegation in Ukraine 20/10/2021
The initiative was implemented within the framework of the project “Support to the activities of the UNP EaP CSF in 2021-2023”, funded by the European Union, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and implemented by the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting.