You cannot play the Song of Freedom
on an instrument of oppression.
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
“Maidan” that took place in far 2014 caused the coup d’état, and the catastrophe that is now proudly called “national self-consciousness”. Three years ago, active dividing of the inhabitants of Ukraine into groups on religious, national and linguistic grounds began.
Citizens were divided into “friend and foe”. “Friend” is a citizen who trusts the new government, hang on every word of the new president, positively assesses all the innovations in the country, even if they restrict their basic inalienable rights. “Foe” dared to express their disagreement; they decided to fight for truth and honor. Then the bloody war in Donbass began as a result of the government’s unwillingness to “hear” its people.
It is sad that, despite three years of war and thousands of innocent victims, the Ukrainian authorities did not realize that nothing could be worse than national strife.
Recently, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law that restricts the use of the Russian language in the media. The explanatory note states: “It is hereby approved that the proportion of programs and / or films in the Ukrainian language should be at least 75% during the day at each of the time intervals from 07:00 to 18:00 and from 18:00 before 22:00 for TV and radio broadcasting organizations of the national broadcasting category”. This begs the question: Is it really so urgent for the government to deal with the language issue now, in such a difficult time for ordinary Ukrainians? Has it already solved the problems of economy, health, education? In the end, the country’s most acute problem is not resolved – the civil war in Donbass.
Instead of solving these issues, the so-called “government” approved another destabilizing law aimed at splitting the country into two parts. It is worth noting that the introduction of language quotas for radio and television was adopted shortly after banning of popular social networks and services of Russian production. Of course, nobody asked the opinion of the Ukrainian people. That is the “law-based” “democratic” state! That is the guaranteed and inalienable right to “freedom of speech”!
It is important that more than 80% of the residents of the capital of Ukraine prefer to speak in Russian in everyday communication. If Ukrainian laws really were aimed at improving the quality of life of citizens, they would be given the right to choose.
The Donetsk People’s Republic guarantees respect for the rights of its citizens. Two languages, Russian and Ukrainian, are established by law as official languages.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic human rights are patronized by the Human Rights Ombudsman and her Office.
Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications is 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 2017 the Ombudsman received 2389 appeals. In the period of work between 20 and 26 May 2017, 18 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 39 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 43 calls were made via hotlines. 15 applications were received via e-mail, 5 written appeals were taken into consideration, 9 – have been considered among those received earlier, 29 citizens were provided with legal counseling.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 123 appeals, violations in civil law– 240 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 2 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 2024 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 21.04.2017
Violations in criminal law
Violations in civil law
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
Issues of social and humanitarian affairs
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 – 277 appeals, temporary accommodation – 282 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 48 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 117 appeals, employment – 86 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 7 appeals, search of the missing – 75 appeals, loss of IDs – 212 appeals, housing issues – 139 appeals, temporary residence permit – 117 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 664 appeals (diagram 2).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens on social and humanitarian isses, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 19.05.2017
Pension and social payments
Search of the missing soldiers
Search of the missing civilians
Temporary residence permit
Paperwork in case of property destruction
Paperwork on travelling documents
Loss of IDs
Other social and humanitarian issues
The majority of complains 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 19.05.2017
- Statistics and analysis of destroyed infrastructure objects
Targeted shelling by Ukrainian forces causes destruction of private property and infrastructure – this is the reality of the front-line regions of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
As of 25 May 2017 more than 11343 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6807 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 526 units in Gorlovka, 83 units in Dokuchayevsk, 306 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 75 units in Kirovskoye, 1109 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 750 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 577 units in Yasinovataya, 278 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 57 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6206 houses;
– 769 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 175 heating supply facilities;
– 46 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 14 wastewater and sewerage facilities;
– 102 healthcare facilities;
– 512 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 59 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 54 cultural institutions;
– 240 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 59 industrial objects;
-89 trade objects;
– 261 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 5 May 2017 there are 2809 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 520 – rebuilt and 2289 – are to be rebuilt.
- 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 rights of Donbass citizens by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to the inviolability of the home.
On May 20 as a result of shelling in Petrovskiy district of Donetsk a civilian man born in 1963 sustained a mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the upper third of right shin.
As a result of shelling in Petrovskiy region of Donetsk a civilian man born in 1956 sustained shrapnel wounds of the left part of parietal region with foreign body.
