There’s no law for those,
who have neither courage nor means to defend it .
Thomas Babington Macaulay
People, who live in Donbass, unconsciously divide their life into two parts: before and after the armed conflict. This is because now they can only see peaceful life in their dreams and their memories. Since those times much has changed: everyone may face danger now – either on the streets or in their own home. This is insane, because peaceful citizens are not meant to be affected by warfare, and, certainly, they shouldn’t be victims of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation”, which Kiev uses as a cover for crimes committed in Donbass.
The international law lays down the procedure that regulates the means and manner of warfare. Geneva Convention and Additional Protocols form the core of international humanitarian law – a branch of international law that regulates the means and manner of warfare and seeks to limit its scope and consequences. In particular, the documents protect people, who do not take part in military operations (civilians, doctors and nurses, humanitarian workers) or those, who no longer take part in hostilities, including the sick and wounded, shipwrecked members of armed forces at sea, the captured.
In 1977, two Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 had been adopted. They reinforce protection of victims to international (Protocol I) and non-international (Protocol II) armed conflicts and и place restrictions on the means and manner of warfare. Protocol II was the first international document in history that deals exclusively with non-international conflicts.
Part 4, Article13, prescribes the following:
- Civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances..
- The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.
Article 14 guarantees protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population:
Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless for that purpose objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.
It is also specified in the Protocol that «precautions must be taken when planning military operations in order to avoid civilian losses and to minimize such losses».
Ukraine rarified the document on 25 August 1990. Hence, it is bound to respect the above-mentioned provisions. In fact, the Ukrainian side not only seriously violates the Minsk Agreements, but also the documents, which the international humanitarian law is based on.
The violations of the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law by Ukraine are not only evidenced by local authorities and the staff of the humanitarian subgroup, but also by OSCE monitors. It can be seen in their daily operational reports. These record casualties, the wounded and damage to infrastructure.
In particular, the report of 3 February 2017 records heavy artillery fire against Kalininskiy region: The monitors recorded a shell crater near the roundabout in Kalininskiy region of Donetsk. According to them, it was created, by a missile of Multiple Launch Rocket System (supposedly “Uragan” or “Smerch”).
Civilian objects are often subjected to shelling by Ukraine:
On 31 January 2017 Zasiadko mine was targeted. As a result 270 miners had been blocked underground.
On 1 February 2017 a school No. 21 was shelled in Donetsk. The students had been evacuated. During the next few days there were similar cases in other schools of Donetsk and Makeyevka.
On 1 February 2017 citizens Donetsk and partially Makeyevka citizens were left without water supply, because Verkhniekalmius filter plant was de-energized as a result of hostilities.
It is necessary to underline, that most of the shelling falls on a nighttime, when the OSCE staff are far away from the delimitation line.
The right to life, to the security of person, to the inviolability of the home are fundamental human rights. They are guaranteed by the DPR Constitution and patronized by the Ombudsman.
Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications is still verbal and made through private meeting either with the Ombudsman or the heads of the Office, addressing the 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. More than 577 applications have been received since the beginning of 2017. 24 persons visited the Ombudsman in person between 4th January and 10th February 2017. 48 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department, 40 calls were made via hotlines. 4 written applications were taken into consideration, 4 have been considered among those received earlier, 33 DPR citizens were provided with legal consultation.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 19 appeals, violations in civil law – 53 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens, social and humanitarian issues – 505 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 3.02.2017
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 – 67 appeals, accommodation for temporary residence – 109 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 15 appeals, the receipt of humanitarian assistance – 5 appeals, employment – 24 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 2 appeals, search of the missing – 28 appeals, loss of IDs – 56 appeals, housing issues – 23 appeals, receipt of temporary residence permit – 27 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 149 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 3.02.2017
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 3.02.2017
- Statistics and analysis of destroyed infrastructure objects
During the reporting period the front line of the Donetsk People`s Republic has been subjected to fire of Ukrainian side almost on a daily basis. Ukrainian forces deliberately destroy objects that provide the citizens of the Republic with water, electricity and gas. Other infrastructure objects have also been targeted.
Overnight into 4 February as a result of hostilities near Gorlovka there was a power cut; “Oleksandr-Zapad” mine, where 3 miners had been working, and Golmovskiy village were de-energized.
During the current week two villages in the west of Donetsk were de-energized due to the shelling by SSU. Overnight into February 9 nearly 1000 residents of Briketnoye village and village of Coalmine No. 12 were also left without electricity due to the fire of Ukrainian forces, one boiler house was also de-energized.
Overnight into February 9 Kominternovo village of Novoazovsk region was left without gas and electricity supply as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces.
As of February 9, 2017 as a result of hostilities more than 11192 infrastructure objects were partly damaged (destroyed) in the region.
More than 6755 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 262 units in Debaltsevo, 521 units in Gorlovka, 68 units in Dokuchayevsk, 291 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 72 units in Kirovskoye, 1066 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 747 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 574 units in Yasynovataya, 277 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 52 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6131 houses;
– 760 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 174 heating supply facilities;
– 46 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 11 wastewater disposal and sewerage facilities;
– 98 healthcare facilities;
– 486 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 54 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 54 higher educational institutions;
– 25 physical and sport education institutions;
– 53 cultural institutions;
– 230 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 58 industrial objects;
– 88 trade objects;
– 255 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 30th January 2017 there are 2766 units of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 427 – rebuilt and 2339 – are to be rebuilt.
- Counts 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.
Despite all the agreements reached, complete ceasefire hasn’t been achieved. Frontline districts are still subjected to fire from the Ukrainian forces. «Mayorsk» checkpoint in the north of Gorlovka was targeted twice. Fortunately, there were no citizens on the checkpoint at the time of shelling.
