Only 1% of 4.5 million of Ukrainian citizens, who are registered on temporarily occupied territories were able to vote in early parliamentary elections in Ukraine. Besides that, internally displaced persons will not be able to exercise their constitutional right to vote in local elections, according to the current legislation. In the appeal, NGO leaders call for a dialogue to address the urgent issue of protecting the voting rights of internally displaced persons and migrant workers.

Here is the full text of the appeal:

To the President of Ukraine 

Zelenskyi Volodymyr Oleksandrovych

Dear Volodymyr Oleksandrovych,

A coalition of NGOs for the protection of voting rights of internally displaced persons and migrant workers, together with human rights organizations and initiatives, ask you for a personal meeting to discuss further steps towards the protection of constitutional rights of citizens.

During 2014-2019, we have made significant efforts to guarantee the voting rights if internally displaced persons and migrant workers. We have prepared a number of draft laws based on international standards, conducted wide-scale information campaigns and actively worked with MPs. 

Unfortunately, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of VIII convocation had failed to protect the rights of internally displaced persons and other groups of voters. It was caused by a lack of consistency in state policy on IDPs and citizens living on temporarily occupied territories, as well as by excessive political motivation in decision-making. 

Only 1% of 4.5 million of our citizens, who are registered on temporarily occupied territories, were able to vote in early parliamentary elections in Ukraine. Besides that, internally displaced persons are not able to exercise their constitutional right to vote in local elections. 

We hope that the President of Ukraine and the new Parliament will be able to stop the long-lasting inaction of the state and solve the pressing issues in electoral rights of citizens as soon as the Parliament of IX convocation starts to work. 

Our meeting with you will be not only a chance to develop top-priority solutions for the protection of citizen rights, but also to show the public that the period of indifference to problems of IDPs and residents of the temporarily occupied territories has ended. We have already prepared a basis for this move - developed and organized a wide discussion of the Draft Law of Ukraine #6240 on Protection of Electoral Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and Other Internal Mobile Citizen Groups.

We see the potential for significant progress in electoral rights of internally displaced persons, and ask you to act as a guarantor of the rights and freedoms of citizens who initiates these changes.

We are ready to meet at a convenient for you time.