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Legal support to people affected by war in Ukraine

Right to Protection (R2P) provides free legal support to conflict-affected people and internally displaced people in Ukraine's North Region

© Antti Yrjönen

DCA Ukraine

The Issue

Ukraine’s North macro-region was under occupation by Russian forces in the first months of the 2022 invasion, bringing a multitude of suffering upon the Ukrainian civilian population.

The region was liberated in mid-2022, leaving thousands of civilians in need of crucial support for housing, social services, and legal aid for cases of casualties and war crimes.

Authorities and law enforcement agencies are taking urgent measures to record the needs but considering the large scale of inflicted damage and number of victims, these efforts are not always effective. As a result, some survivors face problems restoring their rights, receiving compensation, and getting closure.

The Project

With funding and assistance from DCA, our partner Right to Protection (R2P) provides free legal support to conflict-affected people and internally displaced people in de-occupied communities of Ukraine’s North regions, incl. Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, and Kyiv.

R2P ‘s cooperation with local authorities, law enforcement agencies, and free legal aid organisations strengthens the work among different institutions in target regions in order to support the affected population.

The project activities include group counselling and individual case counselling for civilians and victims on cases and restoration of violated rights, recognising them as victims in administrative and criminal proceedings amongst many other actions.

Right to Protection is an internationally recognised actor in the field of global humanitarian aid and development. R2P advocates for the protection of internally displaced persons’ rights and provides free legal assistance on issues related to internal displacement and/or conditioned by the conflict.

Right to Protection works to advance the common cause of all humanitarian actors in Ukraine: to ensure a safe and dignified life for all people living within Ukraine.

Since February 2022, R2P had to completely change its organisational structure and the scope of aid to people affected by the war, and they have ventured into new directions of aid to IDPs and conflicted-affected populations, while the traditional services such as legal aid and protection monitoring have been reinforced and rolled out in new geographical areas.

By early 2023, R2P operates in 21 regions of Ukraine providing various assistance to affected people through its receptions in cities, mobile teams in remote rural locations, on-line tools such as chatbots, telegram channels, and telephone hotlines.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, R2Ps team of more than 1000 experienced lawyers, social workers, monitors, psychologists, advocacy experts, and other staff was able to organise and reach out to about half a million affected people throughout the country, mainly targeting large families with 2 and more children, single mothers, elderly people, people with limited mobility and with special needs, residents of collective centres and other vulnerable categories among IDPs and hosting communities).

In parallel with a concentrated humanitarian response, R2P pursues durable solutions for IDPs and conflict affected population, implementing a number of projects aimed at community-level capacity building of the local government, improving social services in communities and livelihood boosting activities. Advocacy efforts have managed to change IDP legislation in Ukraine and helped Ukrainian refugees in the EU.

The Change

Right to Protection provides free legal aid in Ukraine and ensures that people affected by war can make informed and voluntary decisions on the legal solution they would like to pursue to restore their rights – including applying for compensation for loved ones who have been killed, are wounded or missing, access to housing or shelter, and social benefits or pensions.

In this project DCA provides R2P with resources to strengthen their capacity in order to continue their much-needed work in Ukraine in light of the 2022 Russian invasion. This allows R2P to deliver high quality legal assistance to affected people across Ukraine, including in de-occupied territories, of which several areas still experience continuous attacks and shelling, further disrupting the access and work of legal aid providers, as well as increasing the number of people in need of legal support.

Furthermore, R2P works to ensure local authorities and law enforcement agencies in target areas are aware about the legal framework applicable to support and strengthen the protection of IDPs and conflict-affected people, raising awareness on the procedures, and become more capable of utilising it in their daily work to alleviate further suffering of the war-affected population in Ukraine.

Our work

DCA’s work in Ukraine focuses on two of DCA’s overall goals: To save lives and build resilient communities. We utilise our partners’ local expertise in the areas of cash, protection and legal support for people who have fled their homes in parts of the country most affected by fighting – internally displaced people (IDPs), provide explosive ordnance risk education for different population groups, collaborate with the State Emergency Service in Ukraine on implementing demining activities.

Project data

Title: Legal support to IDPs and conflict-affected persons on territories liberated from occupation in the Ukraine’s North macro-region
Period: 01/09/2022-31/08/2023
Partner: Right to Protection (R2P)
Support: 3,677,157 DKK
Number of people targeted:

  • group consultations on legal aid: 1200 participants
  • individual consultations for beneficiaries: 2800 beneficiaries
  • survivors supported by R2P lawyers in documenting violations of their rights: 150
  • survivors (victims) supported by R2P lawyers to document rights violations: 150

Donor: Various Danish Foundations

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