On October 3, on air of the Ukrainian TV-channel “Pryamoy”, the Minister of Education of Ukraine told that Russian-language schools will change the language of education to Ukrainian since September 2020. In addition, minority language schools, which use one of the EU languages, will also be required to use exclusively Ukrainian for education since September 2023.
This decision was made possible thanks to the Law “On ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language” which has entered into force. The specified law determines that the only official language in Ukraine is Ukrainian and its use is mandatory in almost all spheres of life, including education. We remind that one of the pre-election promises of the current president of Ukraine was to conduct a detailed analysis of the document as to the compliance of its norms with the constitutional rights and interests of citizens. Earlier it was reported that the Parliament passed the law without proper public discussion. Unfortunately, now representatives of the Ukrainian government continue to pursue an aggressive language policy that instigates hostile sentiments among citizens.
The Russian Foreign Ministry also expressed their concern about the statements of the Ukrainian minister: “We have to state with regret that official Kiev pursues the policy of the previous government aimed at total and violent Ukrainianisation of the country. Moreover, the Russian language is still subject to double discrimination, since for schools using languages of national minorities that are EU languages the transition to the Ukrainian language has been delayed until 2023.”
In addition, earlier dissatisfaction with the law adopted in Ukraine was expressed by several states of the European Union. In particular, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary Peter Siyarto stated that the law on the Ukrainian language “is unacceptable and it violates the rights of the Hungarian community in Ukraine.”
It is worth noting that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized that, despite the recommendations made by the international community, legislation on the state language and legislation on minorities were not developed in parallel to ensure a balanced language policy from the very beginning. OHCHR also called on the Government of Ukraine to adopt, as a matter of priority, a law on ensuring observance of the rights of indigenous peoples and national minorities of Ukraine.
Earlier, the DPR Ombudsman Daria Morozova drew attention to the fact that the law adopted in Ukraine only aggravates the split in Ukrainian society, which is embraced by internal contradictions, and could be a serious obstacle to reconciliation.
On the territory of Ukraine, Russian is the first language to more than 37% of the population, so the newly adopted law grossly violates their rights. We would like to highlight that the DPR respects the right of citizens to speak their native language. For this reason, two languages, Russian and Ukrainian, have been incorporated in the Constitution of the DPR.
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.
Now, the majority of applications are still verbal and submitted through personal reception either with the Ombudsman or staff 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.
On 9 October, staff of DPR Ombudsman Office held an on-site reception of citizens at the City Administration of Novoazovsk region. Affected people whose dwellings had been destroyed due to hostilities asked the Ombudsman for assistance. At the on-site reception, citizens raised issues related to restoration of destroyed housing and providing basic necessities such as bedding, kitchenware, hygiene products and outdoor clothes.
Staff of the Human Rights Ombudsman Office accepted written appeals in order to take further measures and provide appropriate assistance.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Ombudsman received 5238 complaints. In the period of work between 5 and 11 October 2019, 12 people attended personal reception of the Ombudsman; 40 people received counselling by the Appeals department, 2 written complaints were accepted; 5 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 2 people received legal counselling. 17 written appeals were approved for consideration, 16 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 45 calls were received via hotlines, 16 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 497 appeals, violations in civil law – 543 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 53 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 170 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 295 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 227 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 2029 appeals, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 952 appeals, other issues – 472 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 11.10.2019
Violations in criminal law
Сomplaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary
Social, humanitarian and economic issues
Violations in civil law
Сomplaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen
issues connected with hostilities
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials
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, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid – 638 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 61 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 378 appeals, migration legislation issues – 577 appeals, labour legislation issues – 188 appeals, healthcare issues – 163 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 24 appeals. (Diagram 2).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens on social and humanitarian issues, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 11.10.2019
Pension and social payments, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid
Migration legislation issues
Transportation, communication and consumer rights
Labour legislation issues
Issues of education, culture and sport
Issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services
The majority of complaints 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 11.10.2019
- 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: the right to life, to security of the person.
On 5 October, in Dokuchaevsk, as a result of detonation of an unknown device, a civilian man, born in 1963, sustained mina-blast trauma, traumatic amputation of fingers of left hand, a burn of the front abdominal wall.
On 6 October, as a result of hostilities outside Yasinovataia, a DPR serviceman, born in 1983, sustained mine-blast trauma, brain concussion and shrapnel injury to the right eye.
On 7 October, as a result of shelling outside Lukovo settlement, a DPR serviceman, born in 1998, sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to the chest, injury of the right thigh and left shin.
On 9 October, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman, born in 1991, sustained blunt shrapnel wound to the back and perforating shrapnel wound to right elbow joint.
On 10 December, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman, born in 1984, sustained perforating gunshot wound to right shoulder with damage to artery.
As a result of shelling in Zaitsevo village, a civilian man, born in 1955, sustained penetrating wound to the right side of the chest with damage to a lung, shrapnel wound to right thigh and the back.
Within the period between 4 and 10 October 2019, 6 persons sustained injuries in the Donetsk People’s Republic as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, including 4 DPR serviceman and 2 civilian men.
Within the period between 1 January and 10 October 2019, 179 people, including 117 DPR servicemen, 21 civilian women, 38 civilian men and 3 children sustained injuries and traumas of varying severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 4 and 10 October 2019, no casualties were documented in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 10 October 2019, 143 people, including 134 DPR servicemen, 6 civilian women and 3 civilian men died as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4872 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 11 October 2019, 255 people are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 82 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been established and confirmed. 6 people were released as they have served their sentence;
– 173 people whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification 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 11 October 2019, 463 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.
During the period of work between 5 and 11 October 2019, 5 people have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to being affected by the armed conflict. There are currently 1046 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 6809 people, including 1637 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 (one object in Donetsk was closed for major renovation under decision of the Ministry of Education of the DPR). 53 of them operate, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2253 people live in social housing objects of the Donetsk Administration, including 420 underage children, 4556 people live in the housing fund, including 1217 children.