This week was marked by several significant events. On November 25, the day of forensic expert was celebrated. The work of forensic scientists is in many ways unique, multifaceted and extremely complex, especially in the difficult conditions of armed conflict. An exceptional set of skills and abilities, professional use of advanced scientific achievements, special equipment and modern technology allow them to make an invaluable contribution to the cause of justice and medicine. The Ombudsman regularly cooperates with the Republican Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination of the Ministry of Health of the DPR in order to identify the dead and compile lists of missing persons.
In general, due to the decrease in ceasefire violations, forensic experts can do their work more effectively. Despite the fact that in some areas of the DPR, shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine is still observed, according to the latest OSCE monitoring mission report of November 21, a decrease in ceasefire violations in Donbass was documented. Less frequent instances of shelling give hope for a peaceful settlement of the conflict and the onset of peace. It can also speed up the identification and burial of the dead, as well as the search for missing persons.
A decrease in shelling can redirect public attention from the events of the armed conflict to problems associated with the appeals of affected DPR residents to courts. So, in November of this year, the Zhovtnevy district court of the city of Mariupol ruled the Ukrainian authorities to pay the amount of one million hryvnias to a family, who lost their family member in 2015. The man was killed as a result of heavy fighting in the village of Shirokino.
The human life, their rights and freedoms are the highest value of any society and any democratic state. The human right to a fair trial is extremely relevant for Donbass residents, in view of the armed conflict that continues unabated. The family from Shirokino is only one of a thousand families that lost their loved ones during the fighting. In total, since the outbreak of armed conflict in the Donetsk People’s Republic, 4889 people were killed, including 81 children.
In her activities, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic strongly promotes human rights and freedoms, ensures their protection and monitors their observance.
Upon a human rights violation, the need to restore one’s rights, to obtain legal advice or appeal against actions (omission) of state bodies or authorities, citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in a way that is convenient for them.
Now, the majority of applications are still verbal and submitted through personal reception either with the Ombudsman or staff 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 2019, the Ombudsman received 6055 complaints. In the period of work between 23 and 29 November 2019, 6 people attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 24 people received counselling by the Appeals department; 3 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, 6 written complaints were accepted; 3 people received legal counselling. 6 written appeals were approved for consideration, 12 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 66 calls were received via hotlines, 11 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 565 appeals, violations in civil law – 625 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 67 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 192 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 331 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 251 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 2358 appeals, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 1116 appeals, other issues – 550 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 29.11.2019
Violations in criminal law
Сomplaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary
Social, humanitarian and economic issues
Violations in civil law
Сomplaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen
issues connected with hostilities
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials
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 – 737 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 65 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 445 appeals, migration legislation issues – 675 appeals, labour legislation issues – 233 appeals, healthcare issues – 175 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 28 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 29.11.2019
Pension and social payments, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid
Migration legislation issues
Transportation, communication and consumer rights
Labour legislation issues
Issues of education, culture and sport
Issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services
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 29.11.2019
- Death toll, injuries to civilians and soldiers as a result of hostilities in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic.
The DPR Ombudsman’s Office documents cases of violations of Donbass citizens’ rights by the Ukrainian side, including the right to life, personal integrity and freedom of movement.
On 24 November, as a result of hostilities in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region, a civilian man, born in 1976, sustained shrapnel wound to the occipital bone.
Within the period between 22 and 28 November 2019, 1 civilian man sustained injuries in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 28 November 2019, 214 people, including 141 DPR servicemen, 24 civilian women, 44 civilian men and 5 children sustained injuries and traumas of varying severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 22 and 28 November 2019, fortunately, no deaths were reported in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 28 November 2019, 160 people, including 151 DPR servicemen, 6 civilian women and 3 civilian men died as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4889 people died, including 81 children.
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
In the reporting period, the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 29 November 2019, 241 people are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 88 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been established and confirmed. One person was released according to the Ukrainian legislation. Four people whose presence has been officially confirmed in the territory of Ukraine have been added to the list;
– 153 people whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification by the Ukrainian side. 3 people have been released as they had served their sentence. Four people have been removed from this list and added to the list of those whose presence in the territory of Ukraine has been confirmed.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons.
As of 29 November 2019, 465 people are considered missing. They could have been taken prisoner in Ukraine.
- Register of displaced persons and affected citizens.
At the time of 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).
With the coming into force of the Order of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic No. 137 of 24.04.2018, Territorial commissions in cities and districts are now responsible for accommodating affected civilians. They work under supervision of the Republican Commission on Resettlement of Affected Persons chaired by the DPR Human Rights Ombudsman.
During the period of work between 23 and 29 November 2019, 28 people have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to being affected by the armed conflict. There are currently 1056 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 6702 people, including 1597 children have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 64 social housing objects have been opened in the territory of DPR. 53 of them operate, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2183 people live in social housing objects of the Donetsk Administration, including 406 underage children, 4519 people live in the housing fund, including 1191 children.