Displaced Pensioners Become Secondary Citizens in Ukraine, – Elena Petryayeva
18:41 / 22 Mar. 2016 / 229
Implementation of special payment cards for pensioners from Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, which cards will also serve as pension certificates, is nothing else but enhancement of discrimination of Donbas residents on regional grounds. Such opinion was voiced by Elena Petryayeva, Head of Community Initiative “Restoring Donbas”. The aim of such actions of the government is to exercise total control over displaced pensioners.
On 14 March the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted regulation No. 167 amending the procedure for payment of welfare benefits to displaced persons. According to the regulation, the Pension Fund of Ukraine shall prepare and submit to endorsement of the Ministry of Social Policy and Oschadbank the procedure for issuing payment cards which will also be pension certificates. The Cabinet of Ministers also obligated the Pension Fund to create a procedure for exchange of information with Oschadbank for opening accounts to recipients of pensions. Production of new cards – pension certificates shall commence on or before 1 August 2016.
The period of validity of the cards shall be up to 3 years. Physical identification of a pensioner in branches of Oschadbank every six months for the first two times and then every 12 months is an indispensable condition. According to lawyers of the Initiative, in such a way the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine got around the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On introduction of amendments into certain laws of Ukraine as to enhancement of guarantees of ensuring rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons”, which came into effect on 13 January 2016. It will be recalled that under the provisions of said Law the IDP certificate has become permanent and the Migration Service has lost its right to put a stamp of registration of the place of residence.
“The Government singled displaced pensioners out in a separate caste, having restricted their rights, and that already makes a discrimination and direct violation of constitutional norms. A pensioner in Ukraine has all rights, while a pensioner from the uncontrolled territories is a second rate person. Any pensioner is free to move around the country and outside it and receives pension, while a displaced person won’t. A displaced person is even restricted to one bank, where he/she will now have to prove that he/she is a displaced person indeed. And what about those whose ability to move is limited for health reasons? There are more questions than answers”, – Olena Petryayeva notes.
Moreover, the regulation of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine prohibits registration of a displaced person at the address of the Labor and Social Protection Department, Migration Service or any other public authority or local government body.
It will be recalled that according to the data of the Ministry of Social Policy, 1 million 744 thousand 788 displaced persons from Donbas and Crimea are registered as of 14 March 2016.
It will be recalled that according to Olena Petryayeva, Head of “Restoring Donbas” Community Initiative, the Government deliberately pushes displaced persons back to the uncontrolled territories. The amount involved is UAH 12 billion.