A man has two wishes: first of all, he wants protection from violence;
secondly, he wants respect for his beliefs and his will.
The protection is provided by law-governed state,
the respect for his views and will – by democracy.
The right of citizens to participate directly in political life of their country is enshrined in the constitution of almost every state that seeks for democracy. Citizens have the right to participate directly in decision making on key issues through national voting – either by their own initiative or pursuant to mandatory provisions of the Constitution. This right is implemented through popular vote, referendum that makes it final or binding (in some countries – advisory).
On the one hand, referendum is a way of governing, that provides solutions for key social issues (decisions on constitutional, legislative or other domestic and foreign policy issues) through national voting, the results of which have the highest legal status and are binding for all public authorities; on the other hand, it is the most important institution of direct democracy, which is a popular law-making. Referendum is one of the ways of public participation in decision-making that is important for the State and for every citizen. A decision, made by people, influences the result of procedure, and should be supported by awareness of the subject.
It has been 25 years since the referendum on independence of Ukraine took place on 1st December 1991. The referendum cannot be considered unambiguous as there were violations of several provisions of the law “Concerning the procedure for secession of the Republic “. Thus, one of the basic provisions – the date of the referendum – was violated. The referendum took place in December 1991, instead of late February 1992.
The ballot contained the following question: “Do you recognize the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine?” There was no statement on the succession from the USSR, there was a voting on recognition of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine that was not even promulgated. Though, the main requirement for voting ballot is transparency in interpretation and the absence of ambiguity. The question must be explicit and the answer must be either positive or negative.
There is an unwanted fact for Ukrainian historians and political experts in the history of expression of the will of the people, – referendum that took place in Donbass in 1994. While criticizing the referendums of May 2014 and refuting their voluntary, nationwide and legitimate character, the Ukrainian experts dissemble the very fact of the plebiscite of May 27, 1994. The ballot questions were as follows:
- Recognition of Russian language as the official language of Ukraine (Donetsk oblast – 87%, Lugansk oblast – 90%)
- Recognition of Russian language as the official language in Donbass region (Donetsk oblast – 89%, Lugansk oblast – 91%)
- Signing of the CIS Charter and full participation of Ukraine in the Economic Union and the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS countries (Donetsk oblast – 89%, Lugansk oblast – 91%)
- Transformation of Ukraine into a federal state (Donetsk oblast – 79%)
Twenty years later, these questions still matter. Furthermore, Maidan provoked the citizens of the former Lugansk and Donetsk oblast to claim their right for self-determination again. However, Kiev authorities, who make impression of seeking for democracy, not only ignored the needs of Donbass citizens, but also sent troops to kill their own people.
Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications are still verbal and submitted through personal reception either with the Ombudsman or the heads of the Office, addressing the Public Complaints and Appeals Department, via hotlines and via web-reception on the Website of the Ombudsman. There is a possibility to file a written complaint that may be submitted either in person or via e-mail. In the period of work between November 26 and December 2, 2016, 35 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 45 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 43 calls were made via hotlines. 48 applications were received via e-mail, 35 written appeals were taken into consideration, 3 – have been reviewed among those received earlier, 50 citizens were provided with legal counseling.
- Statistics and analysis of destroyed infrastructure objects
This week the front line of the Donetsk People`s Republic was subjected to attack of the Ukrainian side almost every day. The Ukrainian forces deliberately destroy objects that provide citizens of the Republic with water, electricity and gas. They also target other infrastructure objects.
On the evening of November 26 the Ukrainian forces opened fire against Sakhanka village (Novoazovsk region, DPR). As a result of shelling, the glazing of a school canteen and boiler room, the buildings of House of Culture, village administration and fire station were damaged.
On November 30 the Ukrainian forces opened fire against the water intake station near Naberezhnoye village of Novoazovsk region.
On the morning of December 1, Donetsk Filtering Station was left without electricity, water supply was cut in a number of cities as a result of shelling from the Ukrainian side.
As of August 3, 2016 more than 11391 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6672 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 262 units in Debaltsevo, 479 units in Gorlovka, 68 units in Dokuchayevsk, 279 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 31 units in Kirovskoye, 1032 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 738 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 565 units in Yasinovataya, 277 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 52 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 5943 houses;
– 760 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 171 heating supply facilities;
– 46 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 11 wastewater and sewerage facilities;
– 97 healthcare facilities;
– 470 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 54 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 54 higher educational institutions;
– 25 physical and sport education institutions;
– 53 cultural institutions;
– 221 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 58 industrial objects;
– 88 trade objects;
– 241 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of November 24, 2016 there are 2739 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 412 – rebuilt and 2327 – are to be rebuilt.
