The electronic pass-entry system in the ATO area does not eliminate the problems, but brings new risks, – “Restoring Donbas”
11:04 / 25 Mar. 2015 / 481
Implementation of electronic pass-entry system in the ATO area does not simplify the filing and control over the dislocation of citizens, but, on the contrary, will create new challenges for Donbas residents. This conclusion was made by experts of the community initiative “Restoring Donbas”, who have studied recent changes related to the temporary procedure of crossing the ATO zone border.
On March 20 Security Service of Ukraine announced the test run of electronic pass-entry system in ATO area. After March 25 the system will work entirely and paper passes will be invalid. It is planned that citizens, who have received pass, have to show only id card at checkpoints. It is stated that new system will reduce the interference of officials in this process, decrease corruption, and significantly speed up the procedure itself.
However, electronization of pass-entry system in its current form does not solve existing problems. In addition, it has a number of new risks connected to the violation of citizens’ rights to freedom of movement.
In particular, in case of absence of electricity or the Internet at checkpoints, as well as defaults of the software, checkpoint’s work will be paralyzed. In such situations, people will have no documents, which confirm their right to pass the border due to the fact that all paper passes will be withdrawn.
In addition, the implementation of electronic pass-entry system passes could become ground for official’s misuse. Citizens will not be able to appeal against the acts or passivity of authorities, if their application are ignored or denied because of the interaction through electronic communication facilities.
Markiyan Lubkivsky, adviser to the chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine, claimed that there will be no explanation of the reason for the refusal to grant a pass. This statement caused a great concern. Earlier, Security Service of Ukraine had a list of such reasons, for instance: forged documents or false statements, threat to national security and public safety.
Current edition of the Procedure does not mention that Security Service is obliged to give explanations to denials. This part of the document requires immediate improvement, because current edition is the basis for Security Service’s misuse (violation of citizens’ rights and corruption).
Along with the new threats, there are unsettled problems, which arose from the very beginning of pass-entry system (in January 2015). All this time the system actually operated in manual mode – on the basis of the agreements at checkpoints. Nowadays, it is transferred to electronic format that essentially changes its form, but does not change the content.
Primary issues, which require the revision of the Procedure:
– To solve the problem of ATO area residents, whose documents have been lost or destroyed, at the legislative level. In present circumstances, they can not get new documets or recover it either in DNR/LNR or outside ATO area. Nowadays, they can not apply for pass registration either personally or by mail or e-mail.
– To develop a transparent and clear mechanisms of pass registration under the accelerated procedure.
– Nowadays, it is prescribed that citizens must apply for this issue to the head of the Coordination Group sector
– To provide the possibility of documentary evidence of illness or death of relatives living in the ATO area. Today relevant documents issued by DNR or LNR are not recognized in Ukraine. State agencies of Ukraine were removed from uncontrolled territories in November 2014.
– To extend the operation of permissions for all existing sectors in ATO zone. Nowadays, even after the implementation of electronic databases, passes will be in effect only in specific sectors. This significantly limits the freedom of citizens’ movement, complicates the possibility of the personal document’s submission.
– To publish Temporary Procedure for crossing the border of ATO zone officially. Till March 24 the Procedure has not been published in a special edition of “Voice of Ukraine” and “Uriadovy Courier”. It is available only on the website of the Security Service of Ukraine and site of State Fiscal Service of Ukraine. This complicates the understanding of moment when the norm was operating. Accordingly, the issue about, how to contest the denial or whether there is any opportunity for such appeal, is not resolved.
Community Initiative “Restoring Donbas” call the responsible authorities for consulting with the public in order to resolve these and other priority issues of the current pass-entry system. Electronic format of the system will not bring positive changes, but will complicate the situation without their solutions.