On September 4, the Supreme Court of Ukraine declared illegal the government’s decision to freeze the payment of pensions to residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic. The Grand Chamber upheld the decision of the court of the first instance, which ruled that the termination of the payment of pensions to temporarily displaced persons on grounds not envisaged in legislation is considered unlawful. Failure to comply with this decision of the Supreme Court of Ukraine by the Kiev authorities caused concern among international organizations that closely monitor respect for human rights in the territory of Ukraine.
Thus, in a press release published in Geneva on September 11, the Director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Regional Bureau for Europe Pascal Moreau calls on the Ukrainian authorities to implement the decision of the Supreme Court of Ukraine as soon as possible and facilitate the lives of people still hoping for these payments. As highlighted in the press release, UNHCR continues to call on the international community to support 3.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance due to the conflict.
We remind you that in June 2016, Kiev tightened the procedure for receiving pensions for residents of Donbass. The procedure for registration of payments demands, except for the obligatory crossing of the line of contact every two months, to provide the Ukrainian side with a large number of certificates and documents, including an IDP certificate. It can only be issued when formalizing a new registration in Ukraine.
According to the Ukrainian law, a person has the right to a pension at the place of his/her actual residence, as well as for transfers to his/her bank account. So, the fact that a person is registered in a territory beyond Kyiv’s control shall not deprive him/her of the right to a pension. Otherwise, the human right to movement, the Constitution of Ukraine, and the law on Universal Compulsory State Social Insurance are violated. Article 47 states that a person has the right to a pension.
The right of displaced persons to pension is provided by the law “On the Protection of the Rights and Freedoms of Internally Displaced Persons”, and the procedure for social payments, which was equated to pensions for IDPs by the government, is regulated by a separate Decree No. 365 of June 2016, while other citizens of Ukraine receive pension under a different procedure. The fact that there’s a separate legislation for IDPs to receive pension violates their rights.
Ukraine must have significant financial resources, which it does not have, to restore pension payments to residents of the Republics. According to the current Ukrainian legislation, Kiev is obliged to repay all debts to citizens for the period of time when such payments were frozen. This is the amount of about billions of hryvnias. Considering how much the Ukrainian leadership is tightening the procedure for receiving pensions, it is unlikely that they make a “gesture of goodwill” for the residents of the Republics.
We underline that Ukraine is obliged to resume social payments under the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements. More specifically, this is envisaged in paragraph 8. By signing the Minsk Agreements, the Ukrainian government undertook to fully restore social transfers, such as payment of pensions and other social benefits to Donbass residents. Ukraine is delaying the negotiation process, trying in every possible way to avoid responsibility for people who have worked for many years for the well-being of the country and are entitled to receive a well-deserved pension.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Ombudsman Office is responsible for observance of the rights and freedoms. So, one can file a complaint with the Ombudsman or make an appointment for a personal reception if his\her rights have been violated.
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 4153 complaints. In the period of work between 8 and 14 September 2018, 14 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 19 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 13 persons received legal counselling. 5 written appeals were approved for consideration, 5 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 31 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 – 298 appeals, violations in civil law– 332 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 5 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 2031 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 512 appeals, other issues – 975 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 14.09.2018
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 – 507 appeals, temporary accommodation – 538 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 206 appeals, migration legislation issues – 348 appeals, labour legislation issues – 172 appeals, healthcare issues – 116 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 53 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 22 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 24 appeals, land use and tenure – 12 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 33 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 14.09.2018
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 14.09.2018
- Death toll, injuries 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 9 September, as a result of military operations in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1990 sustained penetrating gunshot wound to the right eye.
On 11 September, a DPR serviceman at the age of 25 sustained shrapnel wound to left shin during mine clearance near Debaltsevo.
As a result of military operations in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1986 sustained perforating wound to the chest.
On 12 September, as a result of shelling against Sakhanka village, Novoazovsk region, a civilian man born in 1959 sustained mine-blast trauma, comminuted fracture to the lower-third of his right shin.
A DPR serviceman born in 1981 sustained perforating gunshot bullet wound, open gunshot fracture.
Within the period between 7 and 13 September 2018, 5 persons sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side (4 DPR servicemen and one civilian man).
Within the period between 1 January and 13 September 2018, 245 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR.
The Ombudsman Office was reported on a death of a DPR serviceman on 31 August, in Dokuchaevsk.
Within the period between 7 and 13 September 2018, no deaths were reported.
Within the period between 1 January and 13 September 2018, 118 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 8 women and 110 men, including 2 underage children.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4685 persons died. Among them, there are 613 women and 4072 men, including 78 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 1987 was detained in April 2018 at the line of contact.
Based on the updated figures as of 14.09.2018, 283 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 82 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 201 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 14 September 2018, 473 persons are considered missing. There is a possibility that they are held in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of displaced persons and affected citizens.
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, 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 authorities in cities and districts are now responsible for accommodating affected civilians. Social housing objects, which used to carry out activities under the patronage of the Ombudsman Office, are authorized to supervise the authorities.
During the period of work between 8 and 13 September 2018, 18 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1252 accommodation places available for IDPs in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Since the beginning of the conflict, 7421 persons, including 1821 children under the age of eighteen have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 75 social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) have been opened in the territory of DPR. 51 of them operate, 24 of them are held in reserve. The status of one social housing object has been changed to reserved, displaced persons living there moved to other social housing objects. Currently, 2608 individuals live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 499 underage children, 4813 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1313 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
As reported by the Centre, in the period from 1 January to 14 September 2018:
- there were 37.4 thousand vacant positions registered in the Centre by employers;
- there were 34.2 thousand job-seekers registered at the Employment Centre. Among them: 26.0 thousand have been employed (16.9 of them – on permanent positions, 9.1 – temporarily).
- 299 job-seekers have undergone professional training facilitated by employment centres: 55 persons undergone training and 244 persons – retraining.
The training covered most demanded professions: electric and gas welder, plasterer, bricklayer, painter, roofer (roll-roofing and shingles), maintenance technician, automotive service technician, repair and maintenance electrician, operator of chemical treatment of water, furnace equipment inspector, boiler-house operator, stoker, seamstress, hairdresser, seller, chef.