- Estimates of mortality, wounds to civilians and soldiers as a result of hostilities in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic.
Unfortunately, complete ceasefire stipulated in Minsk Agreements has not been achieved. The situation on the DPR frontlines is still tensed. This week, the checkpoints on delimitation line have been targeted by Ukrainian forces again.
Thus, on the evening of November 26 the Ukrainian side opened fire against the “Mayorsk” checkpoint. On 27 November the Ukrainian forces opened fire against the checkpoint twice – early in the morning and late in the evening. Fortunately, there were no civilian automobiles at the time of the attack, and there were no civilians in the grey area.
On November 26 as a result of shelling by the Ukrainian forces a civilian man born in 1950 sustained gaping wound to the left hand with remaining foreign body and an injury to the left eye. At that moment he was in the yard of his house, Petrovskiy region.
On November 27, as a result of a mine blast a serviceman born in 1979 sustained an injury to the brain and an eye cornea burn.
On November 28, as a result of shelling in Petrovskiy region, Donetsk, a DPR serviceman born in 1995 sustained gunshot perforating wound to the right foot, open fracture to the right heel bone.
On November 30, a civilian man born in 1982 sustained shrapnel wounds to the back as he was blown on a trip wire on the territory of Nikitovsk Dolomite Factory, Nikitovsk Region, Gorlovka.
As a result of shelling in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region, a civilian woman born in 1952 sustained shrapnel wound to the left shoulder and the left hand.
On December 1, a civilian man born in 1955 suffered gunshot wound of the lower third of his thigh as a result of a sniping fire as he was repairing electricity supplying lines.
Within the period between 25 November and 1 December, 2016, 6 people were injured due to the armed aggression of the Ukrainian forces Among them: 2 DPR servicemen and 3 civilian men.
Within the period between 24 November and 2 December, 2016, 6 DPR servicemen died as a result of Ukrainian aggression in the DPR territory.
Within the period between 1 and 30 November, 2016, 23 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 13 DPR servicemen and 10 civilians.
Within the period between 1 and 30 November, 2016, 23 men, including 20 DPR servicemen died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Officially confirmed information on individuals, who have been wounded since the beginning of the conflict continues to be reported to the Ombudsman’s Office in DPR. The information is being processed at the moment and it will be included into general statistics of the injured individuals.
Within the period between 1 January and 1 December, 2016, 406 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 174 DPR servicemen and 232 civilians, including 16 children.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4621 persons died. Among them, there were 591 women and 3670 men, including 74 children under eighteen.
- Register of the prisoners of war, missing soldiers
Paragraphs 5 and 6 of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of Minsk Agreements imply granting pardon and amnesty by enactment of the law, that prohibits persecution and punishment of individuals relevant to the conflict in Donetsk and Lugansk Oblast of Ukraine. Another requirement is ensuring release and exchange of all captives and illegally detained persons through “all for all” formula.
The authorities of the Donetsk People`s Republic are ready to perform the exchange through “all for all” formula, although the Ukrainian side permanently delays the procedure. The Republic seeks the earliest performance of the extensive exchange of POWs, especially on the threshold of the New Year and Christmas.
“Everything depends on the political will of Mr. Poroshenko. I want to call upon Mr. Poroshenko to show humanism to his own people and to take these unfortunate 48 persons home in exchange of our men by the New Year”, – commented the DPR Ombudsman.
“I have a big hope for this opportunity, as the issue has been under discussion for so long. Despite Ukraine’s attempts to delay the process, there are sides interested in the performance of the exchange on the threshold of the holidays, including support from Europe regarding the issue. We hope, that there will be enough pressure on Kiev to let the majority of our men return home”, – said the Chairman of the People’s Council Denis Pushilin.
This week no appeals on capture or missing persons were received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
905 persons are now being kept by the Ukrainian side in detention facilities.
It`s necessary to specify that 488 persons are considered missing. Hypothetically, they might be in Ukrainian captivity.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about individuals, who were detained by the Ukrainian side, so the statistics may change.
The DPR Ombudsman`s Office will no longer publicly categorize the detainees by “serviceman”, “arrested for political reasons”, “civilian irrelevant to the conflict” due to safety considerations.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
When we hear about warfare in other countries or even on the other continents, these events seem so remote and complicated to us. Actually, we cannot even imagine what the armed conflict really is. As warfare gets closer to us, our perception of life changes completely. We used to be thinking about our future plans, work, or summer vacation. Now, there is only one concern – to save our live and our relatives` lives.
