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Oleksandr SIENKEVYCH: “Ensuring the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs)”

CoE: In Europe, more than 4 million people have been displaced inside their own countries in recent decades due to armed conflicts and violence.  The specific situation of internally displaced persons was debated by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe at its session in Strasbourg on 29 October 2019.

The report presented by Marianne Hollinger (Switzerland, ILDG) and Oleksandr Sienkevych (Ukraine, SOC) stresses the essential role that local and regional authorities play in promoting integration, participation and non-discrimination of IDPs.

Oleksandr Sienkevych: “Being a Ukrainian citizen, I am particularly mindful of the situation concerning IDPs. Ukraine has received 1.7 million IDPs due to the situation that arose following the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine by the Russian Federation and further occupation a part of the Ukrainian Donbass. This amounts to 42 percent of the total European IDPs. “

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The Congress calls on local and regional authorities in Council of Europe member states to ensure the effective exercise of IDPs’ fundamental rights, to find housing solutions for them and to facilitate their integration into both public life and the labour market.  It also calls on them to raise awareness among host communities regarding the plight of IDPs and to help fight prejudice.

Lastly, the Congress underlines the importance of enabling IDPs to return to their places of origin and the need to adopt more flexible legislation that allows them fully to exercise their voting rights.  It also recommends that member states co-operate with local and regional authorities in drawing up policies designed to improve IDPs’ living conditions and ensure the fair and transparent distribution of funding for IDP-related projects.