New Victims Subjected to Discrimination by the National Bank of Ukraine

Human rights defenders state that the regulatory documents issued by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) divided people from the Crimea into three groups: the ones residing in the Crimea, internally displaced people and citizens having left the peninsula and residing in mainland Ukraine still having the Crimean residential registration. The challenges faced by people from the third group are caused by the short-sighted policy implemented by the NBU and are impossible to be settled because of inadequacy of the legislation in force.

At first, the Regulation No. 699 enacted by the NBU deprived people from the Crimea of their right (enjoyed by all citizens of Ukraine) to employ banking services. Intending to solve the problem, the NBU issued the Regulation No. 810 understanding that the status of an internally displaced person (IDP) is equal to the status of the resident of Ukraine. However, it works only for those representing the second group. The people having been residing within the mainland territory of Ukraine for a long time and not considered forcibly displaced (by definition), cannot be provided with such a certificate. Thus, they are deprived of the opportunity to open bank accounts, receive payments, exchange currency etc.

One should note, that conveying false data as to the time of departure from the Crimea in order to receive the IDP certificate, calls for criminal responsibility.

Daria Svyrydova, the lawyer of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union said the following: “The lack of clear, coherent and consistent business strategy to be applied with regard to people residing in the Crimea or those having moved to the mainland has led to such a situation. Consequently, many regulatory legal acts and legislative initiatives aimed at bringing rights and regime established in the occupied territories under regulation, meet no real demands. At the worst, the above-mentioned documents cause deterioration of the situation faced by people (as in case with the NBU).

Lawyers supported by the Strategic Litigations Fund of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union appealed to a court filing a complaint against the actions performed by the NBU. However, according to Serhii Zaiets, the expert of the Regional Centre for Human Rights, the case might be reviewed in court for a long time. Meanwhile, the Crimeans will have to solve their everyday problems growing like a huge snowball.

One should mention that Valeriya Lutkovska, the Ombudsman of Ukraine took the side of the lawyers in the lawsuit brought against the National Bank. According to Serhii Ponomarov, the Head of the Non-Discrimination Department of the Secretariat of the Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Human Rights, the Ombudsman finds the Crimeans to be subjected to discrimination, thus, keeps a close eye on the above mentioned legal proceeding having a representative present at every court session. In compliance with the applicable legislation, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights is willing to provide the court with her opinion-letter in the case, should a corresponding appeal be issued by the County Administrative Court in the City of Kyiv.

The scheduled session shall be held in the County Court in the City of Kyiv (8 Kamenieva Str.) on January 22 at 10.30 am. Before the set date, the NBU was obliged to provide the court with an anti-discriminatory expertise which is to be carried out when issuing regulatory documents of the kind.

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