Head of Front-line Inspection: “Not many violations, in fact.”
The Front-line Inspection project is already working at full capacity. The project’s main objective is to observe respect for human rights when crossing the front line, simplifying the process for citizens of Ukraine and to combat corruption in this area. About problems and interesting observations in the first week of monitoring we went to Andrei Bogdanovich, the head of Foundation.101.
What problems have arisen with the launch of the project?
In general, all good, no organizational problems arose. The first thing we encountered – not all citizens go to the check point and adequately describe their problems.
Originally we planned to record the number of people and cars passing by that day, however, then we quickly dismissed this, because it is impossible to pay attention to what we need to do and monitor the work of officials without worrying about other factors.
For the week, what specific violations you notice during the monitoring?
In fact, the number of violations were not as much as we originally expected. Most of the border guards and officials behave decently, with rare exceptions. We did record the rude attitude of one of the officials in regards to humiliation. He made a man sing a hymn for having more than the amount of cargo that is permitted for carriage.
Sometimes, citizens jumped the queue, but by paying money for it, we did not detect. Even when people offer bribes, officials refuse. Perhaps this is due to the presence of our monitors on the check points and they are afraid to take the money.
How much time do you anticipate the project lasting?
Now we have designated funding for monitoring for one month, but we are negotiating with other donors for additional funding for the project to extend it for three months.
How are conflict situations solved?
In most cases, after an appeal to a senior official the issue is resolved. The management of the border service have a very positive attitude towards the project, they occasionally call and ask how the monitoring situation is going, or to take care of any violations by their subordinates.
That guards also see value in such a project, because we are independent and we can tell you what is not reported by subordinates.
What qualitative changes have come with the introduction of the project?
Recommendations for changes are something we plan to provide authorities after monitoring is completed. The situation at the check points is calm.
Do you not think that with the end of the project the problems will resurface?
Yes, this can’t be ruled out, but in our opinion, three months of monitors on check points can lead to breaking of the system and the corruption will no longer take place. We hope that is the case.