This week, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights published the next, twentieth Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine for the period from August 16 to November 15, 2017.
The report details the human rights situation in time of the armed conflict, paying special attention to detainees, arbitrary arrest, and to judicial proceedings. OHCHR continued to document incidents of unregistered detention, when people were held incommunicado before being transferred to the official detention facility. “Such a practice increases the likelihood of torture and ill-treatment aimed at obtaining confessions,” the Report says.
Cases covered by the Report took place earlier, but they were documented in this reporting period.
In August 2015 Security Service of Ukraine arrested two residents of Kharkiv region. They were charged with supporting Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic, and with planning subversive activities. Both victims were transferred to SSU Regional Office, where they were tortured (beaten, trussed up, subjected to imitation of execution, threatened violence against their families) until they signed testimony against themselves. They were given some medical assistance, but it was forbidden for doctors to document injuries. One of the victims asked his lawyer not to complain about torture in the court, because he was afraid of repressions. In remand prison he told doctors that he got the traumas when he fell down the tree. Both victims were in custody at time of writing of the Report.
Persons arrested and detained on charges related to the conflict often become victims to human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrest, torture and abuse. This trend indicates that most of the above-mentioned violations were committed soon after arrest and were aimed at obtaining incrimination testimony and evidence. Complaints of victims regarding torture and ill-treatment were often ignored, even in court. OHCHR staff documented cases showing that immediate access to lawyer remains a concern.
The post of the Human Rights Ombudsman was 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 2017 the Ombudsman received 6012 appeals. In the period of work between December 9 and 15, 2017, 8 person visited the Ombudsman in person, 45 claims were accepted by the Appeals department 56 calls were made via hotlines. 10 applications were received via e-mail, 6 written appeals were taken into consideration, 14 – have been reviewed among those received earlier, 15 persons have been given legal assistance.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 377 appeals, violations in civil law– 785 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 40 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 4810 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 15.12.2017
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 – 690 appeals, temporary accommodation – 533 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 127 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 186 appeals, employment – 177 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents –12 appeals, search of the missing – 207 appeals, loss of IDs – 352 appeals, housing issues – 314 appeals, temporary residence permit – 230 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 1982 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 15.12.2017
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 15.12.2017
- 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 September 28, 2017 more than 11413 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6845 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 528 units in Gorlovka, 91 units in Dokuchayevsk, 312 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 75 units in Kirovskoye, 1113 units in Makeyevka, 56 units in Snyezhnoye, 122 units in Torez, 750 units in Khartsysk, 75 units in Shakhtyorsk, 582 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:
– 6247 houses;
– 770 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 176 heating supply facilities;
– 52 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 14 wastewater and sewerage facilities;
– 102 healthcare facilities;
– 519 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 59 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 55 cultural institutions;
– 241 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 63 industrial objects;
– 89 trade objects;
– 269 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of December 14, 2017 there are 2842 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 666 – rebuilt and 2175 – 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 against Donbass citizens by Kiev authorities: violation of the right to life, to security of the person, to inviolability of the home.
On December 9, a DPR serviceman born in 1994 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to soft tissue of the head as a result of hostilities near Yasinovataya.
On December 10, as a result of fighting in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1962 sustained blunt shrapnel wound to the right shoulder girdle, a DPR serviceman born in 1972 sustained shrapnel wounds to occipital region and to lumbar region.
On December 11, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, servicemen born in 1971, 1997 and 1999 sustained wounds of varying severities.
On December 12, as a result of shelling in Dokuchaevsk by Ukrainian forces a civilian man born in 1955 sustained multiple traumatic gunshot shrapnel wounds to the soft tissue; a civilian woman born in 1955 sustained bruises to soft tissue of head.
As a result of hostilities in Debaltsevo, a DPR serviceman of 41 years old sustained perforating shrapnel wound to the lower third of left thigh.
On December 14, as a result of shelling in Dokuchaevsk, a civilian man born in 1987 sustained penetrating shrapnel wound to the chest; a civilian man born in 1956 sustained mine-blast trauma, gunshot shrapnel wound to the lumbar region.
