In Summer 2015 Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a resolution #427 and #615 that made changes in the Government Resolution adopted on October 1 2014 #505. By those changes they basically created new process of applying for monthly targeted aid. Before that in order to get targeted aid IDP had to go to social security office, but starting from July 11 2015 those people must go to departments of Oschadbank near the place where they live to apply for targeted aid or to get pension. Because of those changes Charity Foundations “Vostok-SOS” and “Right for protection” initiated monitoring of departments of Oschadbank to see if they are ready for new “social” function that was given to them by the resolution.
Does Oschadbank ready to become social security office?
We were checking Oschadbank if is ready to do the job of social security organization and monitored 210 departments in 13 regions of Ukraine with biggest amount of IDPs. The result was disappointing. 90% of departments didn’t have information about how to apply for payments for IDPs, no booklets and posters, only 20% of departments have separate windows that accept documents from IDPs, in 63% of departments IDPs have to wait in a line with the rest of the people who come to use bank services.
In 41% cases they don’t take documents from IDPs at all and send people to central bank departments, sometimes they ask to sign up using call-center of the bank.
An option to be able to sign up for a meeting is another trick used by Cabinet of Ministers. For example today in Nikilaev city it’s impossible to sign up for the next 8 days, and it means that targeted aid will be delayed. IDPs report about this to lawyers of “Vostok-SOS” when they call to hot line to get legal support.
Another big problem is that banks don’t have blanks of application forms or examples how to fill documents, and people working at banks send IDPs “to the website to download application form there”. According to statistics 67% of IDPs are retired people, so it’s difficult for them to do that and there is nobody to explain.
Are they going to track IDPs?
According to Resolution #427 IDPs must sign up a document that allows to disclose their “banking secrecy” in order to get social payments. At the same time the Resolution doesn’t say why there is need for that and what information will be disclosed, how and who may get it.
Employees of Oschadbank say that they are not going to disclose “banking secrecy”, but they collect documents with such permission because that’s required by resolution.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the Cabinet of Ministers is monitoring bank accounts opened in Oschadbank and he also mentioned that there are some retired people who withdraw money at some café at 2-3 am, representatives of non-governmental organizations tried to find out how Cabinet of Ministers gets such data.
Representatives of NGOs sent requests to Oschadbank and the Minister of Social Policy asking about how the data is exchange between them. Ministry of Social Policy violating the law “”About access to public information” refused to send a copy of agreement saying that it was confidential and Oschadbank simply ignored such requests.
Representatives of “Vostok-SOS” filed a lawsuit and will fight to get the information through the court. By the way the agreement with Oschadbank hasn’t been approved by Ministry of Finance yet.
Despite the responsibility put on the state bank by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Oschadbank is not open bank. Attention of national and international organizations is concentrated on monitoring how the resolutions are fulfilled. And there are doubts if those resolutions are legal. So far the bank management chose to be closed for the contacts.
There is no response to NGO requests, even after the management promise to give the answers. 10 minutes before the beginning of press-conference regarding new mechanisms of payments Oschadbank refused to take part in it, this is Oschadbank’s strategy of information policy for IDPs.
It’s hard to accept that there will be any reaction to requests from IDPs. Let’s imagine that IDP applied to get targeted aid, but he was rejected. IDPs don’t get any confirmation when they file application, they don’t get response to written requests. So the only way here is to go to the court? But would everybody be able to do that?
IDPs are discriminated comparing to “regular” citizens of Ukraine who have a right to choose a bank. Transactions of IDPs are under control and IDPs have no right according to officials to pay in cafes, or make payments at night or in a city different from where they are registered. It looks like IDPs have no right to visit relatives, travel for vacation or on business trips without a risk of losing their status and payments.
Unknown people, thousands of bank operators get access to sensitive personal data of IDPs and are not responsibility for its disclosure. There will be carrying data in envelopes or on flash-drives, because there is no single register for IDPs or single service to provide social services for them.
Today we see that situation with rights of IDPs constantly gets worse. And the inventions of the Government are not exceptional, that’s just logical step of the policy to force those who became a victim of the conflict to go back home.
Aleksandra Dvoretskaya coordinator of legal department of Vostok-SOS for Informator.lg.ua