This week was marked by several significant events. On December 10, Human Rights Day was celebrated in the Republic. In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which became the first universal international act to protect human rights and freedoms. The Declaration establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. The Declaration and the obligations to abide by its principles, adopted by the participating States, have helped to protect millions of people and lay the foundation for efforts to build a more equitable world for all.
The Human Rights Ombudsman and his/her Office are on guard of compliance with all the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In honor of this holiday, for the high professionalism and significant contribution to human rights activities, the Ombudsman and representatives of the Office were awarded state awards and interdepartmental incentives.
The struggle for human rights and freedoms is one of the main tasks facing the entire world community. In this regard, the Normandy Four summit, the first in three years, was held on December 9, which gives hope for resolving issues on the exchange of prisoners and the withdrawal of forces from the line of contact, which will save lives and restore freedom to many people. So, the final communique following the results of the negotiations prescribes a set of immediate measures to stabilize the situation in the conflict zone in the Donbass. A complete ceasefire is expected before the end of this year. It is also planned to prepare three other areas for the withdrawal of forces. According to the agreements reached, the withdrawal of forces and hardware should take place no later than March 2020. In addition, an agreement was reached on the need to exchange prisoners according to the intermediate formula “all identified for all identified” by the end of the year. At the moment, the Ukrainian side has confirmed 88 people, the Republic has confirmed 53 people who are ready to participate in the exchange process. Such steps inspire hope for peace and a speedy settlement of the conflict.
However, the Common agreed conclusions were almost called into question in connection with the intentional or unintentional publication by Ukraine of an inaccurate translation of the communiqué of the “Normandy Four”. So, the English version published on the site of the Elysee Palace reads that the summit participants agreed to discuss “all legal aspects of the special status” of the Republics in Donbass, that is, a set of laws and agreements and, in particular, amendments to the Constitution. Ukraine narrowed this issue to only one document – the Special Status Law. The head of the DPR Denis Pushilin claimed that the Republic will not take any steps to implement these items until Kiev corrects the text of the final document.
Also, the human rights institutions of Ukraine do not contribute to the resolution of the conflict. Commissioner for the protection of the state language Tatyana Monakhova said that the Ukrainian authorities will begin to fine the population in the amount of up to 12,000 UAH in two or three years for violating the law on the state language.
The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe in its report on Ukraine noted that the language problem should not become a source of interethnic tension in the country, and the authorities should take into account the special place of the Russian language and the language rights of national minorities. In particular, the Commission recommended that the Ukrainian authorities consider lifting the sanctions provided for by the Law on the Language, and also exclude the article establishing liability for the intentional distortion of the Ukrainian language in official documents and texts.
It is difficult to imagine how 30% of the Russian-speaking Ukrainian population will exist in the challenging conditions of the Ukrainianization of society.
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 6334 complaints. In the period of work between 7 and 13 December 2019, 6 people attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 16 people received counselling by the Appeals department, 4 written appeals were accepted; 23 people received legal counselling. 11 written appeals were approved for consideration, 10 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 78 calls were received via hotlines, 6 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 590 appeals, violations in civil law – 644 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 78 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 200 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 346 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 261 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 2446 appeals, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 1201 appeals, other issues – 568 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 13.12.2019
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 – 762 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 67 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 456 appeals, migration legislation issues – 706 appeals, labour legislation issues – 242 appeals, healthcare issues – 184 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 29 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 13.12.2019
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 13.12.2019
- 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 7 December, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman, born in 1982, sustained bullet wound to the chest.
On 10 December, as a result of Hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman, born in 1983, sustained mine-blast trauma, blunt shrapnel wound to the neck. Also, a 32-year-old serviceman sustained gunshot fracture to the left shoulder.
Within the period between 6 and 12 December 2019, 3 DPR servicemen sustained injuries of varying severities as a result of armed aggression by the Ukrainian side in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 12 December 2019, 218 people, including 145 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 6 and 12 December 2019, no deaths were documented in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 12 December 2019, 165 people, including 156 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 4894 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 13 December 2019, 240 people are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 87 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been established and confirmed. One person was excluded from the list, as he had refused to be exchanged;
– 153 people whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification 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 13 December 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 7 and 13 December 2019, no complaints on the issues related to being affected by the armed conflict we filed with the Ombudsman’s Office. There are currently 1056 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 6661 people, including 1587 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, 2172 people live in social housing objects of the Donetsk Administration, including 405 underage children, 4489 people live in the housing fund, including 1182 children.