Dante Agilery once said, “The bread of the stranger is bitter and his staircase hard to climb”. This quote perfectly conveys the feelings of a person, who has to seek for shelter in a foreign land. The destiny of an internally displaced person (IDP) is complicated by the fact that it is impossible to live the same way as before the conflict: many have their houses either destroyed or damaged to an unrepairable condition. For the majority of Donbass hardworking people their private estate was the only treasure, their lifelong purchase, sometimes earned for by the efforts of several generations. Entire families were forced out of their traditional way of living, often without any savings and means of livelihood.
The hostages of war often have to change the place of residence, which means – to become IDPs. The procedure presents a range of problems, – both social and psychological.
First of all, IDPs face a housing problem. Some people live at their relatives’ and friends’ places for an indefinite or for a limited period of time, while others apply to local authorities in order to get a referral for temporary accommodation. Here comes the other problem – paperwork, which requires accurate and credible information (where to address for counseling, what documents are required, what rights an IDP is entitled to etc.). It`s not only a housing problem, but also employment issues. Here comes one more concern. Moreover, we cannot ignore psychological factor: it`s extremely difficult to adapt to new environment for a person, who left his or her home, and who has experienced the horrors of war. In such a situation, it would be a terrible challenge for anyone to be left alone with the problem, especially for the elderly pensioners or underage children. It`s much harder for children, who account for a significant part of IDPs. Their happy childhood was interrupted by war, the sounds of explosion and those nights that they have spent in basements.
Since 2014 the issue of providing assistance to the forcibly displaced persons, who have become victims of the conflict, have been a concern of the DPR Ombudsman`s Office under the authority of Daria Morozova. There is a group of psychologists, who help people master their fears and adapt to new environment. More than 6 000 citizens of Donetsk People`s Republic received psychological counseling since December 2015.
15 Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) have been opened in the Donetsk People’s Republic. 13 of them function today. Among them: 7 are in Donetsk, 3 are in Makeyevka, 2 are in Khartsysk, 1 is in Zugres.
1299 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 256 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 4873 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 718 of them – in 2016. During the period of work between 25 November and 1 December, 2016, 107 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 9 of them were accommodated in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office. Among them: 6 persons – in Donetsk, 1 – in Makeyevka, 1 – in Shakhtyorsk.
There are currently 1352 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1252 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 356 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office, 100 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7919 persons, including 2070 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 67 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 58 of them operate today, 10 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2930 individuals live in the centres, including 556 underage children, 4989 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1514 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
Since ancient times, creative labour was associated with freedom. The right of citizens to work, or to get a job with wage not less than the minimum established by the state, including the right to free choice of profession, occupation and work, is provided by the state. This right creates conditions for effective employment and job creation, training and skills improvement, retraining for workers released as a result of transition to a market economy, if it is necessary.
The right to work is essential for the realization of other human rights. As a fundamental right, it is enshrined in international law and has a binding character. For its part, the Government makes every effort to create employment opportunities. Constitutions of most countries recognize that the state is obliged not only to ensure employment of citizens, but also to provide them with safe conditions for work, to give remuneration no less than the minimum wage as determined by law. These conditions allow citizens to find the use of their abilities and talents, and to ensure well-being of their families.
The young Republic faces the challenging task of promoting employment, which is complicated by constant destruction of industrial facilities due to warfare. Economic blockade, imposed by Kiev authorities introduced additional tensions in the labor market.
The Republic Employment Centre is the main state organ responsible for providing jobs to citizens. According to their data, 31.9 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database between 01.01.2016 and 30.11.2016. Between January 1 and November 30, 2016, there were 53.6 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 41.7 thousand have been employed (20.8 of them – on permanent positions, 20.9 – temporarily).
It is important to note, that there are work opportunities for physically challenged people in the Donetsk People`s Republic, as guaranteed by the Constitution.
The Law “On social protection of the DPR citizens with special needs”, some articles of the Employment Law and the Procedure on establishing the quota for employment of disabled persons, approved by the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the DPR as of 31.05.2016, No. 7-23, guarantee social protection of physically challenged persons.
Tamara Kozenko, Director of the REC, emphasized the importance of establishing and using effective mechanisms that would facilitate fulfillment of the provisions. According to her, 118 seminars for employers have been held in employment centres on the issue as the Procedure on establishing the quota came into force. 1650 enterprises and organizations that have more than 30 employees, participated.
“We made a CV database of all people who addressed the Employment Centre, including physically challenged citizens. The information on vocational and qualification structure of those seeking for job is available on the REC website”, – said Tamara Kozenko.
Since the beginning of the year, 1122 physically challenged persons addressed the Employment Centre on the employment subject (35,4% – women and 31,8% – young adults under 35). With the assistance of employment centres, 481 physically challenged persons were employed on permanent positions.