5 years have passed since the “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements”, better known as the “Minsk Agreements”, was signed in the capital of Belarus in February 2015. The agreement was meant to put an end to hostilities between the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and Ukraine, as well as to promote peaceful political settlement of the conflict.
The document was signed by the members of the Contact Group for Peaceful Settlement in Ukraine: Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Heidi Tagliavini, the Second President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, as well as the leaders of the DPR and LPR: Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.
At the same time, the leaders of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France) adopted a declaration in which they declared their commitment to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements and expressed firm belief that there was no alternative to peaceful settlement.
In addition to the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons, the Minsk Agreements also provided for the exchange of detainees based on the principle of “all for all”, as well as an amnesty for all people involved in the armed conflict in Donbass.
In turn, the political part of the document said that certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions would be granted permanent special status in Ukraine, which should be fixed by constitutional reform. The resumption of social payments and pensions to residents of the Republics was envisaged.
Unfortunately, during 5 years Ukraine had been sabotaging the implementation of the agreement. However, despite the full settlement of the conflict wasn’t achieved, it was possible to stop the full-scale war. In addition, since the agreement has come to effect, 23 exchanges of prisoners have been carried out, as a result of which 306 people were transferred to the Ukrainian side, and 332 people were transferred to the Donetsk People’s Republic. Thus, commenting on the 5th anniversary of the “Minsk Agreements”, the Human Rights Ombudsman noted:
The “Minsk Agreements” have saved thousands of lives, returned home hundreds of people and brought peace, however shaky and often violated by the Ukrainian side it is. We finally began to forget the horrors of full-scale hostilities. Each meeting and every negotiation, often lengthy and complicated, bring us closer to full implementation of the provisions set forth in the document.”
The document, signed in Minsk, remains an important source of relative stability and peace in the armed conflict between the Republics and Ukraine. Only the implementation of all thirteen paragraphs of the “Minsk Agreements” and the full restoration of the rights of Donbass residents can lead to a final settlement of the conflict and a return to normal civilian life.
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 681 complaints.
All complaints received can be divided into nine categories: personal rights – 126 complaints, economic rights – 22 complaints, social rights – 85 complaints; guarantees of human rights in civil, administrative and criminal proceedings – 84 complaints; enforcement of human rights in penitentiary institutions – 26 complaints; enforcement of rights in the field of education – 0 complaints; enforcement of rights in the field of healthcare – 10 complaints; enforcement of rights of mothers, children and families – 10 complaints, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 318 complaints (diagram).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 14.02.2020
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.
Within the period between 7 and 13 February 2020, no injured persons among civilians and servicemen have been reported in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 13 February 2020, 6 DPR servicemen sustained injuries and traumas of varying severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 7 and 13 February 2020, 1 DPR serviceman died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 13 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 received one appeal on arrest.
A man, born in 1970, was detained in July 2018 and sentenced under part 1 article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Based on the updated figures as of 14 February 2020, 150 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 hasn’t received any appeals on missing persons.
As of 14 February 2020, 466 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, 7,118 people, including 1,634 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, 2,176 people live in social housing objects of the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 398 underage children, 4,942 people live in the housing fund, including 1,236 children.