On 3 February a man born in 1967 addressed to one of the Donetsk hospitals. He sustained a closed fracture on the right side of the ribs as a result of shelling of Motel the night before.
On 6 February a civilian man of 45 years old addressed to one of the Donetsk hospitals. He sustained a mine-blast trauma and shrapnel wound to the left clunis as a result of shelling in Kievskiy region of Donetsk of 1 February.
On 7 February a DPR serviceman born in 1992 sustained shrapnel wound of the middle third of the right forearm as a result of hostilities in Avdeyevka industrial zone.
On 8 February 4 DPR servicemen of 50, 26, 36 and 19 years old sustained shrapnel wounds due to the provocative fire in Petrovskiy region of Donetsk by the Ukrainian forces.
Within the period of 3 – 9 February 2017, 7 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant Ukrainian shelling. Among them, there were 5 DPR servicemen and 2 civilians.
Within the period of 1st January – 9th February 2017, 94 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 45 DPR servicemen and 49 civilians, including 4 children under eighteen.
Within the period of 3 – 9 February 2017, 8 DPR servicemen died in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The bodies of three more men, who had died due to the shelling of Motel of 2nd February were identified .
Within the period of 1st January and 9th February 2017, 42 persons died in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 38 DPR servicemen and 4 civilians.
To be specific, 4331 persons had died since the beginning of the armed conflict. Among them, there were 595 women and 3736 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 Office in DPR. The information is being processed at the moment and it will be included into general statistics of the injured individuals.
- Accounting of the prisoners of war and missing soldiers and civilians
Negotiations on the exchange of prisoners of war is an important part of conflict settlement process. The Donetsk People’s Republic seeks to resolve the dispute peacefully and it makes every effort to help our citizens return from Ukrainian captivity as soon as possible.
According to paragraph 6 of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreement the release of detainees and the exchange must be performed through the “all-for-all” formula.
During the week, the DPR Ombudsman’s Office received no appeals on arrest of citizens.
During the week, no appeals on the missing have been received.
Based on the updated figures as of 10.02.2017 744 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including 477 of those, whose whereabouts has been confirmed by the Ukrainian side and 267 persons, whose whereabouts hasn’t been confirmed.
As of 10th February 2017, 465 persons are considered missing.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about the individuals, who had been 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.
- The accounting of forcibly displaced persons.
The war unleashed by Ukraine against its own citizens is a tragedy for those hundreds of civilians, who had been forced to abandon their homes to stay alive. The issue of forced displacement is one of the toughest in such tensed conditions. For the last two years more than 8 thousand people had to relocate. Now they have to find temporary accommodation and the means of living. Many of them have underage children, and more than a third of these families are single-parent or large families. A big part of forcibly displaced persons constitute individuals of retirement age and physically challenged persons. Families that can no more lead a normal lifestyle and have very little recourse to raise children are extremely vulnerable, especially if they don’t have permanent housing or job.
It is extremely difficult to get used to the changes that happen in their lives. Like after any other major changes, they need time to adapt. The problem of adaptation in new conditions particulate affects children of the forcibly replaced persons. Whereas adults can overcome themselves and get used to the changes, children are mentally weaker, they cannot bear these challenges and tension. The psychologists, who work under the auspices of the Ombudsman’s Office, give psychological support to forcibly displaced persons. They organize activities aimed at the earliest adaptation of people in new conditions and provide assistance in rehabilitation.
The international documents devoted to human rights require special conditions for living environment of displaced persons that secure a dignified existence for them. Experience showed that even a minimum social environment for displaced persons works for better adaptation.
15 Temporary Accommodation Centers (TACs) were established in the DPR by the efforts of the Office. 12 of them function today. Among them: 6 are in Donetsk, 3 are in Makeyevka, 2 are in Khartsysk, 1 is in Zugres. One TAC was closed after it was destroyed as a result of shelling. Those displaced persons, who lived there, were evacuated to one of the TACs of Donetsk.
1362 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation, including 281 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict, 5014 persons were accommodated in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office. Among them, 120 persons – 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.
During the period of work between 4th and 10th February 2017, 45 persons have applied to the Ombudsman`s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 37 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office: 17 – in Donetsk, 2 – in Makeyevka, 18 – in Khartsysk.
There are currently 1197 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1141 – in DPR temporary accommodation centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 273 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 56 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 8064 persons, including 2099 children under eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 68 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 57 of them function today, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 3080 individuals live in the units, including 631 underage children, 4984 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1468 under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
Notwithstanding the wartime hardships, the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic makes every effort to have the state welfare expanded. To this end industries, closed due to the armed conflict, are being rehabilitated. Favorable conditions are provided for citizens who wish to find a job.
The labour legislation of the Donetsk People’s Republic guarantees the right to work, fair work conditions, timely payment that is adequate for decent living of the worker and his/her family and remuneration not less than the minimum specified by law for every working citizen.
As defined in the Employment Law No. 50-IHC от 29.05.2015 the term «employment» implies the complex of legal, economic and institutional measures aimed at realization of the right to work. This means that the burden of employment process does not rest on the employee only. The government takes upon responsibility to promote the highest employment rate and create safe and adequate work conditions.
A job, including this of a temporary character that corresponds fully with employee’s qualifications, the conditions of the last occupation (except of remunerated public work), health conditions and transport accessibility is considered adequate.
The mission of organizing the employment of DPR citizens is shouldered by the Republic Employment Center.
According to their data 5,6 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 10.02.2017. As of 10 February 2017, there were 14,5 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 10,4 thousand have been employed (1,9 of them – on permanent positions, 8,5 – temporarily).
Donetsk center of vocational education of The Republic Employment center 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); fundamentals of entrepreneurship etc. 24 persons participated in those seminars since 2017.