There are memorable dates that cannot be called a holiday. One of them is June 20. In 2001 the UN General Assembly proclaimed World Refugee Day, devoted to people forced to leave their homes in search of a better life, and in some cases, fleeing from death.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established in December 1950. It was designed to help millions of people who became refugees as a result of the Second World War. Their protection is guaranteed in accordance with the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. According to the text of the Convention, refugees are migrants who were forced to leave their country because of well-founded fears that they will be persecuted for any reasons (racial, religious, political or membership of a particular group or organization). People who find themselves in the same situation but within the country are called displaced persons and are under the jurisdiction of their state. Military conflicts continue around the world, and World Refugee Day is proof of this.
For more than 4 years since the beginning of the conflict in the East of Ukraine, many residents of Donbass have become refugees. Fear for their lives and their relative’s lives forced people to flee their homeland to find a safer place. They fled from military operations, reprisals and persecution of the Kiev authorities, due to the disagreement with the political regime. For most residents of the region, life began with a clean slate.
Being unable to continue their usual way of life, lacking a permanent place of residence and a job, often without identity documents, people face new problems, such as to enrol children in kindergartens and schools, to get medical assistance. However, the love for the homeland makes people stay here, in the warring Republic, in the hope of starting all over again, to return to a stable life in the future. Thousands of residents of the cities of Donetsk region and other regions of Ukraine have found refuge in the young Republic.
Since 2014, the DPR Human Right Ombudsman Office deals with issues of displaced persons, affected by the conflict, under the leadership of Daria Morozova. Human life is the main value of the Ombudsman. People who lost everything as no one else need full support from the state.
Among the main problems of people, there are finding a job and a place to live. Indeed, people fleeing from shelling, without money and even identity documents, have no opportunity to get their own housing. Since the beginning of the conflict, 5380 people applied to the Ombudsman Office for accommodation in Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs), there are 63 TACs in the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Ombudsman’s Office cooperates with the Republican Employment Centre to help displaced persons choose a profession, to find a job, to gain necessary qualifications. Also, legal advice on document issues is provided for people who live in TACs by specialists of the DPR Migration Service.
Also, volunteer psychologists, who work under the patronage of the Ombudsman Office, give psychological counselling free-of-charge to people affected by the conflict in order to help their adaptation and socialization.
Resolution of many problems requires funds, involving various organizations and foundations. To this end, international and non-governmental humanitarian organizations accredited in the territory of the Republic are involved in the working with people of this category.
No one should stay indifferent to refugee problems. Together we must do everything to ensure that people who have fled from the horrors of war finally feel safe in their native land. It is important for them to know and feel that they were not abandoned with disaster alone. In the Donetsk People’s Republic, they can always receive assistance, and the rights and freedoms will always be under reliable protection.
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.
Since the beginning of 2018, the Ombudsman received 2976 appeals. In the period of work between 16 and 22 June 2018, 23 persons visited the Ombudsman in person, 39 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 13 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 7 persons received legal counselling. 5 written appeals were approved for consideration, 7 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 19 calls were received via hotlines, 7 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 198 appeals, violations in civil law– 231 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 5 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 1418 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 388 appeals, other issues – 736 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 22.06.2018
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 – 335 appeals, temporary accommodation – 436 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 117 appeals, migration legislation issues – 240 appeals, labour legislation issues – 100 appeals, healthcare issues – 85 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 37 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 16 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 23 appeals, land use and tenure – 3 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 26 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 22.06.2018
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 22.06.2018
- Estimates of mortality, wounds 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, to inviolability of the home.
On 15 June, as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces in Zaitchenko, Novoazovsk region, a civilian man born in 1958 sustained blunt shrapnel wound of the upper-third of the right shoulder.
As a result of shelling in Gorlovka, a civilian woman born in 1937 sustained multiple shrapnel wounds of soft tissue, of the body.
On 18 June, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, DPR servicemen born in 1983 and 1965 sustained shrapnel wounds.
On 19 June, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, DPR serviceman born in 1992 sustained shrapnel wound to the back.
On 20 June, as a result of hostilities in Yasinovataya region, DPR serviceman at the age of 31 sustained shrapnel wounds.
As a result of shelling in Gorlovka by Ukrainian forces, a civilian man born in 1982 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to the head, left hand and chest.
On 21 June, as a result of hostilities in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region, a civilian man born in 1965 sustained blunt shrapnel wound to the right shoulder.
Within the period between 15 and 21 June 2018, 8 persons sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side. Of them, there were 4 DPR servicemen, 3 civilian men and 1 civilian woman.
Within the period between January 1 and June 21, 2018, 179 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 105 DPR servicemen, 49 civilian men, 23 civilian women and 2 underage children.
Within the period between 15 and 21 June 2018 – 2 DPR servicemen died in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between January 1 and June 21, 2018, 84 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 73 DPR servicemen, 7 civilian men and 4 civilian women.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4651 persons died. Among them, there are 610 women and 4041 men, including 76 children under eighteen.
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, three appeals on arrest were received by the Ombudsman Office.
A man born in 1983 was arrested in May 2018 in Slavyansk; he was accused of committing crimes under Articles 258 and 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
A man born in 1961 was arrested in March 2018 in Maryinka. He was accused of committing crimes under Article 258 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine
A Man born in 1966 was arrested in November 2017 in Kiev; he was accused of committing crimes under Articles 258 and 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Based on the updated figures as of 22.06.2018, 280 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 85 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 195 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
17 persons have been transferred to the list of missing persons due to lack of personal details.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons.
As of 22 June 2018, 471 persons are considered missing. There is a possibility that they are held in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
At the time of the 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, Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) have been opened in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Any person can receive temporary accommodation there if they need it.
1166 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation centres of the Office, including 213 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5380 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 137 of them – in 2018. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staff of the Office monitor the TACs on a weekly basis, with the view to respond promptly to the citizens’ needs. The Ombudsman makes every effort to improve social and living conditions for people who live in the TACs.
During the period of work between 16 and 22 June 2018, 15 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1248 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1248 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 342 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7426 persons, including 1847 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 63 temporary accommodation centres have been established within the territory of DPR. 55 of these TACs operate, 8 of them are held in reserve. The Ombudsman Office is in charge of 11 TACs.
Currently, 1476 individuals live in the centres, including 283 underage children, 4784 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1351 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
According to their data, 26.4 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 22.06.2018. As of 22 June 2018, there were 24.8 thousand individuals who seek for a job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 18.5 thousand have been employed (10.6 of them – on permanent positions, 7.9 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organises regular free public workshops to train practical skills, such as work with personal computers; technique and mechanization of trade accounts (work with cash register machines); the program “1C: Accounting 8.2.”; fundamentals of entrepreneurship; processing and decoration of textile and clothing products etc. 107 persons participated in such seminars.