Continued hostilities in Luhansk and Donetsk regions has led to extensive conflict-related damage to civilian property on both sides of the contact line, with around 50,000 residential buildings damaged since 2014, of which an estimated half have been repaired (80 per cent in GCA). In addition to the houses not repaired, new damages continue to be recorded. Conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine should have access to an effective remedy to claim restoration of their Housing, Land and Property (HLP) rights, in particular to receive compensation for damaged or destroyed property.
The right to property is enshrined in international human rights law and guaranteed by the national legislation of Ukraine. The loss of control over part of the state’s territory does not absolve the Ukrainian government of its obligations to respect and protect the rights of individuals on its territory/within its jurisdiction, including the right to property and to an effective remedy (restitution or compensation). There are several response measures that the Ukrainian authorities can implement to restore HLP rights of conflict-affected people, such as rebuilding and repairing destroyed and damaged property, provision of (alternative) housing, financial assistance and compensation. While the Ukrainian legislation on rebuilding and repairing destroyed or damaged property as a result of the conflict is clear and well-established and State authorities have been implementing it very early after the conflict started, further work is required to improve the compensation response mechanism and the note therefore focuses on compensation.
Indeed, the introduction of a new procedure for the payment of financial compensation for people affected by emergencies constitute a positive development. Nevertheless, further improvements are required to guarantee HLP rights of conflict affected people. This note outlines the current compensation system in place in Ukraine and highlights opportunities for improving its effectiveness in restoring HLP rights of conflict-affected people.