In the Crimean Field Mission on Human Rights, the reception of the Centre for Civic Education "Almenda", the reception of Crimea SOS, and other public organizations obtain numerous complaints of citizens of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (ARC), perturbed by the actions of Ukrainian border guards. We are talking about the “special attitude”, shown by the border guards to the citizens of the Crimea and Sevastopol when crossing the administrative border of the ARC.
Moreover, the employees border guard service systematically require from the citizens of Ukraine to provide proof of the need for and purpose of their trip (certificate of employment, traveling certificate, etc.).
In this case, the border service workers often perform a full inspection of personal belongings of citizens without their consent and proper clearance.
Those citizens who cannot “convincingly” explain the purpose of their trip to the mainland of Ukraine, cannot provide any documents about the purpose of their trip (except the passport of the citizen of Ukraine), as well as the citizens, in whom the workers of border guard service noticed something suspicious, are refused to cross the administrative border of the Crimea and enter the mainland of Ukraine without giving any reason. They are compulsorily dropped from road or rail transport, and forced to go back to the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine, actually preventing their free movement on the territory of Ukraine.
The above actions of the officials of the State Border Service and the restrictions set by them are prohibited by the current legislation of Ukraine.
Thus, in accordance with the Article 19 of the Constitution of Ukraine, the government authorities and their officials are obliged to act within their powers, on the grounds and in the manner prescribed by the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine.
In accordance with the Article 33 of the Constitution, everyone who is legally present on the territory of Ukraine is guaranteed freedom of movement, free choice of place of residence, and the right to freely leave the territory of Ukraine, with the exception of restrictions established by law. A citizen of Ukraine may not be deprived of the right to return to Ukraine at any time.
Paragraph 1 of the Article 10 of the Law of Ukraine On Securing the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine stipulates that citizens of Ukraine have rights for free and unrestricted entry to the temporarily occupied territory and exit from it via entry-exit control points upon presenting document which confirms their identity and Ukrainian citizenship. According to the legislation of Ukraine they do not need to submit any other document or provide any information about the purpose of their trip in such cases.
Moreover, the actions of the Border Service of Ukraine workers are contrary to the provisions of the Article 2 of the Protocol 4 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which states that everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.
In addition, at the moment the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has not approved the Procedure for entry the temporarily occupied territory and exit therefrom, which would allow resolving of a number of issues on crossing the administrative border between the Region of Kherson and the ARC, as required by the Law of Ukraine On Securing the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine.
Currently there are no restrictions to freedom of movement within Ukraine, which were set by the laws of Ukraine for Ukrainian citizens – residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol. Thus, limiting the freedom of movement of citizens of Ukraine, and their crossing the administrative border of the Crimea and the Region of Kherson, officials of the Border Service are against the law, acting in their sole discretion that is called tyranny in a civilized society.
By their illegal actions the Border Service officials undermine the confidence of the citizens of the Crimea and Sevastopol (Ukrainian citizens) to the authorities of Ukraine, and impinge on the governmental authorities.
We believe that Ukraine, being a legal and democratic state, should strive for full compliance with international human rights standards and national laws, immediately stop malfeasance and tyranny on the part of the power officials.
Proceeding from the above, and in order to prevent violations of the rights of Ukrainian citizens to free movement on the territory of Ukraine, we urge the Ukrainian authorities to observe the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and to prevent violations of human rights and freedoms in their professional activities, and demand:
from the authorized persons of the State Border Service of Ukraine to check the facts of illegal actions of the border officials who serve on the administrative border of Crimea and the Region of Kherson (namely, in Berdiansk and Kherson border detachments of the Azov-Black Sea Regional Directorate) and take appropriate measures to bring to justice.
from the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine to take control over the issue of ensuring the smooth movement of citizens across the administrative border of the Crimea and the Region of Kherson, according to the Law of Ukraine On Securing the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine.
from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine as soon as possible to take and approve the Procedure for entry the temporarily occupied territory and exit therefrom, developed by the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.
Regional Centre for Human Rights
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Centre for Civic Education "Almenda"
Crimean Field Mission on Human Rights
Public Initiative “Crimea SOS”
Legal Information Centre for Human Rights