01.11.2021

Appeal on the issue of simplifying the process to become a Ukrainian Citizen

To the President of Ukraine
Zelensky V.O.
Street Bankova 11, Kyiv, 01220

Dear Vladimir Alexandrovich!

On September 15, 2021, during the Ukrainian-Russian human rights dialogue organized by the International Helsinki Association and the Center for Civil Liberties, representatives discussed the issues associated with protection of the rights of Russians persecuted by the Russian authorities for political reasons.

Participants in the international human rights dialogue noted that Ukraine continues to be an unfavorable country for asylum seekers. The amendments to Ukrainian law, which you initiated, aimed at increasing the level of legal protection in Ukraine for Russians who are persecuted for political reasons have not been fully implemented.

Human rights activists of our two countries discussed the application of the Decree of the President of Ukraine from March 27, 2001, № 215 “Issues of organizing the implementation of the Law of Ukraine ‘On Citizenship of Ukraine ” regarding the obtaining of Ukrainian citizenship by citizens of the Russian Federation persecuted for their political beliefs.

According to the Decree (as amended by the Decree of 23.08.2019 №594 / 2019 “The issue of simplification of acquisition of Ukrainian citizenship by foreigners and stateless persons who took part in the implementation of measures to ensure national security and defense of Ukraine, and citizens of Russia Federations that have been persecuted for their political convictions ”), the political motives for the persecution of Russian citizens must be confirmed by a certificate issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Ukraine in accordance with the procedure established by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (CMU).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has developed a procedure approved by the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 301130 dated December 27, 2019. The procedure requires the applicants to file for a certificate in person and exclusively in the country of permanent residents. That is, a Russian citizen persecuted by the Russian authorities must apply for a certificate in person at the diplomatic mission of Ukraine located in Russia. This procedure poses a serious threat to the individual’s security. If the individual has a residence permit in Ukraine, they can apply directly to the Foreign Ministry.

Thus, the implementation of the Decree of the President of Ukraine № 594/2019 is effectively blocked by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. This is indicated by the number of certificates issued in the last eighteen months, four. At the same time, the number of Russians in need of protection from political persecution has steadily grown. In 2019-2020, 133 Russians applied for asylum in Ukraine, despite the complexity of the procedure.

The provisions of the Presidential Decree of March 27, 2001, № 215 are another obstacle to obtaining Ukrainian citizenship. This decree also requires applicants to submit their appeal for citizenship exclusively at the place of permanent residence. Ethnic Ukrainians, who have the right to acquire Ukrainian citizenship by territorial origin, face the same obstacle.

Based on the above, we ask you:

To consider the implementation of paragraph 2 of your Decree of 23.08.2019 №594 / 2019 for the immediate development and submission to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of a draft law aimed at simplifying the procedure for acquiring Ukrainian citizenship by foreigners and stateless persons who participated (participate) in the implementation of measures to ensure the national security and defense of Ukraine, and citizens of the Russian Federation who have been persecuted for their political beliefs.

To consider amending the Decree of the President of Ukraine of March 27, 2001, № 215, to exclude from this document unjustified procedural restrictions.

To сonsider amendments to the Procedure for issuing certificates of political persecution of Russian citizens, considering expert proposals prepared by the Right Cause Human Rights Association (PO).

Appendix:

Analytical reference PO “Right Cause” (pdf). 

The appeal is signed by:

  1. Counsel, PhD, associate Professor BEREZOVSKYI ANDRII ( Ukraine).
  2. Lawyer, advocate KLABUKOV ROMAN (Ukraine).
  3. Lawyer advocate, arbitral trustee POIARKOV VOLODYMYR (Ukraine).
  4. Lawyer, advocate  SKORBACH OLEKSII (Ukraine).
  5. Apostolic Orthodox Church, diocese Belarus, bishop ZELENKO OLEKSII (Ukraine).
  6. NGO Belarusian house in Ukraine, representative in the city of Odessa ZAITSEV YURII (Ukraine).
  7. BUKACH VOLODYMYR Head of NGO People’s Bureau of Investigation (Ukraine)
  8. LUKIANOVA ALONA CEO NGO “Public Oversight”
  9. KUZAKON MYKHAILO CEO NGO ODESA POLITICAL PLATFORM (Ukraine)
  10. HUTSOL KATERYNA CEO NGO Information and analytics service (Ukraine)
  11. Head of NGO “Ukraine is us” HOLODOK VITALII  (Ukraine)
  12. Head of the Board of Center for Civil Liberties OLEKSANDRA MATVIICHUK (Ukraine)
  13. KAVATSIUK OKSANA Head of NGO Yuji (Ukraine)
  14. Head of the Board, Doctor of political sciences, Professor SAVA MYKHAILO NGO SOVA Expert Group (Ukraine)
  15. MYKHAILYK OLEH Head of NGO Human Rights Association “Right Case” (Ukraine).
  16. FUNTOVYI IVAN CEO NGO Priority Ukrainian interregional associations (Ukraine).
  17. The Executive redactor YAKOVENKO VALERII, NGO media “In the case” (Ukraine)
  18. SAZHYN IHOR, NGO Komi Memorial (Russia) 
  19. HANNUZHKINA SVITLANA Head of Public Assistance Committee (Russia)
  20. HAIDASH VOLODYMYR Head of Krasnodar regional point of the network “Migration and Law” (Russia).
  21. The Executive Director ASTRAKHANTSEVA SVITLANA  of Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
  22. LYTVYNOVA YEVHENIIA of St. Petersburg Human Rights Council (Russia).
  23. CHERKASOV OLEKSANDR Head of NGO Human Rights centre Memorial (Russia)
  24. Union of Journalists of Russia, member of the union RIEZNIK SERHII (Russia)
  25. SHYRSHOVA KHRYSTYNA Head of Branch №3 of the Rostov Regional Bar Association of Rostov-on-Don (Russia)
  26. Head of the Board of Human Rights Centre ZMINA PECHONCHYK TETIANA (Ukraine)
  27. Yakuninsky Committee “Freedom of conscience”, cleric MIKHNOV-VAITENKO HRYHORII (Russia)
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