As a result of hostilities in Octyabyr village of Novoazovsk region a DPR serviceman born in 1972 sustained a gunshot wound of left heel.
On May 22, as a result of shelling against Yakovlevka village of Yasinovataya region a civilian man of 38 years old sustained comminuted fracture of right thighbone. As a result of shelling against Spartak village, a civilian woman sustained minor injuries. She refused from hospitalization.
On May 23, as a result of hostilities in Krutaya Balka of Yasinovataya region, a DPR serviceman born in 1976 sustained mine-blast trauma, with multiple foreign bodies in mucous membrane and cornea of the eyes.
On May 24, as a result of hostilities in Petrovskiy region of Donetsk a DPR serviceman born in 1981 sustained penetrating gunshot wound of the chest; a DPR serviceman born in 1986 sustained bruise of the right part of the chest.
As a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces in Petrovskiy district of Donetsk a woman born in 1953 sustained mine-blast trauma, penetrating shrapnel wound of the parietal region. A woman of 75 years old sustained shrapnel wound of left scapula with foreign body.
As a result of shelling in Petrovskiy district of Donetsk a civilian man of 64 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the right thigh with damage to femoral artery.
As a result of massive shelling in Gorlovka, a civilian woman of 74 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of left thigh.
Within the period between 19 and 25 May 2017, 12 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine. Among them, there were 4 DPR servicemen, 4 civilian women, 4 civilian men.
Within the period between 1 January and 25 May 2017 323 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 182 DPR servicemen and 133 civilians, including 8 children under 18.
Within the period between 6 and 18 May 2017, 14 persons died in the territory of DPR. Among them there were 13 DPR servicemen, 1 civilian woman, who died on May 17 in Krutaya Balka village, near Yasinovataya.
Within the period between 1 January and 25 May 2017, 151 persons, including 137 servicemen and 14 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4440 persons died. Among them, there were 599 women and 3841 men, including 75 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. The information is being processed at the moment and it will be included into general statistics of the injured individuals.
- Register of the prisoners of war and missing soldiers and civilians
In 2015, the so-called “Savchenko Law” came into effect in Ukraine. Amendments to Article 72 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine prescribe that the court shall deduct the time previously spent in remand prison as two days of imprisonment in case of conviction to imprisonment within the same criminal procedure in which a person was placed in pre-trial detention. The introduction of this Law by Ukrainian deputies was demanded by European parliamentarians. It was envisaged that this legal document would guarantee the protection of the rights of people awaiting trial, since the investigation is often delayed and detainees have to spend years in inhuman conditions.
At the moment, hundreds of supporters of the Donetsk People’s Republic languish in remand prisons throughout Ukraine. Most of them are not criminals, they were arrested for political reasons, as individuals undesirable for Ukrainian authorities. “Savchenko Law” was a hope that after conviction the term of imprisonment would be reduced, and they would become free people again.
After two years in force, the law is to be canceled. The decision is completely irrational, because it directly aggravates the plight of people under investigation. It is obscene that persons who have committed serious crimes has already benefited from the law. Criminals who are irrelevant to the conflict were released. At the same time, people detained for exercising their right to expression are deprived of the opportunity to shorten the term of imprisonment.
While the Donetsk People’s Republic is making every effort to release prisoners of war through the “all-for-all” formula, the Ukrainian side is trying to delay the process. If Ukraine did not put forward new conditions at each meeting in Minsk, the final exchange list would have been ready.
“The official Kiev intentionally creates obstacles and every time finds new reasons to impede verification of 236 persons, 159 of which has been confirmed by the Ukrainian side, and 77 of those for whom no information has been. Unfortunately, we have to conclude that the representatives of Ukraine cannot provide reliable information about these individuals, perhaps they are no longer alive. I call on the official Kiev to pursue a constructive dialogue and stop deliberately delaying the process. We have to take all measures to perform the “all-for-all” exchange as early as possible”, – said Daria Morozova.
This week, no appeals on capture or missing persons were received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Based on the updated figures as of 26.05.2017, 729 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 426 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. 47 persons have been excluded from the list of the missing persons as a result of verification.
