Never ask for whom the bell tolls:
it tolls for you
On April 26, the world recalled the tragic events of 31 years ago that occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. At the time of the accident, the plant was the most powerful in the Soviet Union. Radioactive cloud passed over the European part of the USSR, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. It is assumed that 60% of all radioactive fallout fell on the territory of Belarus. There was a need for an urgent evacuation of about 200,000 people from contaminated areas. Thousands of people from all republics of the former USSR took part in elimination of the consequences of the accident. The more time passes after those events, the more we become aware of what had happened and what could have happened, if it were not for those selfless people whom we call “liquidators”.
That accident became a new milestone in the history of nuclear energy. It showed us how dangerous the power of the atom, deprived of control, is, and how incredibly difficult it is to suppress it. A trouble that occurred in April 1986 disastrously affected the lives and health of millions of people around the world. And for many more years we will feel its effects. Now we associate the word “Chernobyl” with tears of mothers, pale children’s faces, queues in hospitals and people who died from radiation. The tragedy of Chernobyl completely changed the lives of those who were forcedly evacuated from the “dead zone”. They only had time to take some necessary and valuable things. Other hard-earned possessions were left behind. Thousands had to get used to living in new places, to find new jobs. For them, life was divided into “before” and “after”.
Unfortunately, the country that survived the monstrous catastrophe – the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant – did little to draw any conclusions on the environmental security of its citizens.
As a result of fighting in the East of Ukraine and the lack of due monitoring of the ecological and technogenic state of the region by Ukrainian authorities, Donbass is one step away from a disaster and there’s a risk of a “second Chernobyl”. The danger of a possible technogenic catastrophe would affect not only the population of the industrial region, but will go far beyond its limits. And then it is unlikely that Ukrainian officials will be able to wall themselves off from the rebellious Donbass through delimitation, checkpoints, artillery systems, blockades and a huge number of uncontrolled battalions. Danger threatens one and all. But what are the actions of the official Kiev to deal with this? It continues to use targeted fire against infrastructure facilities.
On February 17 Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic approved the “Humanitarian Program for the Reunification of the People of Donbass”. The document was presented at the Minsk meeting and was approved by the OSCE representative Tony Frisch. One of the objectives of the program is to ensure environmental safety of Donbass through preventing and reducing the negative impact on the environment.
The right to live in a safe environment is an inalienable right of every person. 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 2001 appeals. In the period of work between 22 and 28 April 2017, 5 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 46 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 48 calls were made via hotlines. 14 applications were received via e-mail, 14 written appeals were taken into consideration, 2 citizens were provided with legal counseling.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 84 appeals, violations in civil law– 197 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 2 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 1718 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 – 232 appeals, temporary accommodation – 270 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 35 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 93 appeals, employment – 70 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 7 appeals, search of the missing – 62 appeals, loss of IDs – 200 appeals, housing issues – 123 appeals, temporary residence permit – 94 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 532 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 21.04.2017
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 21.04.2017
- 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 27 April 2017 more than 11308 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6793 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 526 units in Gorlovka, 81 units in Dokuchayevsk, 295 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 72 units in Kirovskoye, 1109 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 749 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 577 units in Yasynovataya, 278 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 53 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6192 houses;
– 760 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 175 heating supply facilities;
– 48 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 11 wastewater disposal and sewerage facilities;
– 101 healthcare facilities;
– 506 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 56 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;
– 260 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 28 April 2017 there are 2808 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 513 – rebuilt and 2295 – 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 22 April during military operation in Sakhanka village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1987 sustained a gunshot fracture of the left shoulder.
As a result of hostilities in Avdeyevka industrial zone, a DPR serviceman born in 1989 sustained a gunshot bullet wound.
On 23 April as a result of shelling in Zaitsevo village, near Gorlovka, a civilian man of 58 years old sustained shrapnel wound of the pelvic.
As a result of hostilities near Uglegorsk, a DPR serviceman of 38 years old sustained shrapnel wound of the head, of the left chest; a DPR serviceman of 34 years old sustained a shrapnel wound of the right forearm, left scapular region.
As a result of provocative fire by Ukrainian forces near Debaltsevo, a DPR serviceman of 28 years old sustained shrapnel wound of the left foot.
On 25 April a civilian man of 49 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, open fracture of the left shin, shrapnel wounds of the right shin. He was wounded while fishing in Gurty village, near Gorlovka.
As a result of shelling against Petrovskiy district of Donetsk, a civilian woman born in 1957 sustained a shrapnel wound to the right hip joint; a civilian man born in 1955 sustained a shrapnel wound of the right hand, neck (on the right), nasal bridge, parietal region with foreign body; a civilian man born in 1981 sustained a shrapnel wound of the chest.
On 26 April a DPR serviceman of 52 years old sustained shrapnel wound near Debaltsevo.
On 27 April as a result of hostilities near Debaltsevo a DPR serviceman born in 1974 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the lumbar region (on the right) .
As a result of shell burst in Yasinovataya, a child born in 2000 sustained an injury of the right eye, shrapnel wound to the middle third of the left shin, avulsion of the hand.
As a result of hostilities in Krutaya Balka village, near Yasinovataya, the DPR servicemen born in 1970, 1991, 1988 and 1972 sustained mine-blast traumas.
