Displaced Donbas residents rally against fresh clampdown on entry permit system

People at the rally against Ukraine's new permit system to enter Donbas in Kyiv. Sign read: "Don't deprive us of the opportunity to help our families!"
"Blockade = Divisions. Divisions = Separatism"
"Don't drive Ukrainians into ghettos!" 

War in the Donbas

As reported by KHPG, both civic activists and IPDs that fled fighting in Donbas are angered by amendments introduced by the SBU [Security Service] to its controversial permit system in place since Jan 21 this year.  Having promised to simplify the system and to invite civic activists to take part in a working group on this, the SBU announced changes which had not been discussed.  One of these, the banning of bus transport across the demarcation line has especially enraged activists and filled local residents of areas under militant control with despair.

On June 22, internally displaced persons from Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts with the support of FreeDonbas and a few other NGOs rallied in support of civil rights and liberties of their compatriots living in the Russian-occupied territories.

The rally participants demanded from the government to take the following steps:

  1. Restoration of direct bus service across crossing the demarcation line cancelled by the government decree of June 14.
  2. Unhindered transportation of medicines and essential goods into the occupied territories.
  3. Monitoring of observance of civil rights and liberties of Ukrainian nationals living in the occupied territories during their passage of the demarcation line checkpoints.
  4. Regular consultations between the Ukrainian leadership and representatives of civilians living in the occupied territories for the protection of civil rights and liberties of Ukrainian nationals irrespective of place of residence or the current political environment.

Another reason for the rally was the Security Service of Ukraine having ignored the opinion voiced by Donbas-based NGOs and volunteer groups regarding amendments into the entry permit system in effect.

In particular, the rally participants condemned cancelation of public hearings regarding the annulment of direct bus service with the occupied territories as of June 14. As a result, instead of establishing enhanced control procedures at the checkpoints to stop the infiltration of terrorists, the Ukrainian government created even more obstacles for the passage of civilians.

“We, Ukrainian nationals displaced from Donbas, believe that the government’s tightening the entry permit system for residents in the occupied territories, whom the President of Ukraine acknowledges as prisoners and hostages, is the touchstone of its attitude towards citizens of Ukraine on the whole”, the statement adopted by the rally participants reads.

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