– 44 persons – confirmed their refusal from the exchange;
– 2 persons – have been released in March-April 2017 as they have served their sentences;
– 1 person – died of acute circulatory disease in early May, according to official information of the Ukrainian side.
– 295 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
– 8 persons, for whom the request to the Ukrainian side has been submitted.
As of 5 May 2017, 450 persons are considered missing.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about the individuals, who were detained by the Ukrainian side, the statistics may change.
The DPR Ombudsman`s Office will no longer publicly categorize the detainees by “serviceman”, “arrested for political reasons”, “civilian irrelevant to the conflict” due to safety considerations.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office is responsible for issues of forcibly displaced persons. The Office often interacts with charitable foundations and organizations of the Russian Federation to provide assistance to children affected by the armed conflict.
On May 23, the staff of the Ombudsman’s Office together with the Charitable Foundation “Center for Assistance to Street Children” of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation provided an opportunity for a child who suffered as a result of aggression by Ukraine to undergo rehabilitation in a children’s psychoneurological sanatorium “Kaluga-Bor”. In October 2014, a child born in 2000 received an open penetrating cerebral trauma with a severe brain contusion, as well as penetrating shrapnel wound with destruction of the left eyeball.
“It’s hard to imagine the scope of the psychological and social problems that physically challenged children face every day. But, we can help change the lives of children and give them a hope for a bright future, to make their life more vivid. It’s one of the main tasks of the Donetsk People’s Republic to take care of the younger generation, because children are the future of our state”, – said Dmitry Popov, the Chief Administrator of the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Unfortunately, the armed conflict not only threatens the life and health of children, but also affects the child’s psyche. A group of volunteer psychologists works under the patronage of the Ombudsman’s Office to provide psychological assistance and rehabilitation to them. They regularly organize activities aimed at psychological adaptation of children, entertain them with games, performances and master classes.
Every resident of Donbass region, including those living in areas temporarily controlled by Kiev, can apply to the Office and receive assistance. The body has temporary accommodation centres (TACs) at its disposal available for people who need temporary accommodation.
1322 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 261 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5111 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 217 of them – in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs of the Office monitor the TACs on the 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 20 and 26 May 2017, 27 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 7 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office: 4 – in Donetsk, 9 – in Khartsysk.
There are currently 1306 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1250 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 363 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 56 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 8363 persons, including 2159 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 68 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 57 of them operate today, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2946 individuals live in the centres, including 576 underage children, 5417 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1583 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
The problem of employment is viewed as one of the high-priority issues all over the world, since it is directly related to future social stability of the state.
The government, along with employment offices and employers, plays active role in implementing the employment policy. It is important to emphasize that state policy is based on the principles of promoting the realization of rights aimed at full, productive and freely chosen employment.
Basic principles and directions of the state policy in the field of promotion of employment are indicated in the Law of the Donetsk People’s Republic “On Employment” of May 29, 2015, No. 1-78P-NS (as amended on February 19, 2016 No. 106-INS). The state policy of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the sphere of employment is based on the following principles:
1) the priority of ensuring full, productive and freely chosen employment in the process of implementing the active social and economic policy of the state;
2) responsibility of the state for formation and implementation of policies in the field of employment;
3) ensuring equal opportunities for the population in the implementation of the right to work enshrined in the constitution;
4) promoting the effective use of labor potential and ensuring social protection of the population from unemployment.
In the sphere of employment, Republic Employment Centre is the main organ responsible for providing population with jobs. On May 25, employees of the Centre held a big job fair that consisted of fairs that were simultaneously held through all employment centres of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
During the fair more than 300 enterprises, organizations and institutions of the Donetsk People’s Republic presented their vacancies. The total number of vacancies presented was about 2.5 thousand. The population was given the opportunity to directly meet with representatives of employers and ask questions, clarify working conditions, pay, offer themselves as candidates for vacancies.
The staffs of employment centres issued referrals for work following the results of interviews registered as job seekers, if necessary.
The republican jobs fair in the cities and regions of the Republic was visited by 3,2 thousand job seekers. More than 1 thousand people received referrals for work at the fair.
According to their data, 14,6 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 26.05.2017. As of 26 May 2017, there were 26,1 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 21,1 thousand have been employed (8,5 of them – on permanent positions, 12,6 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organizes 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. Since the beginning of 2017, 175 persons participated in those workshops.