Discrimination and intolerance are becoming increasingly serious problems for Ukrainian citizens in the human rights sphere, which is due to the tendency of revival and dominating of nationalism in its most extreme manifestations. One of the key aspects of this problem is the glorification of Nazism and the impunity of far-right radical groups in their illegal activities in the territory of Ukraine.
On December 17, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly traditionally adopted a resolution on combating the glorification of Nazism, which emphasizes that all states should ban any “glorification of the Nazi regime”. Only two countries in the world opposed this resolution – the United States of America and Ukraine. The very next day, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the decree “On the celebration of memorable dates and anniversaries in 2019,” which included the birthday of the leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, Stepan Bandera.
The organizer of the Ukrainian nationalist movement was involved in mass killings and ethnic cleansing in the territory of Ukraine in the 1930s-1940s, and also actively cooperated with fascist Germany. The Nazi regime, its leaders and allies were convicted following the Nuremberg process. However, the torchlight processions dedicated to the 110th anniversary of the birth of Stepan Bandera, January 1, 2019 were held in a number of cities throughout Ukraine.
Ukrainian nationalism revived at the collapse of the USSR. It has acquired more and more radical features in recent years. And this is not about torch processions alone, the use of Nazi paraphernalia and slogans aimed at inciting ethnic and religious hatred. There were dangerous tendencies such as frequent attacks on members of national minorities (Hungarians, Roma and others), Russian-speaking citizens, veterans of the Great Patriotic War, clergymen and parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. All those who ideologically or for other reasons do not fit the new policy in Ukraine, which at the same time cynically continues to declare its adherence to European values and principles of democracy, are subject to harassment.
The conformity of the policy of Ukraine is increasingly being questioned by the world community. Reports of international human rights organizations indicate that the actions of far-right groups are illegal and, in particular, that such actions go unpunished. Experts regularly call on the Ukrainian authorities officially to condemn the aggression of the radicals and to conduct an effective investigation of offences committed by them. Thus, in the Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine between August 16 and November 15, 2018, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights continues to document cases of violent attacks by members of far-right groups on journalists, activists and lawyers: “Such attacks are becoming more open, fueling intolerance and discrimination, suppressing freedom of speech, and pose the danger of undermining the rule of law.”
As part of her activities, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic collects information about violations of human rights and freedoms in Ukraine through interviews with prisoners of war who returned to the territory of the Republic as a result of the exchange, as well as through relatives and lawyers of persons held in penitentiary institutions of Ukraine. Many of them were victims of violent abduction and detention, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment, other unlawful actions by representatives of law enforcement agencies and armed formations of Ukraine. A large number of members of far-right groups joined their ranks after the 2014 coup d’état.
Thanks to the interaction with international organizations, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic has the opportunity to provide the world community with information on violations of the rights of citizens pursued by Ukraine based on nationality, religion, language, or support of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Documented in the reports of international organizations, this information later can serve as the basis for the new Nuremberg trials of the Ukrainian Nazism.
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 the heads 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.
In the period of work between 29 December 2019 and 11 January 2019, 4 citizens attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 15 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 6 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 4 persons received legal counselling. 10 written appeals were approved for consideration, 11 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 18 calls were received via hotlines, 8 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 9 appeals, violations in civil law – 5 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 0 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 27 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 2 appeals, other issues – 18 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 11.01.2019
Violations in criminal law
Issues of social and humanitarian affairs
Violations in civil law
issues connected with hostilities
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
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 – 15 appeals, temporary accommodation – 1 appeal, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 6 appeals, migration legislation issues – 3 appeals, labour legislation issues – 0 appeals, healthcare issues – 2 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 0 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 0 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 0 appeals, land use and tenure – 0 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 0 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 11.01.2019
pension and social payments, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid
migration legislation issues
guardianship and family law issues
labour legislation issues
issues of education, culture and sport
issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services
activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations
land use and tenure
the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials
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 11.01.2019
- Death toll, injuries to civilians and soldiers as a result of hostilities in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic.
Almost every day the DPR Ombudsman’s Office records cases of violations of Donbass citizens’ rights by Kiev authorities: the right to life, to security of the person.
On 7 January, as a result of military operations in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1987 sustained perforating gunshot wound to the left thigh.
On 10 January, as a result of shelling against a highway in Gorlovka, three staff members of Public Enterprise “Voda Donbassa” Company” were injured as a result of shelling by Ukrainian armed formations.
Within the period between 28 and 31 December 2018, no casualties were documented among civilians and servicemen.
Within the period between 1 January and 31 December 2018, 310 persons (269 men and 41 women) sustained injuries of various severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, including 202 DPR servicemen and 108 civilians (2 children).
Within the period between 1 and 10 January 2019, 4 persons, including 1 DPR serviceman and 3 civilian men sustained injuries as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 28 and 31 December 2018, 1 DPR serviceman lost his life.
Within the period between 1 January and 31 December 2018, 162 persons died (152 men and 10 women) in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 19 civilians (5 children).
Within the period between 1 and 10 January 2019, no casualties among servicemen and civilians were documented.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4729 persons died, including 615 women, 4114 men (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 haven’t received any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 11.01.2019, 272 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 102 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed (one name has been removed and added to the relevant list in the LPR to avoid duplicating).
– 170 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 didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons: in September 2018 a man born in 1984 went missing.
As of 11 January 2019, 455 persons are considered missing. They might be held in Ukrainian captivity.
- 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 authorities in cities and districts are now responsible for accommodating affected civilians. Social housing objects, which used to carry out activities under the patronage of the Ombudsman Office, are authorized to supervise the authorities.
During the period of work between 29 December 2018 and 11 January 2019, 6 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1366 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7286 persons, including 1814 children under the age of eighteen have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 75 social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) have been opened in the territory of DPR. 52 of them operate, 23 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2473 individuals live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 470 underage children, 4813 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1344 children under eighteen.
- Employment situation in the DPR
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
As reported by the Centre, in the period from 1 and 11 January 2019:
- there were 11.1 thousand vacant positions registered in the Centre by employers;
- there were 7.5 thousand job-seekers registered at the Employment Centre. Among them: 3.8 thousand have been employed (128 of them – on permanent positions, 3.6 thousand – temporarily).
The Republican Employment Centre organises training and retraining that covers most demanded professions: electric and gas welder, plasterer, bricklayer, painter, roofer (roll-roofing and shingles), maintenance technician, automotive service technician, repair and maintenance electrician, operator of chemical treatment of water, furnace equipment inspector, boiler-house operator (stoker), seamstress, hairdresser, seller, chef.