Within the period between 8 and 14 December, 2017, 11 persons sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side. Among them, 3 DPR servicemen and 2 civilian men.
Within the period between January 1 and December 14, 2017, 571 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 342 DPR servicemen and 229 civilians, including 14 children under 18.
Within the period between 8 and 14 December, 2017, 8 DPR servicemen died in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between January 1 and December 14, 2017, 269 persons, including 239 servicemen and 30 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including two underage children.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4558 persons died. Among them, there are 605 women and 3953 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. 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, missing soldiers
On December 12, a videoconference of the humanitarian subgroup was held.
“Unfortunately, the negotiators didn’t agree on the exchange date. We asked the Ukrainian side about it more than 20 times, but they kept avoiding the questions. Representatives of Ukraine claim that detainees refuse to participate in the exchange. Besides, now we are going to carry out another verification, on which the Ukrainian side insists,” said the Ombudsman.
Verification of persons who refused from participation in the exchange was conducted in several stages. The procedure was finished in August, and all parties agreed to its results.
“Now Ukrainian representatives offer us lists with varying figures, asserting that people are refusing from participation in the exchange, however, we have another data. Detainees call us and confirm that they do want to participate in the exchange. I suggested holding the verification directly on the contact line, during the exchange, so as people could tell their decision on the contact line. The Ukrainian side categorically rejected this proposal.
I would like to stress once again that the Donetsk People’s Republic is ready for the exchange, we can hold it any time. Unfortunately, we cannot agree on the exchange date due to the fault of the Ukrainian side.
That is why we demanded that the Ukrainian side provides us information on all persons in tabular format, specifying a document that testifies a detainee’s clean record (Court Decision, Act of Pardon) before the exchange. I hope that the Ukrainian side handles all obstacles, and that the expected exchange under the format 306 for 74 will be carried out before the New Year,” said Daria Morozova.
This week, the DPR Ombudsman’s Office was reported on detention of 14 persons.
A man born in 1983 was detained in Dnepropetrovsk in September 2017. The man was charged with committing crimes under Article 258-3 part 1, Article 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. A man born in 1991 was detained in Krasnoarmeisk in October, 2017. The man was charged with committing crimes under Article258-3 part 1, Article 263 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. A man born in 1973 was detained in Mariupol in July 2017 by SSU staff. The man was charged with committing crimes under Article 195 part 5 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. A man born in 1992 was detained in Kharkiv in September 2017, accusing him of breaches of prison supervision. Earlier, he was charged with committing crimes under Article258-3 part 1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Based on the updated figures as of 15.12.2017, 468 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 253 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. 3 persons were released, as they have served their sentences.
– 215 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side. During 2017 we submitted requests on six persons to the Ukrainian side. We haven’t received any response yet. Besides, there are persons, for whom a request was submitted to the Ukrainian side for the first time.
This week, the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic received 6 appeals on missing persons. The men went missing in 2014 and 2015 during fighting in Shakhtyorsk, Slavyansk and Yasinovataya.
As of 15 December 2017, 452 persons are considered missing. Hypothetically, they might be in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) have been opened in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Any person can receive temporary accommodation there if they need it. 1147 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 223 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5242 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 348 of them – in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs 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 8 and 14 December, 2017, 36 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on issues related to internally displaced persons. Three of them were accommodated in TACs of the Ombudsman’s Office: 1 person – in Donetsk, 2 persons – in Makeyevka.
There are currently 1403 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1403 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 440 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7841 persons, including 2018 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 63 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 55 of them operate today, 8 of them are held in reserve.
Currently, 2717 individuals live in the centres, including 523 underage children, 5124 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1495 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, 40.1 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 8.12.2017. As of December 8, 2017, there were 50.3 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 42.2 thousand have been employed (24.4 of them – on permanent positions, 17.5 – 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. Since the beginning of 2017, 375 persons participated in those workshops.