The fifth anniversary of the Donetsk People’s Republic is an important milestone. Now it is possible to assess the progress made in state-building and achievements in various fields. Last week, on May 11, there were festive events devoted to the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the referendum, which resulted in favour of the State Independence Act of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The referendum fulfilled the desire of Donbass people to preserve the national-cultural identity and historical memory, to realize the dream of living in peace, friendship and unity with the fraternal peoples of the Russian world.
In response to the free expression of citizens, the criminal regime that seized power in Ukraine as a result of the coup d’état in 2014, launched full-scale military operations in the territory of Donbass, imposed a financial, economic and transport blockade. Attempts to resolve the conflict peacefully were made through the signing of a number of documents, including the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, providing for a complete ceasefire, granting special status to the region, pardon and amnesty to participants of the conflict, lifting the blockade, resuming social benefits and other obligations. However, due to the lack of political will and the destructive position of the official Kiev, none of the points of the Minsk agreements has been fully implemented so far.
During the five years, despite the ongoing armed confrontation in the Donetsk People’s Republic, state-building has been carried out, based on the Constitution adopted on May 14, 2014, the legal framework has been formed, the industrial potential and civil infrastructure have been restored, and humanitarian issues have been addressed. Now the Republic confidently follows the path of political, social, economic and cultural development.
The pursuit of freedom and independence are integral components and prerequisites of achievements of the Donetsk People’s Republic. All branches of government have been created and are operating, human rights and freedoms are guaranteed in the country, which adheres to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and social justice. Since the spring of 2015, despite the economic and financial blockade, pensions and social benefits have been paid. Since 2016, citizens have the opportunity to receive passports of a citizen of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Since 2017, a temporary administration was introduced at the largest industrial enterprises, which made it possible to ensure their functioning in the new conditions and save jobs.
Integration process with the Russian Federation is successfully ongoing. On April 24, 2019, President Vladimir Putin signed a Decree providing citizens of the region with the opportunity to obtain Russian citizenship in a simplified manner. This measure is purely humanitarian and is aimed at protecting the rights of people living in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in the context of armed aggression and blockade introduced by Ukraine.
In 2019, the Head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, approved the foreign policy framework of the state, which provides for the development of cooperation and the strengthening of relations with other countries and international organizations. For the past five years, the Donetsk People’s Republic has been following the path towards international recognition as an independent state. This year, the celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Republic has been visited by more than 160 foreign visitors from 18 countries of the world.
The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic conducts work to establish interaction with foreign colleagues. Productive cooperation has been established with international human rights organizations, which allows for the resolution of humanitarian problems by joint efforts, helps ensure respect for human rights and freedoms on both sides of the line of the contact.
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 any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications are still verbal and submitted through personal reception either with the Ombudsman or authorities 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 15 May, staff of the DPR Ombudsman Office conducted an on-site reception of citizens together with representatives of the administration of Debaltsevo and other authorities.
Three citizens attended the reception in order to get assistance in restoring their rights and receive clarifications. They were provided with detailed explanations of the norms of the current legislation by representatives of the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Ombudsman received 2361 complaints. In the period of work between 26 April and 17 May 2019, 13 citizens attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 55 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 13 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 22 persons received legal counselling, and 9 persons through on-site reception. 37 written appeals were approved for consideration, 16 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 88 calls were received via hotlines, 17 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 189 appeals, violations in civil law – 242 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 27 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 78 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 150 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 91, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 917 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 476 appeals, other issues – 191 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 17.05.2019
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 – 331 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 39 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 162 appeals, migration legislation issues – 225 appeals, labour legislation issues – 81 appeals, healthcare issues – 75 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 4 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 17.05.2019
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 17.05.2019
- 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 30 April, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1985 sustained multiple shrapnel wounds.
On 3 May, a civilian woman born in 1951 sustained mine-blast trauma and lacerations as a result of a trip wire explosion in Novodeviche cemetery, Proletarsky district of Donetsk.
On 5 May, as a result of shelling in the vicinity of a checkpoint in Elenovka, a civilian man born in 1983 sustained a tangential wound while crossing the checkpoint.
A DPR serviceman born in 1987 sustained mine-blast wound as a result of a trip wire explosion in Sosnovka village, Novoazovsk region.
On 6 May, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1978 sustained mine-blast non-penetrating shrapnel wound to the chest.
On 7 May, as a result of shelling in Dokuchaevsk, a DPR serviceman born in 1981 sustained contused lacerated wounds, shrapnel wounds to the thigh.
On 8 May, as a result of a sniping fire in Petrovsky district of Donetsk, a civilian man of 55 years old sustained bullet wounds to the thigh.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1983 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wounds to the left thigh.
On 9 May, as a result of hostilities in Oktyabr village, Novoazovsk region, three DPR servicemen born in 1976, 1977 and 1972 sustained shrapnel wounds.
Within the period between 26 April and 16 May 2019, 11 persons sustained injuries as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine in the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 2 civilian men, 1 civilian woman and 8 DPR servicemen.
Within the period between 1 January and 16 May 2019, 69 persons, including 50 DPR servicemen, 6 civilian women and 13 civilian men sustained injuries of various severities.
Between 26 April and 16 May 2019, 13 persons died in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 12 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian man.
Within the period between 1 January and 16 May 2019, 73 persons, including 68 DPR servicemen, 2 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 4802 persons 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
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic hasn’t received any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 17.05.2019, 252 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 96 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. It has been reported that one person from the list of detainees has been released as he had served his sentence.
– 156 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification 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 17 May 2019, 461 persons 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).
Since the beginning of the conflict 5380 referrals for accommodation in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres etc.) have been issued, 137 of them – in 2018. 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 26 April 17 May 2019, 13 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1315 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7175 persons, including 1753 children have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 77 social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) have been opened in the territory of DPR. 54 of them operate, 23 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2403 persons live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 449 underage children, 4772 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1304 children.
- Protection of children’s rights
The need to protect the rights and freedoms of children is provided for in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, 1924, and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1959, recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles 23 and 24), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Article 10), as well as in national legislation (Article 31 of the Constitution of the Donetsk People’s Republic).
The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic pays special attention to this issue in her activities. In the view to ensure effective protection of children’s rights and freedoms by the state, according to the established schedule of visits to child social institutions, representatives of the Ombudsman Office conducted a follow-up inspection of living conditions and educational process in the Donetsk boarding school No.1.
Currently, 163 children aged 7 to 18 are students (grades 1 to 11) attend the school. At the time of the inspection, 24 children were undergoing rehabilitation in the Federal State-Funded Institution “Snegiri” Recreation Complex” under the Administrative Directorate of the President of the Russian Federation in the Moscow Region, and another 10 children took part in a mini-football tournament in St. Petersburg.
Representatives of the Ombudsman Office had a meeting with the leading staff of the boarding school. They discussed living conditions, medical treatment, education, cultural and disciplinary measures. Administrative staff informed representatives of the Ombudsman on the needs for improving the infrastructure of the institution.
As a result of the inspection, education and living environment for children in the Donetsk Special Boarding School No. 1 received a positive assessment from the staff of DPR Ombudsman Office.