This week several significant events took place. February 18 marks five years since the successful completion of the Chernukhino-Debaltsevskaia operation, better known to the public as the Debaltsevo Cauldron. It made a radical change in the armed conflict in Donbass and became the first joint operation of the DPR and LPR forces. Its successful completion allowed the reunification of the territory of the Republics. The DPR troops managed to take full control over the area which Kiev planned to use for an offensive against Donbass. If the AFU had succeeded, the lines of communication between Lugansk and Donetsk would have been almost completely interrupted. More importantly, after the February defeat, government troops no longer carried out major offensive operations, which have saved thousands of civilians and contributed to the speedy signing of the Minsk Agreements.
However, despite the signing of the above agreements, peace in Donbass is still far from achieved. For this reason, discussions on how to settle the armed conflict between LDPR and Ukraine remain relevant at any international platforms. So, at the 56th Munich Security Conference, held from February 14 to 16, the issue of the conflict in Donbass was also addressed. In particular, the question was raised about the need to hasten the prisoner exchange process.
But the main result of the event was a statement published on the website of the security conference called “Twelve Steps Toward Greater Security in Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Region”, which reverberated Ukraine and its allies. One of the authors of the document is the chairman of the Munich International Security Conference – Wolfgang Ishinger. The document suggested that the following steps be taken to resolve the conflict: Restore the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination of the Ceasefire in Donbass (JCCC); Establish a Normandy-format, military-to military crisis management dialogue; Improve unrestricted access and freedom of movement at entry-exit checkpoints (EECPs); Address the problem of missing persons and implement humanitarian demining initiatives. In addition, the proposals included the issues of reconstruction in Donbass with the participation of the European Union and Russia, and addressing radiological hazards in Donbass.
Among the political steps, it is planned to direct a new dialogue among Euro-Atlantic states about building mutual security, define areas of selective engagement between the EU and Russia, and launch a new national dialogue in Ukraine, in which chosen experts would take part. The dialogue, according to the document, should address the issues of history, language, identity and minorities. Such trends demonstrate a redefining of the conflict in Donbass by the EU leaders and inspire hope for a speedy peaceful settlement of the conflict.
In her activities, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic strongly promotes human rights and freedoms, ensures their protection and monitors their observance.
Upon a human rights violation, the need to restore one’s rights, to obtain legal advice or appeal against actions (omission) of state bodies or authorities, citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in a way that is convenient for them.
Since the beginning of 2020, the Ombudsman received 792 complaints. All complaints received can be divided into nine categories: personal rights – 148 complaints, economic rights – 31 complaints, social rights – 102 complaints; guarantees of human rights in civil, administrative and criminal proceedings – 105 complaints; enforcement of human rights in penitentiary institutions – 28 complaints; enforcement of rights in the field of education – 0 complaints; enforcement of rights in the field of healthcare – 12 complaints; enforcement of rights of mothers, children and families – 12 complaints, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 354 complaints (diagram).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 21.02.2020
Human rights guarantees in civil, administrative and criminal proceedings
Enforcement of rights in the field of healthcare
Enforcement of human rights in penitentiary institutions
Enforcement of rights of mothers, children and families
Enforcement of rights in the field of education
Issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR
- Death toll, injuries to civilians and soldiers as a result of hostilities in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic.
The DPR Ombudsman’s Office documents cases of violations of Donbass citizens’ rights by the Ukrainian side, including the right to life, personal integrity and freedom of movement.
On 15 February, as a result of sniping fire in Petrovsky district of Donetsk, a civilian man, born in 1959, sustained multiple gunshot penetrating wounds to the abdominal region, and perforating bullet wound to the right thigh.
On 16 February, as a result of sniping fire by Ukrainian forces, DPR servicemen, born in 1971 and 1979, sustained injuries of varying severities.
On 20 February, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman, born in 1979, sustained mine-blast trauma and traumatic amputation of the left foot.
Within the period between 14 and 20 February 2020, 4 people, including 3 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian man, sustained injuries of varying severities in the Donetsk People’s Republic as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 1 January and 20 February 2020, 10 people, including 9 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian man, sustained injuries and traumas of varying severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 14 and 20 February 2020, no deaths were reported in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 20 February 2020, 7 DPR servicemen died as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4,902 people died, including 81 children.
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.
- Register of the prisoners of war, missing soldiers
In the reporting period, the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic hasn’t received any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 21 February 2020, 145 people whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification. Five persons from the list have been released as they had served their sentences.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic hasn’t received any appeals on missing persons. Also, it was established that one person is dead.
As of 21 February 2020, 465 people are considered missing. They could have been taken prisoner in Ukraine.
- Register of displaced persons and affected citizens.
At the time of armed conflict, the civilian population living in the zone of fighting and near the contact line is often affected. With the view to protect the human right to life and security of the person, and to provide assistance to victims as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres).
With the coming into force of the Order of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic No. 137 of 24.04.2018, Territorial commissions in cities and districts are now responsible for accommodating affected civilians. They work under supervision of the Republican Commission on Resettlement of Affected Persons chaired by the DPR Human Rights Ombudsman.
There are currently 968 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens of this category. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7,122 people, including 1,632 children have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 64 social housing objects have been opened in the territory of DPR. 53 of them operate, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2,181 people live in social housing objects of the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 396 underage children, 4,941 people live in the housing fund, including 1,236 children.