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Briefing Note: People in eastern Ukraine: without housing and compensation

According to the Shelter Cluster, over 17 000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict in eastern Ukraine. 1 With no immediate end in sight, the conflict continues to exacerbate the daily lives of thousands of people who have lost their homes and lands. The Government should undertake concrete commitments to provide appropriate remedies for the loss of rights, value, use, and/or access to housing, land and property. 

Legislation overview

Currently, there are no adequate mechanisms to address the losses for the housing, land and property damaged or destroyed as a consequence of the hostilities in Ukraine's East.

Ukrainian legislation provides for criminal and civil remedies for breach of inter alia, rights to property, privacy and family life or home, against the perpetrators and wrongdoers, including criminal complaint to law enforcement agencies (police, prosecutors, security services, etc.), complaints to heads of state bodies/superior authority for wrongful acts/omissions of state authorities and civil suit for compensation of damages. Article 19 of the Law of Ukraine “On Combatting Terrorism” provides for compensation for damages caused by terrorist act from the State budget, in accordance with the law, with subsequent reimbursement claim by the State from the offender. No such law has yet been adopted.

According to the Action plan for organisation of restoration of damaged (destroyed) social and transport infrastructure, housing and life support systems in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, 2 Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Social Policy, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance were entrusted to develop procedure for assessment and compensation for damages to victims of antiterrorist operation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Government is yet to take steps in this direction.

There are several draft laws that consider the right to compensation for damaged/destroyed housing. These legislative initiatives mainly address the interests of registered internally displaced (IDPs) and disregard the genuine concerns of those IDPs who cannot or would not register, or those conflict-affected people who would not fall into the category of displaced people, because they continue to live in their demolished houses, for lack of alternative.

Norwegian Refugee Council
Original Publication Date: 
31 Jul 2017
Document type: 
Analysis Report