After the seizure of state power as a result of the armed coup on April 13, 2014, the illegitimate acting President of Ukraine Alexandr Turchynov announced the so-called “antiterrorist operation”. Then the armed forces of Ukraine were sent to fight civilian residents of two large industrial regions, declared terroristic. The war against its own people was cynically called “ATO”, and the sate army, designed to protect the people, began to destroy peaceful cities using weapons of various calibres. Then, on April 13, 2014, Ukraine began to wage war not only against the hardworking Donbass, but also against Ukrainian Constitution and all international legal acts guaranteeing observance and protection of human rights and freedoms.
On April 30, Ukraine launched the “Joint Forces Operation” (JFO) in Donbass which replaced “ATO”. This change of format was preceded by the adoption of Donbass reintegration law. The change of the format de jure confirmed the full power of the military in the conflict zone (including control over other departments – the Security Service of Ukraine and the Ministry of Internal Affairs). “JFO” severely limits civil liberties in the region and gives all powers to the hands of the Ukrainian military.
In this law, the Ukrainian authorities have tried to legalize all the illegal actions that they have been doing for the past 4 years:
- Using weapons and special means in case of emergency.
- Arrest and transfer of people to National Police bodies.
- Checking documents from citizens and officials, and detention until identity is established.
- Inspection of personal things and vehicles.
- Temporary restriction or prohibition of the movement of vehicles and pedestrians on the streets and roads.
Accordingly, for the past four years the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies had no legal grounds to arrests civilians, to accuse them of non-existent crimes (in fact, there is no Law in Ukrainian legislation that would formalize the status of Donbass Republics as terrorist organizations), to prolonged stay in custody. The responsibility for everything that has occurred for 4 years in the territory of the two former oblasts of Ukraine, as well as legal assessment of these actions remain an open issue.
The document establishes the following regimes for staying in the territory of Donbass for persons not involved in the conduct of the “JFO”: “green” regime (the stay and movement of persons is not restricted, except the areas of restricted and prohibited access), “yellow” regime (stay and movement of people is allowed providing that they have documents, inspection of citizens, their personal things and vehicles is carried out, this regime is established at the boundaries of isolation areas and areas of restricted access), “red” regime (the stay of persons is temporarily limited, prohibited, citizens and officials are only allowed upon presentation of a special pass; vehicles and citizens are not allowed to certain objects and areas). Admission to the area of prohibited access is possible upon presentation of passes of an established model, by the decision of the commander of the “joint forces”. The admission of unauthorized persons to such areas is prohibited.
It ought to be specified that the country has not declared a martial law (but it is actually being introduced), violating the rights of millions of people to free movement, inviolability of the person and property.
As noted by the Head of DPR delegation at the Minsk talks, speaker of the People’s Council Denis Pushilin:
“The only purpose of Kiev is to “legalize its crimes. As for the President of Ukraine Petr Poroshenko, he is seeking for more power. Although, whatever they would call the shelling against peaceful cities of Donbass, – this is a crime against humanity, which has no statute of limitations”.
In this context, Ukraine’s membership in the UN Human Rights Council looks particularly cynical, as the Ukrainian government not only violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens, but also ignores the recommendations of international human rights organizations.
In opposition to the actions of Kiev authorities, who declared human rights to be something optional and mythical, a young state was established in the territory of the former Donetsk region, where Rule of Law, the Rights and Freedoms of Man and the Citizen have been proclaimed.
The post of the Human Rights Ombudsman has been established in the Donetsk People’s Republic to ensure the state protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms, to prevent any form of discrimination regarding the exercise of their rights and freedoms.
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 2252 appeals. In the period of work between 28 April and 4 May 2018, 1 person visited the Ombudsman in person, 27 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 21 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 7 persons received legal counselling. 8 written appeals were approved for consideration, 8 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 14 calls were received via hotlines, 11 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 130 appeals, violations in civil law– 192 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 0 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 1067 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 304 appeals, other issues – 559 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 04.05.2018
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 – 251 appeals, temporary accommodation – 352 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 86 appeals, migration legislation issues – 167 appeals, labour legislation issues – 74 appeals, healthcare issues – 67 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 27 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 9 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 18 appeals, land use and tenure – 1 appeal, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 15 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 04.05.2018
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 04.05.2018
- 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: right to life, to security of the person, to inviolability of the home.
April 28, as a result of shelling in Dokuchaevsk by Ukrainian forces, a civilian woman born in 1955 sustained shrapnel wound to the shoulder. Two men born in 1951 and 1968 sustained wounds, incompatible with life.
As a result of shelling in Petrovskiy district of Donetsk, a civilian woman born in 1942 sustained shrapnel wounds to the right knee joint, left tibia and right forearm; a man born in 1973 sustained bullet wound to the tibia.
As a result of shelling in Yasinovataya, a DPR serviceman born in 1998 sustained mine-blast trauma, tangential blunt wounds.
April 29, as a result of shelling in Elenovka urban-type settlement, a civilian man born in 1976 sustained gunshot wound to soft tissue of the back.
April 30, as a result of shelling in Yasinovataya, a DPR serviceman born in 1994 sustained gunshot wound to the right side of the chest.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1989, sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to left thigh, penetrating shrapnel wound of the left eye.
May 1, as a result of shelling in Verkhnetoretskoye village, Yasinovataya region, a civilian man born in 1960 sustained blunt shrapnel wound to the right infraclavicular region; a civilian woman born in 1961 sustained blunt shrapnel wound.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1994 sustained perforating bullet wound to the hand.
May 2, as a result of shelling in Elenovka urban-type settlement by Ukrainian forces, a civilian woman born in 1962 sustained contusion. After being examined by doctors, she refused hospitalization.
As a result of shelling in “Trudovskiye” bus station in Donetsk, a DPR serviceman of 25 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to left thigh with damage to femoral artery, multiple injuries of the right thigh and right shoulder.
May 3, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1980 sustained tangential wound of the chest; a DPR serviceman born in 1987 sustained blunt non-penetrating wound.
Within the period between 27 April and 3 May 2018, 14 persons sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side. Among them, there are 7 DPR servicemen, 4 civilian women and 3 civilian men.
Within the period between January 1 and May 3, 2018, 108 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 72 DPR servicemen, 23 civilian men and 13 civilian women.
Within the period between 27 April and 4 May, 2018 – 6 persons died in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there are 4 DPR servicemen, 2 civilian man, who died as a result of shelling in Dokuchaevsk by Ukrainian forces.
Within the period between January 1 and May 4, 2018, 51 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 44 DPR servicemen, 6 civilian men and 1 civilian woman.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4618 persons died. Among them, there are 607 women and 4011 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 the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic received one appeal on arrest. A man born in 1967 was detained at Mayorsk checkpoint in March 2018. He was accused of committing crimes provided for in Part 1 Art. 14, Part 3 Art. 258, Part 1 Art. 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Based on the updated figures as of 04.05.2018, 289 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 81 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 208 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons.
As of 4 May 2018, 452 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, civilian population living in the zone of fighting and near the contact line is often affected. With the view to protect 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.
1220 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation centres of the Office, including 226 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5374 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 131 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 28 April and 4 May, 2018, 21 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. One of them received a referral for temporary accommodation of the Ombudsman Office. There are currently 1199 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1199 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 290 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7554 persons, including 1881 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, 1480 individuals live in the centres, including 280 underage children, 4854 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1375 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, 21.1 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 4.05.2018. As of April, 2018, there were 20.6 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 14.7 thousand have been employed (7.3 of them – on permanent positions, 7.4 – 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. 77 persons participated in such seminars.