On 28 April, in the early morning a civilian man born in 1953 sustained multiple shrapnel wounds, chest bruise, cerebral contusion as a result of shelling near water supply unit “Severniy”, Kievskiy district of Donetsk.
Within the period between 21 and 28 April 2017, 18 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine. Among them, there were 11 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian woman, 6 civilian men, including one child.
Within the period between 1 January and 28 April 2017 245 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 143 DPR servicemen and 102 civilians, including 5 children under 18.
Within the period between 21 and 27 April 2017, 2 persons died in the territory of DPR. All of them were DPR servicemen. On 24 April a civilian man born in 1981 died in the hospital of injuries sustained as a result of shelling in Makeyevka on 20 January.
Within the period between 1 January and 27 April 2017, 121 persons, including 110 servicemen and 11 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4410 persons died. Among them, there were 597 women and 3813 men, including 74 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
On April 26, in Minsk, another round of arduous talks was held. Mechanism of verification for the detainees who refuse to cross the delimitation line after the exchange was the main issue of the agenda.
At the last moment, the negotiators came to agreement that on Friday, April 28, at 8:00 verification starts. Having left early on the morning of April 28, relatives had to stand in the gray zone for more than an hour, as the representatives of the Ukrainian side were delayed.
As Ukrainian representatives arrived, they gave full security guarantees for persons participating in verification for the period of their stay in Ukraine.
«The representative of the Security Service of Ukraine assured the safety of relatives of detainees in the Ukrainian territory. At the moment, the group is heading to Mariupol. This will be the first city, where the procedure will begin. In total, relatives of detained persons are to visit about 7 colonies, this will roughly take 15 days. Once the verification forms are received, we will know how many people will return to the territory of the Republic as a result of the exchange.
Let me remind that the safety of the wives and mothers of the detained persons was discussed twice at the CG and 6 times at regular meetings of the humanitarian subgroup in Minsk», – 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 28.04.2017, 771 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 473 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 295 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
– 3 persons, for whom the request to the Ukrainian side was submitted for the first time.
As of 28 April 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 recent months, more and more people address both to human rights organizations of Ukraine and human rights bodies of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The complaints deal with automatic termination of pension and social benefits. The Security Service of Ukraine initiated the termination of payments. It compiled lists of displaced persons who allegedly had not been residing in the territory controlled by Ukraine.
According to various sources, starting from several thousand people in some areas, and up to 70,000 persons in other areas, may be effected by this.
Termination of payments is nearly always justified by the provisions of the CMU Decision No. 365, which approved the possibility of termination of social payments to displaced persons on the basis of lists compiled by the Security Service or the State Border Service. Since the adoption of the Decision No. 365, human rights organizations have begun to note its illegal nature, as it contradicts the Constitution and Ukrainian legislation on pensions.
The “SSU Lists” and any other discriminatory mechanisms that control payments to displaced persons lead to systematic violations of rights of internally displaced persons. To solve this problem, it is necessary to separate these two concepts – obtaining pension and obtaining an IDP certificate. Thus, all residents of Donbass could receive their legitimate payments without hindrance.
It is still unclear how exactly these lists are formed and, most importantly, why the state, instead of developing an effective mechanism for providing pensions and other social benefits without IDP certificate, has launched a new wave of termination of such payments.
It’s the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office that deals with issues of temporary displaced persons in the Donetsk People’s Republic. 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.
1391 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 279 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5100 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 206 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 22 and 28 April 2017, 22 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 5 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office: 2 – in Donetsk, 3 – in Makeyevka.
There are currently 1250 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1194 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 330 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 56 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 8301 persons, including 2150 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, 3032 individuals live in the centres, including 602 underage children, 5269 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1548 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
Legal employment is the basis for social security of the working population. Legal and open character of building labor relations between an employer and an employee must become the rule in our young state.
“Illegal employment” (or “disguised employment”) is very common. This is a type of employment, when the fact of labor relations is officially hidden. Usually these relations are concealed at the initiative of the employer, so as to avoid paying taxes or circumvent a particular law. In such cases, salary is paid in cash (or “in envelopes”).
Employers who use illegal labour are the only who benefit. They ignore the interests of workers and violate their constitutional rights. After all, a person who works legally is protected by law, and an illegal employee remains unprotected in the event of certain cases.
These employees are not protected from illegal dismissal; they do not have a right to safe working conditions, paid annual leave, and temporary incapacity benefit. Each “hidden” month of work, each “shadow” payment leaves these people without any contribution period for future pension.
Managers of enterprises practicing illegal employment also risk: the supervising bodies can impose penalties on them for violating the norms of labor legislation and obtaining “grey” revenue; they have no opportunity to hold an illegal employee accountable in case of financial shortage, damage or theft of property etc. In addition, illegal workers usually change their job more often than those who are in employment relationships in accordance with the legislation. Thus, illegal employment is unprofitable for either employees or employers.
Employment centres of the Donetsk People’s Republic guarantee legal employment for job seekers. Employees of the centres provide an up-to-date list of available vacancies and, if necessary, send them to retraining courses.
According to their data, 12,2 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 28.04.2017. As of 28 April 2017, there were 23 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 18,3 thousand have been employed (6,7 of them – on permanent positions, 11,6 – 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, 133 persons participated in those workshops.