This week, residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic honored the memory of the victims of two tragic events that occurred in the town of Snezhnoe and its outskirts five years ago.
On July 15, a memorial event was held to commemorate the victims of the air strike by the armed formations of Ukraine in the town of Snezhnoe in 2014. As a result of this perfidious attack on civilian objects and civilians, the entrance of a block of flats at the address 14 Lenina Str. collapsed, claiming 12 lives, about ten persons sustained injuries of varying severities, including one child.
The Ukrainian authorities have not yet taken responsibility for this incident, which is a gross violation of article 13 of Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II). According to this article, acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
Also, the Ukrainian side persists in denying their involvement in another tragic event, which had led to victims, whose memory was paid tribute to in the Donetsk People’s Republic on July 17. Five years ago, outside the Grabovo village, which is near Snezhnoe, a Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down on his way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, flight MH17. And more civilians became victims – 298 people, making this catastrophe one of the ten largest air crashes in the history of mankind.
Due to the high level of bias and politicizing, the process of investigating the tragedy continues for five years already. Being involved, the Ukrainian authorities continue to hide important data and look for possible ways to manipulate the investigation.
It became the main version of the possible reasons for the abduction of a retired DPR serviceman Vladimir Tsemakh, which occurred on June 27 in Snezhnoe. This illegal act was committed by the Security Service of Ukraine in violation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Article 1 of the Convention, ratified by Ukraine, says that no one can be subjected to enforced disappearance. At the same time, “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.”
Particular attention should be drawn to the circumstances of the abduction: the victim sustained injuries and was exposed to psychotropic drugs, which may further deteriorate his health. Earlier, Vladimir Tsemakh suffered three contusions, as well as a spinal fracture, suffers from high blood pressure, which requires its regular monitoring, taking appropriate medications, otherwise, there is a high risk of blood clots. Abduction with the use of the above methods of pressure threatens not only his health, but also his life. Thus, the actions of the Security Service of Ukraine officers constitute a violation of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, as well as Ukrainian legislation, namely Article 28 of the Constitution.
At the briefing of 10 July, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic Daria Morozova expressed the view that Vladimir Tsemakh was subjected to physical and psychological pressure, as well as the use of medications in order to obtain confessions in a trumped-up case. Also, this issue was discussed at the meeting of the Humanitarian Subgroup of the Contact Group on peaceful settlement in Donbass, which took place on July 17, at the initiative of the Donetsk People’s Republic. “At today’s meeting, I raised the issue of forcible detention of Vladimir Tsemakh and his illegal detention in the territory of Ukraine. I asked Mr. Frisch to pay special attention to this case and to visit Vladimir Tsemakh as part of his next trip to Kiev,” said Daria Morozova in her statement following the meeting.
As part of her activities, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic documents violations of the norms and requirements of international law, and also communicates relevant information to international human rights organizations. This is a necessary measure aimed at promoting the world community to influence the leadership of Ukraine in order to prevent the escalation of violence, as well as to ensure the observance of the rights and freedoms of Donbass residents provided for by international humanitarian law.
In her activities, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic stands guard over constitutional rights and freedoms of people, ensures their protection and monitors their compliance.
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 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 17 July, a staff of the DPR Ombudsman Office conducted an on-site reception of citizens in the administration of Novoazovsk region.
Four persons asked the human rights defender for assistance in restoring their violated rights as well as for legal counselling. At the on-site reception, the following issues were raised: issuing a passport of a DPR citizen, recognition of property rights for a detached house, and receiving a pension in connection with the loss of the breadwinner.
A representative of Ombudsman Office gave advice on the above-mentioned issues and provided a detailed clarification of the norms of the current legislation.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Ombudsman received 3785 complaints. In the period of work between 13 and 19 July 2019, 30 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 2 written appeals have been received; 4 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 13 persons received legal counselling, and 4 persons were assisted through on-site reception. 36 written appeals were approved for consideration, 15 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 47 calls were received via hotlines, 10 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 346 appeals, violations in civil law – 389 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 48 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 131 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 216 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 157 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 1472 appeals, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 721 appeals, other issues – 305 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 19.07.2019
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 – 481 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 49 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 269 appeals, migration legislation issues – 416 appeals, labour legislation issues – 125 appeals, healthcare issues – 120 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 12 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 19.07.2019
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 19.07.2019
- 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 13 July, as a result of shelling in Dokuchaevsk by armed formations of Ukraine, a civilian man born in 1973 sustained a perforating bullet wound.
As a result of shelling in Sakhanka, Novoazovsk region, a civilian woman born in 1946 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to the chest.
As a result of hostilities outside Yasinovataia, two servicemen born in 1979 and 1991 sustained mine-blast traumas and shrapnel wounds of varying severities.
On 17 July, as a result of shelling in the outskirts of Yasinovataia, a DPR serviceman born in 1984 was wounded.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1990 sustained a bullet wound, a shrapnel wound to the chest.
Also, the Human Rights Ombudsman was reported that on 13 July a civilian woman born in 1934 addressed to a medical institution. She sustained a mine-blast trauma, blunt shrapnel wound to the lower-third of the left shin as a result of shelling in Gorlovka on 10 July.
Within the period between 12 and 18 July 2019, the Human Rights Ombudsman Office was reported on the following injuries sustained as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine: 7 persons, including 4 DPR servicemen, 2 civilian women and 1 civilian man.
Within the period between 12 and 18 July 2019, 2 persons died in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 1 civilian woman, who died as a result of shelling in Kuibyshevo District of Donetsk on 19 July, and 1 DPR serviceman died.
Within the period between 1 January and 18 July 2019, 110 persons, including 103 DPR servicemen, 4 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 4839 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 19.07.2019, 249 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 101 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 148 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 19 July 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 13 and 19 July 2019, 4 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1077 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 6959 persons, including 1714 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, 2348 persons live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 443 underage children, 4611 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1271 children.