Publications

Do You Know that You are a Human?

Discrimination Roma

Human … Who is this? At first glance this question is quite simple. Who does not know who a human is? After all, common sense at every confidence distinguishes human from the environment, it differs from other creatures, it seems to be quite obvious. But as a matter of fact, what seems most familiar is the most difficult, when looking deeper…

It is impossible not to appeal to the philosophy trying to understand why a human in Ukraine becomes “invisible” for all state agencies, and, consequently, is deprived of the opportunity to exercise their rights. Indeed, according to the Article 1 of the Constitution of Ukraine, Ukraine is a sovereign, independent, democratic, social, legal state. And, for some reason in such a state of law a human becomes “invisible” for all state agencies, and, consequently, deprived of the opportunity to implement basic civil rights, including freedom of movement, the right to respect for private and family life, the right to vote and to receive personal documents in case when they do not have some, the access to legal aid is lost.

The lack of identity documents is a constant problem for Roma in Ukraine, and this leads to the violation of their basic rights recognized by the law. Complicated procedure of documents application because of the gaps and inconsistencies in the legal acts of refusal by officials to assist in obtaining documents, can be regarded as discriminatory refusal.

The following example is not an isolated case and allows us to understand the acute problems and related actions.

To “Mukachevo Human Rights Center” applied for legal aid the Roma resident Iurii Forkosh, born in 1987. He was born out of the hospital; state registration of his birth was not done because there was no document that would identify his identity. When he referred to the state department of civil registration on the registration of his birth, he was denied the state registration of birth and recommended to go to the court.
The lawyer of the “Mukachevo Human Rights Center” prepared statement in court to establish the fact of birth.
The court establiched the fact of the birth of Iurii Forkosh, and when he applied to the department of state registration of civil status for the state registration of the fact of birth and obtained the certificate of birth on the basis of a court decision, he was again rejected, because, according to Ukrainian law, if the child is 16 years old, the state registration of birth can be made for it personal statement with the presentation of a passport. Since Iurii Forkosh has no passport, department could not make the registration. To the Department of

Justice in Transcarpathian region, State Registration Service of Ukraine, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine was sent the number of requests by Iurii Forkosh with the request to provide legitimacy answer for denial of the state department of civil registration to register the fact of birth on the basis of the court’s decision and issue a certificate of birth. Provided answers were the same that Iurii Forkosh should contact the migration service at the place of residence for the purpose of registration and obtain the temporary identity card. Presentation of that document is a prerequisite for the state department of civil registration state registration of the birth of a court decision establishing the fact of birth and the issue of the birth certificate. Referring to the migration service in the community, he was denied a temporary registration certificate due to the fact that according to the

Order of registration and issuance of a passport of citizen of Ukraine, obtaining temporary identity card is possible when passport was lost. Also, that order states that in the absence of any document of identity, territorial divisions of State LCA should draw up a temporary license.

The Lawyers of the Mukachevo Human Rights Center prepared a petition to the Transcarpathian Regional Administrative Court on invalidation action of the state department of civil registration in refusing to register the birth on the basis of the court decision and the department registrar obligation to register the fact of birth and issue a birth certificate. Administrative Court issued a resolution which ordered the state department of civil registration to register the fact of birth of Iurii Forkosh on the basis of the court decision and issue a certificate of birth.

But by contacting the registrar department for state registration of the fact of birth and certificate of birth on the basis of local court decisions and rulings of the administrative court, he again was recommended to contact the migration service at the place of residence for a temporary registration certificate or certificate that establishes its identity. Without presentation of one of these documents the birth certificate issue is impossible. In this regard, according to Iurii Forkosh, administrative court issued a writ of execution to enforce the judgment.

Only by enforcement the judgment was made. Department of Registry Office registered the fact of the birth of Iurii Forkosh and issued him a birth certificate.

Today Iurii Forkosh has a birth certificate and a passport that allows him to receive health services, employment, study, get a job, solve property issues to be recognized before the law. And now, does Iurii Forkosh consider the Ukraine as a legal state? It’s a rhetorical question.

Observance of the rights of Roma in Ukraine was only made by the activities of NGOs. Now Roma in procedure of obtaining the identifying documents became interested party to the state. To eliminate differences in legislative, executive and judicial branches of government were developed and presented amendments to the simplified procedures for issuing documents that identity person. Was held an expert meeting of legal advocacy organizations that provide free legal aid to Roma with the representatives of IF “Renaissance”, the Secretariat of the Commissioner of parliament, the central executive bodies, the Secretariat of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations. In the meeting were discussed the formation of a simplified system of issuing passports to members of the Roma minority. It was decided to establish cooperation with representatives of local authorities, legal-educative work is conducted among the Roma population, and at the same time explanatory work is carried out among the staff of local authorities, including the representatives of the local departments of Justice and registry offices.

PS: The centers of legal information and advice that provide free legal aid to Roma people working with the support of the “Roma of Ukraine“, International “Renaissance” Foundation. To learn more about the activities of a network of centers, foundations and principles of work visit the website www.legalspace.org under “Legal Empowerment of Roma communities.” The views in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the International “Renaissance” Foundation and other civil, religious and political organizations and individuals.