Despite its disappearance from the media spotlight, the conflict in eastern Ukraine shows no signs that it will end any time soon and ongoing violence continues to contribute to new deaths, injuries, and destroyed infrastructure. According to the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview, 3.4 million civilians still require humanitarian assistance or protection services in Ukraine. Meanwhile, the 2.8 million people living in the Donbas region of Ukraine face daily challenges, including restrictions to movement, mines and explosive remnants of war, accessing official documentation (including birth and death certificates), receiving payment of social benefits and pensions, and obtaining psychosocial support services.
Since 2017, based on research and on-the-ground presence, CIVIC has been assisting the Ukrainian government and the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) in the development and implementation of tools, training, and policies on protection of civilians, including the National Strategy for the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts until 2030. The implementation of the Strategy will help establish a safer and more secure environment in the conflict-affected communities, enhance the prevention of civilian harm incidents and violations of norms, assist those harmed in the conflict, and reinforce Ukraine’s aspirations to apply NATO and EU standards. CIVIC also helped the AFU to establish one of the few civilian casualties tracking and mitigation team cells (CCMT) in the world – and the only known one in Europe. Currently, CIVIC works to ensure the sustainability of the CCMT and is advocating for it to become a permanent structure.
In 2020, CIVIC started its work to strengthen dialogue skills and trust between the Ukrainian military and civilians. To promote constructive dialogue that would benefit the conflict-affected communities, CIVIC organized a course on dialogue facilitation for community leaders and civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) officers. This effort helped strengthen relationships and trust to a level that would allow civilians to discuss sensitive protection issues with military members. In 2021 CIVIC plans to continue supporting communities in conducting facilitated dialogues between civilians and the military.
CIVIC’s work in Ukraine is highlighted in the following publications:
- “When Will This All End?” Voices from Civilians Living in Areas Affected by the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine
- The Way to Become Good Neighbors: Why and how civilians and the military need to better coexist in Eastern Ukraine
- The Crucial Role of Female Officers in Eastern Ukraine
- Civilians caught in Donbas conflict need government system to protect them
- Falling Through The Cracks: Improving Ukraine’s Assistance to Conflict-Affected Areas
- ‘We Are Afraid of Silence’: Protecting Civilians in the Donbass Region