Title: IDP’s denied the right to vote.
Details: Having to pay taxes to local authorities is compulsory, yet voting at the elections to elect who manages these taxes is forbidden for some. Internally-displaced persons (IDPs) from occupied territories are deprived of their right to vote in local elections. Some of taking this to court. However, judges have not allowed the case to continue, as there is no law that would permit it. The situation might change by adopting a draft law, but why are the MPs hesitating about its adoption?
Dateline: Kyiv, Ukraine - 17/06/17
Story Number: N/A
Source: ATN television company www.atn.ua
“This production was supported by OPEN Media Hub with funds provided by the European Union”
1/ Story Pitch: Having to pay taxes to local authorities is compulsory, yet voting at the elections to elect who manages these taxes is forbidden for some. Internally-displaced persons (IDPs) from occupied territories are deprived of their right to vote in local elections. Some of taking this to court. However, judges have not allowed the case to continue, as there is no law that would permit it. The situation might change by adopting a draft law, but why are the MPs hesitating about its adoption?
2/ Shot list: Park near the health retreat, where IDPs reside; Central election committee EXT, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Iakov and his wife Zhanna moved to Kyiv in 2014. Local police advised them to leave their native Crimea. The couple was threatened because of their active pro-Ukrainian position. After having settled in the capital, they decided to resume their suffrage.
ITV: Iakov Vityuk, internally-displaced person from Crimea
“I didn’t understand why I couldn’t participate in the political life here. I’m not in the
occupied territory. I live in Ukraine.
In fact, it’s important from the practical point of view. Until IDPs cannot influence the local authorities, none cares of us, IDPs, on the governmental level. Because we are not electorate, they are not interested in us”
The first instance refused the claims of the couple. Iakov’s appeal was successful. He got the right to vote at the local elections, but Zhanna was recommended to vote in Crimea.
ITV: Zhanna Vityuk, internally-displaced person from Crimea
“I was told to vote in Crimea. Come and vote in Crimea. Well, there was not specified to vote in Crimea. I was notified to vote at the place of registration. – Which is Crimea? – Yes”
IDPs pay taxes to the local budget. The government took care to establish simplified procedure of re-registration for entrepreneurs. But IDPs cannot elect those, who will manage these means.
Only at the end of last year, fifty IDPs from all over Ukraine turned to the courts to change their electoral address. But so far, the positive answer was given to only one person besides Iakov. In each case, the judges gave different reasons for refusal.
ITV: Natalia Tselovalnichenko, head of the Luhansk human rights group
“As IDPs were considered not interested to turn to the court, some judges deemed that their rights were not violated as all. According to another approach, IDPs should wait the elections in the uncontrolled territory of Donbas or Crimea”
Such freedom is granted to judges by the lack of clearness of the electoral rights of IDPs.
A draft law 6240 is now registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. If it is adopted, IDPs will need only a written statement about their desire to vote. But the first attempt to adopt this draft law failed.
ITV: Oleksiy Ryabchyn, member of parliament
“When I advocated this draft law, I talked to my colleagues. They said: “Why do we need your IDPs?” – “Your IDPs” – not citizens of Ukraine, but “your IDPs”, which will not vote for the political party, which my colleagues considered worthy to represent”
According to different data, over 200 thousand IDPs live only in Kharkiv region. In fact, this is 10% of the region's residents. But it’s hard to predict how their votes affect the elections. The advocates of the draft law say that there were no serious studies on this matter.
ITV: Zhanna Zinovieva, Iakov’s wife
“If we live in the democratic country, you want people to vote. So participate,
Zhanna will seek for her suffrage. In addition to the cassation appeal, she turned to the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights.