We were pleased to host a delegation of Ukrainians that were here through the Open World Program. They were hosted locally by Friendship Force Lincoln.

The Ukrainian government was on the verge of signing an agreement with the European Union. The corrupt President suspended the signing, fled, and Ukraine found that they were a country without a President.


Crimea (part of Ukraine) was invaded by Russia and annexed. Many fled Crimea to other parts of Ukraine becoming IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons). Others stayed in Crimea and have been forced to become Russian citizens. They had to give up their Ukrainian citizenship if they wanted their children to attend school.


They said that many Ukrainians are trapped between two worlds.


The delegation was made up of attorneys working with NGOs assisting Ukrainians who have moved and those trying to move by representing the various interests.


As we heard stories of the types of assistance they were providing we began to realize the problems they are facing.


One of the delegates pointed out that being an IDP is not the same as being a refugee - they have not left their country they are just forced to leave their home and reestablish a new life in another part of the country. The laws that support and protect refugees do not apply to IDPs. There may not be laws to cover all of the situations they are working with.


Many people lost their houses and businesses due to the war. They are looking for compensation from the Government to assist them in getting reestablished.


Another problem is that people have suffered from war crimes and crimes against humanity. There are International humanitarian protections that have been violated. The attorneys work to submit information to the International criminal court to make Russia be responsible for those crimes.


Documentation is a big problem. The constitution of Ukraine states that citizens can move about freely. However, it is difficult without the documents - birth certificates, marriage licenses, passports.


As people flee some papers may now be difficult to retrieve. The attorneys are finding ways to help retrieve documents. People who left Crimea have difficulty getting documents out of Crimea because they are now the property of Russia. We heard one case of a person who was in the court system - on trial - in Crimea. The courts seized all of his documents. With all of the documents, and as well the trial information tied up, they are working to get his case tried and settled.


As people fled from Crimea, many were forced to locate in areas of the Ukraine with poor infrastructure and no access to medical services. The government does not provide transportation. The NGOs that these attorneys work for are trying to help with that as well. They are working on schools and medical facilities, getting donations and providing equipment. They thanked us for the support from the United States.


The delegates believe that most Ukrainians still want to adapt the values of the West and they hope things will settle with the upcoming elections.


Pictured Left to Right and shown with brief bios bios of the delegation, along with the job description as written by them is below (printable version).

Bohdan Melnykovych
Male from Kiev
Lawyer, Vostok SOS Charity Organization; Charity organization “Vostok SOS” provides legal, psychological and humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons and citizens who have suffered as a result of armed conflict in Ukraine. In addition, Vostok-SOS carries out advocacy in the field of protection of the rights of these categories of persons.
Maksym Tymochko
Male from Sofiyivska Borschagivka (Kiev Region)
Lawyer, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union; Human rights protection and representation of the IDPs in courts of national and international levels (European Court of Human Rights, International Criminal Court).
Viktoriia Petruk
Female from Kiev
Lawyer, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union; The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union (UHHRU) promotes the development of a humane society, based on respect for human life, dignity, and harmonious relations between persons, states, and nature. Through the creation of platforms for cooperation between the UHHRU and other advocates for human rights, UHHRU protects human rights and fundamental freedoms in courts, and among the authorities and bodies of local self-government. UHHRU provides legal aid through 29 public advice centres
Yana Chapailo (Facilitator)
Female from
Program Specialist, American Councils for International Education; I provide assistance and expertise within all components of both Strengthening Academic Integrity in Ukraine(SAIUP) and Seeding academic Integrity in Secondary Schools(SAISS) Projects; facilitate the communication with students and faculty representatives of participating universities ensuring support to their project needs; run public outreach activities and represents the Projects in communication with media and Partners press departments, ensuring it correspond with Project outreach strategy.
Oryna Chylutian
Female from Kiev
Lawyer, Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union; Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union facilitates the development of the humane society, that is based on the respect to human life, dignity and harmonious relations between human, state, and nature through the creation of the platform for cooperation between the members of the Union and other participants of human rights movement.
Asan Amietov
Male from Kiev
Lawyer, NGO Crimea SOS: Crimea SOS focuses on the illegality of the Crimean occupation and the repressive policies of the Russian Federation. We strive to maintain ties between the peninsula and mainland Ukraine by protecting the rights, freedoms and interests of IDPs, and people suffering as a result of armed conflict in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
For complete bios and personal information, logon to the Lincoln South Rotary Club Website and click here.
Open World: https://www.openworld.gov/
Friendship Force Lincoln: https://fflincoln.org/