Language is the mirror of the people thought, mental storehouse of each race is cast as a stereotype, in its language, it stands out like a medal.
For more than 20 years language has been one of the reasons that separated Ukraine into several parts. On the one hand, Ukrainian is a national language under Article 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine. However, it is specified in the Article that Ukraine guarantees free development, use and protection of Russian and other languages of national minorities in its territory. The use of Russian as a regional language is based on regulatory legal acts applied in Donbass. However, infringements of the rights of Russian-speaking population have become one of the driving forces of 2013-2014 peace protests.
Article 24 of the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees that citizens have equal constitutional rights and freedoms and they are equal before the law. There can be no privileges or restrictions based on race, colour of skin, political, religious and other beliefs, sex, ethnic and social origin, property status, place of residence, linguistic or other characteristics.
In fact, forced ukrainization has become one of the causes of the civil conflict in Ukraine. For more than 20 years Donbass citizens have been considered to be “third-rate” because they speak Russian language.
Since the start of 2017 three draft laws that regulate the use of Ukrainian language have been under consideration of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. All these draft laws reinforce the importance of Ukrainian language in all spheres of life. The knowledge of the language is expected to become crucial for civil servants, despite the fact that the Constitution of Ukraine guarantees the right to occupy public services. In violation of the law – the usage of a language other than Ukrainian in everyday life – some authors provide introduction of monetary fines. And this is despite the fact that the country is at war and the majority of the population considers Russian to be their native language. In 2012 the Law “On fundamentals of the state language policy” was adopted. After the unconstitutional changes of Government on 25th February 2014 Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine tried to reverse the law, although acting president Oleksandr Turchynov refused to sign the abolition of the Language Law until the new one is adopted. As he explained, this is not to destabilize the situation. Thus, the Law “On fundamentals of the state language policy” is still in force. It has been almost three years since then. The fratricidal war goes on in Donbass, although the members of Parliament of Ukraine decided that now is the right time for introduction of the new language legislation. Perhaps, they suppose that this decision could decrease social tension or calm the armed conflict.
According to the Constitution of the Donetsk People’s Republic Russian and Ukrainian languages have equal status – both languages are national. Every citizen is free to decide what language to speak, to think and write.
The rights and freedoms of the DPR citizens are patronized by the Ombudsman and her Office. Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications is still verbal and made through private meeting either with the Ombudsman or the heads of the Office, addressing the 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. Since 2017, the Ombudsman received 182 appeals. 7 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person between 21 and 27 January 2017. 47 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department, 38 calls were made via hotlines. 15 applications were received via e-mail, 6 written appeals were taken into consideration, 6 – have been considered among those received earlier, 35 DPR citizens were provided with legal counseling.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories:
- violations in criminal law;
- violations in civil law;
- administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens;
- social and humanitarian issues.
As of 20.01.2017, 182 appeals were accepted – all of them dealt with social and humanitarian issues.
Among all incoming correspondence to the Ombudsman of DPR, the one which deals with the issues of exercise of social rights of citizens and violations of these rights is the most frequent. These issues are: pension and social payments – 15 appeals, accommodation for temporary residence – 35 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 5 appeals, the receipt of humanitarian assistance – 2 appeals, employment – 7 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 2 appeals, search of the missing – 14 appeals, loss of IDs – 14 appeals, housing issues – 8 appeals, receipt of temporary residence permit – 14 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 66 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens on social and humanitarian isses, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 20.01.2017
Pension and social payments
Search of the missing soldiers
Search of the missing civilians
Temporary residence permit
Paperwork in case of property destruction
Paperwork on travelling documents
Loss of IDs
Other social and humanitarian issues
The majority of complains are traditionally received from Donetsk, by territory (Diagram 3).
The number of appeals (complains, applications) from citizens, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 20.01.2017
- Statistics and analysis of destroyed infrastructure objects
During the reporting period the front line of the Donetsk People`s Republic has been subjected to fire by the Ukrainian side almost on a daily basis. Ukrainian forces deliberately destroy objects that provide the citizens of the Republic with water, electricity and gas. Other infrastructure objects have also been targeted.
On January 20 evening as a result of shelling against the surroundings of Yasinovataya the railroad depot was damaged.
Overnight into January 23, as a result of shelling by the Ukrainian forces five villages in Novoazovsk region were left without electricity: Kominternovo, Sakhanka, Siergeyevka, Leninskoye, Zaichenko.
Overnight into 24 January, SSU subdivisions opened fire against Elenovka and Luganskye villages. As a result of shelling, around 900 residents were left without electricity.
On 25 January as a result of shelling against Novoazovsk region by Ukrainian forces, Sergeyevka village was completely de-energized.
As of 26th January 2017, more than 11091 infrastructure objects were partly damaged (destroyed) in the region as a result of hostilities.
