Charlotta Relander talked to detainees and assessed consequences of shelling of social facilities by AFU in course of visit to DPR

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman Events News

The first working visit to the DPR of the coordinator from the OSCE of the Working Group on humanitarian issues of the Minsk Contact Group Charlotta Relander is completed today. In the course of the three-day trip, the Ambassador held a range of meetings, during which she was able to personally assess the scale of the humanitarian consequences as a result of hostilities in the region.

Thus, with the assistance of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the DPR, the representative of the Republic in the Minsk Humanitarian Group Daria Morozova, communication with relatives of persons illegally detained on the territory of the Ukraine and missing persons in the zones of armed conflict was held.

In addition, Charlotta Relander was given the opportunity to have confidential meetings with detainees serving sentences in institutions of the republican penitentiary system. Thus, the OSCE Ambassador was personally convinced of the absence of any threats to their life and health.

There was also communication with citizens who were participants in exchanges in 2019-2020. These are the people in respect of whom Ukraine has not fulfilled its obligations on procedural “cleaning” yet, which is why the parties have been unable to start discussing the next stage of the mutual release of detainees within the Minsk platform for two years. Former detainees told the Ambassador about the difficulties they face as a result of the ongoing prosecution. Thus, since the majority previously lived in the territories controlled by Kiev and were detained for political reasons, today they cannot return home to their families, their property was seized, and people are at risk of repeated detention.

Also, a visit to the forensic biological laboratory of the Republican Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination of the Ministry of Health of the DPR was organized for Ms. Relander. Testing of new equipment is being completed here, which will significantly expand the possibilities of the Republic in matters of searching for missing persons in conflict zones and identifying unidentified bodies.

A separate item of the program was a visit to social facilities damaged and destroyed by the shelling of the AFU. In particular, the coordinator visited the Kuibyshevsky district of Donetsk in the village of the Oktyabrsky Rudnik mine. Mrs. Relander visited kindergarten No. 229, which had been almost restored after repeated shelling, and the legendary city clinical hospital No. 21, which during the active phase of the conflict was under the aimed fire from the Ukrainian army. The OSCE coordinator also saw kindergarten No. 189, which, after repeated direct hits by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, has actually turned into ruins and cannot be restored.

“This visit was useful. My goal was to personally get acquainted with the situation on the spot, and this goal was achievedsaid Charlotta Relander following the trip to the DPR.

In turn, Daria Morozova highlighted the importance of the visit of the Ambassador to the Republic. According to her, the live communication of the coordinator with eyewitnesses of the events in Donbass on both sides of the contact line allows having a more objective look at the situation and a better understanding of the region’s problems.

“It is important for me that Ms. Relander heard all the problematic issues that we raise at the Minsk platform directly from the people who were affected by the conflict and whose interests we represent in the negotiation process. She saw firsthand what is impossible to fully describe in the format of business correspondence or online. We welcome such face-to-face communication formats and believe that this can contribute to the work of the Humanitarian Group” summed up Daria Morozova.