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Activists ask Poroshenko to protect Donbass residents’ right to visa-free travel to EU

June 25, 19:06 UTC+3 KIEV

The letter was prompted by the statement of National Security and Defense Secretary Alexander Turchinov, who said that a bill on such special checks is now being drafted

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KIEV, June 25. /TASS/. Ukrainian human rights activists have come up with an open letter to President Pyotr Poroshenko protesting against discrimination of people living in Donbass over plans to impose a special check for those of them who apply for biometric passports. A statement to this effect was posted on Sunday on the website of the Crimean human rights group.

The letter was prompted by the statement of National Security and Defense Secretary Alexander Turchinov, who said that a bill on such special checks is now being drafted.

"We ask to refrain from such discriminative pronouncements on behalf of the National Security and Defense Council, as such statements run counter to the declared policy of reintegration," the human rights activists said in their letter.

According to activists, such statements have very negative effect on the attitudes of people living in non-controlled territories and internally displaced persons to reforms in Ukraine and stir up worries in society. They demanded the bill on special checks be made public to be subjected to anti-discrimination examination. Apart from that, they demanded public discussion of this document be organized.

Turchinov said on June 22 people living in territories that are not controlled by Kiev should undergo a thorough check in case they want to have a biometric passport for visa-free trips to Europe. He said such measures are necessary to bar access to visa-free travel for "separatists."

As from June 11, 2017, Ukrainian citizens who have biometric passports can make tourist trips to the European Union states for a period of up to 90 days once every six months. However, liberalization of visa procedures is not applicable to those seeking to work or study in Europe.

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