STATEMENT of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center regarding the blocked access of humanitarian aid for Donbas civilians across the contact line
Starting from the 3rd of June Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center cannot deliver survival kits to civilians of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, residing across the contact line. According to available information, the same problems with survival kits delivery are experienced by international humanitarian missions, Ukrainian charitable organizations and volunteers.
The reason is the resumption of hostilities near Maryinka, which resulted in closing of "B" sector checkpoints (Humanitarian Center and other organizations were delivering humanitarian aid through them) on the 3rd of June that are closed for humanitarian aid passage till now. During all this period Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center was drawing the attention of mass media, power-wielding agencies and fiscal authorities to the need of finding a comprehensive solution to the problem: admission of humanitarian aid to ATO area, as there is a great number of children and elderly people across the contact line that need it. This is reflected in the UN report, which indicates 3.2 million people living across the contact line, most of them are experiencing significant problems with access to food.
Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center developed and proposed alternative options for humanitarian aid delivery to civilians residing in non-government-controlled areas of Donbas. For example, the letter dated 09.06.2015, addressed for the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Viktor Muzhenko, contained a request from the Humanitarian Center to open a checkpoint for passage in Artemivsk.
On 12.06.2015 the Humanitarian Center got a permit for its convoy to pass through "C" sector checkpoints. By letter #0350/15 the Humanitarian Center informed all the ministries and authorities about the movement of humanitarian convoy on the route: "Kurakhove – Krasnoarmiisk – Kostianstynivka – Artemivsk – Horlivka – Donetsk", including the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Viktor Muzhenko. Subsequently, on 13.06.2015, at 19:30, after passing fiscal and customs control near Maiorsk micro-district in Horlivka, the convoy movement was blocked by "Patriot" battalion of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, despite availability of all required documents and permits, and coherence to all the established procedures.
As a result, the convoy, consisting of 26 trucks with survival kits, was forced to return to Kurakhove and would be sent to Mariupol.
This situation is the proof and the result of lacking system for humanitarian aid admission to ATO area, as well as uncoordinated actions between the services that control procedures in ATO area. Without of the Law on provision of humanitarian assistance under military actions, the decision on humanitarian aid admission is taken by each of the services separately, in manual mode, but without participation of the humanitarian sector.
In this regard Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center appeals to all who work in humanitarian aid sector with a proposal to develop, discuss, accept, and then follow the clear, transparent, and devoid of policy rules and procedures for delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid. The Humanitarian Center repeatedly made the statements on requirement to adopt these procedures at the highest level and offered to use their own experience and vision. Unfortunately, in August 2014, when the first convoy of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Aid Drive left for Donbas, the rules did not appear.
To solve the problem of aid delivery, Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center suggests taking the following operative and systematic steps:
- By the decision of ATO Headquarters determine the checkpoint specially for humanitarian loads. Also determine other checkpoints that convoys can pass through in case the main checkpoint is closed.
- Determine a representative of humanitarian missions, who will participate in the meetings of ATO Headquarters that are dedicated to the subject of humanitarian loads admission. This representative may be the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ukraine.
- Develop and adopt a specific Law on humanitarian assistance under military operations.
We also affirm that Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center helped, helps and will help civilians who are in trouble. We are ready to do everything possible and impossible for this matter.
Due to the forced two-week break in survival kits delivery across the contact line, Rinat Akhmetov set a target to the Humanitarian Center's Board to increase the intensity of humanitarian aid deliveries during the next weeks.
The next Humanitarian Center's convoy will be sent from Dnipropetrovsk to Donetsk on Wednesday, the 17th of June. As usually, all the documents will be formalized and all the procedures will be conformed. We call on all the services involved in organization of humanitarian aid admission to prevent it from blocking. The convoy will start after receiving official confirmation of admission by authorized officials, in addition to obtaining permits and passes.
We hope that Humanitarian Aid Drive convoy will be allowed not only on Wednesday, but also during all the consecutive days. This would be the proof that humanitarian loads are not blocked on purpose.
We kindly ask to create a clear and a transparent procedure for implementation of our common goal - saving the lives of innocent Ukrainians in non-government-controlled areas. The state constantly declares the importance of humanitarian aid delivery at the international level. Minsk Agreement, implementation of which is insisted by the sides of the conflict and the international organizations, also provides guarantees for delivery of humanitarian aid to civilian population.
We are sure that solution of humanitarian problems in Donbas is a step towards peaceful conflict settlement and security in the East of Ukraine.