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Igor Miroshnichenko and «AirLight», which gives hope

Public organization «AirLight», created by civilians who were affected in the war zone in the Donbass, is making tangible results in assisting them both in preparing legislative acts and in resolving legal, medical and material issues. The head of the organization Igor Miroshnichenko, who is not afraid of routine, slowness, and sometimes even irresponsibility on the part of the authorities in preparing crucial documents, including from the side of the Ministry of Social Policy, whose representatives, with a staggering salary, would cost as much as possible, conducts this work objectively and responsibly to listen, or even be guided by recommendations of PO «AirLight», and remember that help is needed daily for the victims, and some die without waiting for it.

After 5 years, after the outbreak of hostilities in eastern Ukraine, the civilian population continues to suffer from their consequences. People injured, shell shock, disability, were not protected by the state. And until now, at the legislative level, the issue of assigning the status of a victim as a result of the ATO has not been resolved, the registry of injured civilians has not been opened. There is no social protection for the victims, including families and relatives of the deceased citizens, in the form of compensation for material and moral damage. There is no targeted medical assistance and rehabilitation of civilians affected, and the quality of prosthetics for people in need remains poor. There is nothing to talk about delaying the resolution of the issue of providing housing for internally displaced persons, including temporary and social ones.

Since December 2015, since the creation of the Public Organization “Airlight”, its leader Igor Miroshnichenko, to this day, has been relentlessly fighting for the rights of civilians affected in the ATO zone.

 

On the eve of the New Year holidays, representatives of NGO «OP «Spilna Sprava» visited two orphanages. One of them is the «Lyubistok» orphanage, which has 21 children. They say there is very comfortable. Children have the opportunity to use the computer class, gym and go to a regular school. The director of the orphanage loves his job and knows everything about every child. «Lyubistok» was opened in 2002. Once, in its place, there was a destroyed kindergarten. The director of the orphanage, Nikolai Zhadan, found this building in 1999. He managed to find money for the restoration of the building and build an orphanage there.

 

The mission of PO “Airlight”: the realization and protection of the rights and interests of civilians (primarily persons with disabilities and injuries) who suffered in the territories of the ATO, as well as, if necessary, the solution of social, economic, humanitarian and other problematic issues, related to the special regime established in certain territories  of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, with application of the norms of International Humanitarian Law and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Igor, tell me, what prompted you to create the Public Organization “Airlight”?

I note right away that the organization was created from members of our family — immigrants from the city of Donetsk. In August 2014, we had to leave our hometown because my wife was injured. Her hand was torn off right in the center of Donetsk. After going through five operations, fortunately, the hand was saved. In the process of treatment, we encountered certain difficulties, namely, problems of treatment, adaptation and the like. And they were not protected in this situation. There was no state assistance for the injured civilians, after the injuries. Then, we met people who found themselves in a similar situation, and began to try to “protect ourselves” in some way. They appealed to deputies, to medical institutions, wrote to the Verkhovna Rada, but all to no avail. So, in fact, I met with the National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine (All-Ukrainian Public Association). At one of the events we were told that in order to have some kind of support and, in the end, to be heard, it is necessary to create a public organization. What we did was me, my wife and daughter. Having begun to show social activity, we managed to unite people with disabilities around us and keep a record of affected civilians. All kinds of international meetings, forums and round tables have also become an integral part of our activity, moreover, the activity generated by the inaction of our state. After all, the state does not provide any assistance to the injured civilians, IDPs.

Igor, I would like to talk a little about your legislative initiatives, in my opinion they are more than worthy of attention.

We had an idea to introduce a proposal for amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the status of war veterans”, so that this Law protects people with disabilities, because, for example, after being injured, a person received a disability, and a disability group was assigned to him as a general disease, and it didn’t tear him off arm, leg, or any other injury. Accordingly, no support and assistance from the state was provided. In this matter, we were supported by the UN Monitoring Mission, as well as Valery Sushkevich, Commissioner of the President of Ukraine for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I twice attended meetings of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Veterans and Persons with Disabilities in order to prove and convince ministers, representatives of law enforcement agencies, deputies about the need to make such changes. As a result of our perseverance and corresponding support of the above parties, these changes, however, have been made. Also, a resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine was adopted, which developed a mechanism for implementing the Law. Now, this provision gives the right to people who have been injured, disabled, have collected all the necessary documents and undergone a retraining for MSEC, to receive a disability group equated to a war disabled person. And there are already certain benefits, including for communal, medical services, in accordance with the provision that has already been registered and fixed at the state level. Thus, we managed to protect an insignificant part of civilians who suffered as a result of military operations.

“The main thing is that we gave hope to the injured people. The hope that the situation will change. Now, people know that they are not alone. After all, having united, we are at least somehow trying to protect ourselves, and we have a result, despite the fact that we are looking for opportunities “out of nothing”, because there are no resources from the state, neither humanitarian, nor financial, nor medical, stands out «

Igor, tell me, today, are you waiting for the state’s support and assistance as the head of РO “Airlight”, or are you only relying on your own strengths?

At the moment, I am part of a working group to write a draft Law on the designation of the status of injured civilians, so that these people, including children, have the social status of the victim and, accordingly, help and support from the state, and were not forgotten and abandoned to their fate, as it is now. Just on issues related to the lack of victim status, ignorance of the records of injured civilians and many other problems that are now facing the injured, we prepared and sent a written appeal to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. Also, we wrote relevant requests to all state structures, ministries, departments, departments, regional administrations, and they confirmed that there is no status, no help, they are powerless, the state is powerless in helping civilians who have suffered.

“In my opinion, today, our main task, in the legislative field, is to unite the efforts of public organizations in order to nevertheless reach out to officials about the need to change attitudes towards the affected population, elderly people, people with disabilities, children who have suffered and as before, remain without attention from the state ”

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