More than 6675 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 262 units in Debaltsevo, 519 units in Gorlovka, 68 units in Dokuchayevsk, 291 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 53 units in Kirovskoye, 1066 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 747 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 574 units in Yasynovataya, 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:
– 6032 houses;
– 760 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 174 heating supply facilities;
– 46 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 11 wastewater disposal and sewerage facilities;
– 98 healthcare facilities;
– 486 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 54 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 54 higher educational institutions;
– 25 physical and sport education institutions;
– 53 cultural institutions;
– 230 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 58 industrial objects;
– 88 trade objects;
– 253 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 14th January 2017 there are 2765 units of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 422 – rebuilt and 2343 – 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
Almost every day the DPR Ombudsman’s Office records cases of violations of rights of Donbass citizens by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to the inviolability of the home.
Thus, on 20th January public commuter bus Donetsk-Dokuchaevsk was targeted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Elenovka. As a result of shelling, a civilian woman born in 1965 sustained a shrapnel wound to the lower third of the shin.
As a result of hostilities near Gorlovka a DPR serviceman of 42 years old sustained a gunshot wound of the right inner thigh.
On 23 January, a DPR serviceman of 34 years old sustained a gutter wound of the chest as a result of hostilities near Debaltsevo.
As a result of hostilities in Bezymennoye village in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1977 sustained a gunshot perforating wound of the pelvic.
As a result of armed provocation from the Ukrainian forces near Debaltsevo, a DPR serviceman born in 1974 sustained a brain contusion.
On 24 January, a DPR serviceman born in 1993 sustained a gunshot perforating wound of the soft tissue of the right buccal and masticatory region as a result of hostilities in the industrial zone of Avdeyevka.
On 26 January a DPR serviceman born in 1990 sustained a gunshot wound of the right lumbar region as a result of hostilities in Bezymennoye, Novoazovsk region; a DPR serviceman born in 1983 sustained a perforating wound to the upper third of a left thigh, Kominternovo village.
Provocative fire of the Ukrainian forces near Debaltsevo resulted into mine-blast traumas, shrapnel wounds of three DPR servicemen born in 1996, 1979 and 1991.
Within the period of 20 – 26 January 2017, 11 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant Ukrainian shelling. Among them, there were 10 DPR servicemen and one civilian woman.
Within the period of 1 – 26 January 2017, 28 persons sustained wounds of varying severities in the DPR. Among them there were 23 DPR servicemen and 5 civilians, including 2 children under 18.
Within the period of 20 – 26 January 2017 no death were registered.
Within the period of 1st and 26th January 2017, 12 servicemen died in the territory of the DPR.
To be specific, 4301 persons had died since the beginning of the armed conflict. Among them, there were 592 women and 3709 men, including 74 children under eighteen.
- Register of prisoners of war and missing soldiers and civilians
On January 25 the DPR Ombudsman Daria Morozova together with the International Committee of the Red Cross representatives visited a penitentiary of the Republic where Ukrainian servicemen are kept.
The members of the organization are empowered to supervise the conditions of detention of the Ukrainian prisoners, to deliver letters from relatives and to have a private conversation with the detainees.
«The visit once again demonstrated openness of the Donetsk People’s Republic to international organizations and to the international community as a whole. We hope, such visits will facilitate the earliest exchange of the prisoners of war, and our men as well as the Ukrainian soldiers will return home soon» – commented Daria Morozova.
«No concern was expressed by the Head of the ICRC division of legal protection Rocco Messina regarding the conditions of detainment of the Ukrainian prisoners of war», — added the Ombudsman.
On the present week the Ombudsman’s Office was reported on illegal methods of inquiry to the DPR supporter who had been detained by the Ukrainian forces. The representatives of international organizations were informed on this outrageous case of violation of human rights and grave violation of the International Humanitarian Law.
A video conference of the humanitarian subgroup took place on January 26. The issue of exchange of prisoners was the subject of discussion.
«As a result of the conference, we have received a promise from the Ukrainian side that it will respond to all formal requests that we have submitted to them. We expect that the lists of detainees will be updated tomorrow. It is necessary to remind that, unlike us, the Ukrainian side has sent no official proposals on the exchange
The Ukrainian side has confirmed its readiness to negotiate the lists of detainees on February 1. I hope, the final date of the exchange will become clear soon. Again, we expect a large exchange to be performed as prescribed in the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreement.
Summarizing the results of the video conference, it can be considered fruitful» – commented the DPR Ombudsman.
During the week, the DPR Ombudsman’s Office received four appeals on arrest of citizens. Thus, in October 2016 the contact had been lost with two men near the delimitation line near Gorlovka. The Office has received an appeal on the detention of a man, who had been transporting relief goods to the Republic, in the checkpoint of Novotroitskoye village, January 2017.
During the week, no appeals on the missing have been received.
