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Briefing Note: “Birth and death registration for residents of non-government controlled areas of eastern Ukraine”

Civil documentation remains one of the most pressing issues for people living in non-government controlled area (NGCA) of eastern Ukraine. Discriminatory practices in accessing birth and death certificates in Ukraine for people living in NGCA has been an issue of concern for the international community and civil society since the beginning of the armed conflict. Newly adopted Law No. 2268 provides a window of opportunity for simplifying current civil registration procedure for residents of NGCA by allowing equal and effective access to civil status documents regardless of their place of residence.


In April 2018, the conflict in eastern Ukraine entered its fifth year. Although the ceasefire agreement (Minsk-II) of early 2015 remains formally in place and negotiations are ongoing (Minsk-process), localised hostilities continue along the contact line, which divides the territory into two parts controlled by the Government of Ukraine and by the authorities in NGCA. The armed conflict has caused thousands of casualties, the displacement of millions of people, and extensive destruction of houses and infrastructure. With no immediate end in sight, the conflict continues to exacerbate daily lives of millions of people on both sides of the contact line, deepening their dependence on external aid, and flattening hopes for a normal life.

Humanitarian community estimates that 3.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, of which more than a half live in NGCA.

From 1 December 2014 the state authorities officially ceased to exercise their powers and provide services in NGCA. The documents issued by the authorities in NGCA are not recognised by the Ukrainian authorities. NGCA residents wishing to replace their lost, damaged or expired internal passports (Ukrainian identity card), obtain birth or death certificate, access their old-age or disability pension and social benefits, regulate their property deals or inheritance have to take costly, humiliating and perilous journey across one of the five entry-exit checkpoints along the 500 km-long contact line with a special permit system.

Operation(s)/ Webspace(s): 
Norwegian Refugee Council
Original Publication Date: 
05 Jul 2018
Document type: 
Analysis Report