Recently, actions of members of far-right Ukrainian groups have caused much stir. Regular killings, attacks on journalists and representatives of national minorities, terrorist attacks, intimidation, desecration of monuments, and other crimes have long attracted the attention of the world community, which increasingly associates Ukraine with radical nationalist groups.
The British police counterterrorism guidelines contain a picture of a small coat of arms of Ukraine with the comment “Ukrainian trident (nationalist)” in the list of tattoos, section of signs and symbols of far-right groups. Commenting on the incident, British Minister of Security Brandon Lewis said the following:
“Unfortunately, far-right groups have used national symbols to identify themselves. And this was the reason why certain images were included in the guidelines.”
These measures indicate recognition of the real weight of Ukrainian nationalists in the criminal world and the threats that they may cause.
In turn, due to the lack of response of the Ukrainian authorities to the actions of far-right groups, on January 20, the Ukrainian human rights non-governmental organization Institute of Economic and Social Research “Respublika” (Republic) published a monitoring report “Ultra-Right Confrontation and Violence in Ukraine”. The report is dedicated to the activities of far-right groups in Ukraine, as well as to studying the causes and possible consequences of such activities. It covers the period from October 14, 2018 to October 14, 2019.
In the reporting period, the authors documented 137 cases of confrontation and violence by far-right groups, 48 of them were confrontation cases and 89 were cases of violence against property or people. The largest number of acts of violence and confrontation were committed by representatives of the C14 organization and the “National Corps”. There were 40 cases associated with C14, including 25 cases of violence. The “National Corps” was linked to 30 incidents with 21 cases of violence.
The victims of far-right attacks most often were opposition politicians and parties, representatives of government entities, businessmen, artists, representatives of ethnic minorities/migrants. Attacks against journalists or the media have also been recorded.
The researchers found that documented cases are illustrative of a systemic problem with far-right violence, which arises in the face of inaction, and sometimes even connivance of authorities.
Almost every report by international human rights defenders presents the atrocities of radical Ukrainian groups. Thus, such cases were documented in detail in the thematic Report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the human rights situation in Ukraine named “Civic space and fundamental freedoms ahead of the presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Ukraine in 2019-2020”, where the growth of crimes by far-right radical groups and the inaction of law enforcement agencies were recorded. In the report, radicals are associated with almost every human rights violation described and are mentioned in 12 episodes of violence and intimidation.
Ultimately, the apparent reluctance of the Ukrainian authorities to confront the radicals may further exacerbate the split in Ukrainian society, which already exists. Previously, the connivance of the authorities to the actions of nationalists had led to the armed conflict in Donbass, which has caused thousands of casualties, where citizens whose rights were not protected by the state decided to defend themselves.
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 259 complaints.
All complaints received can be divided into nine categories: personal rights – 68 complaints, economic rights – 13 complaints, social rights – 32 complaints; guarantees of human rights in civil, administrative and criminal proceedings – 39 complaints; enforcement of human rights in penitentiary institutions – 16 complaints; enforcement of rights in the field of education – 0 complaints; enforcement of rights in the field of healthcare – 4 complaints; enforcement of rights of mothers, children and families – 2 complaints, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 85 complaints (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 24.01.2020
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 10 January, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, DPR servicemen, born in 1973 and 1979, sustained injuries of varying severities.
Within the period between 17 and 23 January 2020, 2 DPR servicemen sustained injuries in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 23 January 2020, 5 DPR servicemen sustained injuries and traumas of varying severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 17 and 23 January 2020, 1 DPR serviceman died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 23 January 2020, 4 DPR servicemen died as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4,899 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 didn’t receive any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 24 January 2020, 148 people whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification are held by the Ukrainian side.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons.
As of 24 January 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 1043 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens of this category. Since the beginning of the conflict, 6569 people, including 1556 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, 2169 people live in social housing objects of the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 403 underage children, 4400 people live in the housing fund, including 1153 children.