In tough cooperation with detainees’ relatives and the Ombudsman’s Office, extensive work is being done on compiling and updating the lists for the exchange.
During the current week, a former detainee informed the Ombudsman’s Office that he has been released from the courtroom.
Based on the updated figures as of 26.01.2017, 832 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including 455 of those whose whereabouts had been confirmed and 377 of those whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
It`s necessary to specify, that 442 persons are considered missing. Hypothetically, they might be in Ukrainian captivity.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about the individuals, who had been detained by the Ukrainian side, 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.
The developments of the Spring 2014 have brought many problems to the citizens of the young Donetsk People’s Republic. One of these has always been the problem of destroyed houses or houses inadequate for living, which was caused by hostilities. People who need temporary accommodation address city governments or the Ombudsman’s Office, where they receive a permit to live in one of the DPR Temporary accommodation centers (TACs) or TACs of the Ombudsman’s Office.
Last December, the procedure for recording of the forcibly detained persons was approved in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The mechanism of issuing registration certificates for forcibly detained persons was approved by the Decree of the Head of the Republic No. 393 of 16.11.2016.
People who are eligible for the status must address the Labour and Social Protection Department, to submit an application and to provide photocopies of the following documents:
* Passport or some other proof of identity;
* Birth certificate (for underage individuals);
* Document confirming disability;
* Document confirming military service;
* Social Individual Code;
* Work record book.
The State security agencies will carry out controls of all individuals. The procedure will take 30 days. After that, people will be divided into categories and receive the certificate.
In order to check whether the forcibly displaced persons actually live in the TACs, the Department supervises temporary accommodation no less than once per three months and prepares report. The State Border Guard of the DPR Ministry of Public Security provides information on the fact of crossing the border with Russian Federation, LPR or delimitation line with Ukraine.
The certificate could be cancelled and social payment could be suspended in case the procedure of crossing the delimitation line had been breached. In case the State Border Guard of the DPR Ministry of Public Security reports that an individual has spent more than 35 days outside the DPR for the two month period, he/she cannot be considered a forcibly displaced person any more. The case when a person leaves the Republic for medical treatment in another state is an exception.
15 temporary accommodation units were established in the DPR by the efforts of the Office. 13 of them function today: 7 –are in Donetsk, 3 are in Makeyevka, 2 are in Khartsysk, 1 is in Zugres.
1279 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 250 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 4926 persons were accommodated in temporary accommodation centres (TACs) of the Ombudsman’s Office. Among them, – 32 in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs of the Office monitor the TACs on the weekly basis, with the view to respond promptly to the citizens’ needs.
During the period of work between 21th and 27th January 2017, 31 persons have applied to the Ombudsman`s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 9 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office: 5 – in Donetsk, 1 – in Makeyevka, 1 – in Khartsysk, 2 – in Shakhtyorsk.
There are currently 1299 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1243 – in DPR temporary accommodation centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 375 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office ; 56 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7864 persons, including 2047 children under eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 68 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 57 of them function today, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2832 individuals live in the units, including 551 underage children, 5032 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1496 under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
Right to work is the integral part of human rights. Every state must guarantee the exercise of this right for its citizens. Thus, the Act on the Employment of the Population in the DPR was adopted by the resolution of the Council of Ministers of the DPR of 29.05.2015. The document defines the legal, economic and organizational basis of State employment assistance policy, including guarantees regarding the realization of the constitutional rights of DPR citizens to work and social protection from unemployment.
The Head of the DPR, the People’s Council, the Council of Ministers, the Executive Body of the DPR within the social policy area and other government authorities and local governments provide the formulation and implementation of government labour policy.
The Act provides guarantees to promote employment to the fullest extent possible in the DPR. These are the guarantees of a minimum wage, training standards, employment rules of procedure etc.
The Article 11 prescribes the right to free choice of the nature and place of work, corresponding directly with the employer or through free-of-charge mediation of State employment services, or other organizations that provide job placement assistance. Other organizations that provide job placement assistance are forbidden to require charges for providing information and assistance in job placement.
Citizens have the right to free counseling, receiving information and assistance which is connected to career guidance from the Government employment services in order to choose the type of activity, profession (specialty), employment, professional training and acquire additional professional education. These services are also available online, in accordance with the DPR legislation.
The mission of organizing the employment of DPR citizens is shouldered by the Republic Employment Center. According to their data 3,8 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 27.01.2017. As of 27 January 2017, there were 12,8 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 8,7 thousand have been employed (0,9 of them – on permanent positions, 7,8 – temporarily).
Donetsk center of vocational education of The Republic Employment center organizes regular free public workshops to train practical skills, such as work with personal computers; technique and mechanization of trade accounts (work with cash register machines); fundamentals of entrepreneurship etc. 14 persons participated in those seminars since 2017.