The past week was marked by several significant events, the main of which was the withdrawal of forces and weapons in the village of Petrovskoe, which began on November 9 and finished on November 12. This event was preceded by several disruptions by the command of the armed forces of Ukraine.
At the moment, mine clearance and other efforts are being done to clean up the area of withdrawal of forces and hardware outside the village of Petrovskoe. Mine clearance must be finished on November 19th. Such steps, of course, are positive signals both to launch the work of the Normandy Four and to ensure the security of citizens living in Petrovskoe and other settlements located on the line of contact.
In addition, representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the Security Subgroup at the Minsk talks supported the OSCE SMM proposal to begin work towards withdrawal of forces and hardware in other areas of Donbass.
Withdrawal is a crucial factor in reducing civilian deaths in armed conflict. This is confirmed by the data of the UN human rights monitoring mission. So, according to the UN, 155 deaths or injuries of civilians have been documented since the beginning of 2019. At the same time, in the same period in 2018, the death toll was 40% more. The UN notes that this year the least number of civilian casualties over the entire period of the conflict was documented.
Meanwhile, to help civilians live normal life in front-line settlements, it is necessary to provide them with basic necessities. For this reason, an important part of international humanitarian law is devoted to protecting the right of people to humanitarian assistance. Additional humanitarian assistance for residents affected by the armed conflict in Donbass is provided by international organizations and the Russian Federation. So, the 91st humanitarian convoy from the Russian Federation, which arrived on November 14, delivered 42,240 food parcels for children under 3 years old.
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 5809 complaints. In the period of work between 9 and 15 November 2019, 7 people attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 7 people received counselling by the Appeals department, 3 written complaints were accepted; 4 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, 1 written complaint was accepted; 21 people received legal counselling. 7 written appeals were approved for consideration, 12 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 66 calls were received via hotlines, 10 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 547 appeals, violations in civil law – 612 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 59 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 188 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 323 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 245 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 2257 appeals, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 1041 appeals, other issues – 537 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 15.11.2019
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 – 711 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 62 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 419 appeals, migration legislation issues – 645 appeals, labour legislation issues – 223 appeals, healthcare issues – 173 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 24 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 15.11.2019
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 15.11.2019
- 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 8 November, as a result of hostilities in Bezymennoe village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman, born in 1996, sustained mine-blast trauma, multiple shrapnel wounds to the left thigh.
On 9 November, as a result of hostilities in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman, born in 1994, sustained open gunshot shrapnel fracture to the right heel.
On 11 November, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, DPR servicemen, born in 1971 and 1974, sustained wounds of varying severities.
On 13 November, as a result of shelling in Petrovsky district of Donetsk, a civilian man, born in 1965, sustained perforating bullet wound to the middle-third of the right thigh.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, DPR servicemen, born in 2000 and 1987, sustained injuries of varying severities.
A DPR serviceman, born in 1985, sustained mine-blast trauma as a result of detonation of a trip wire outside Dokuchaevsk.
Also, it has been reported that on 7 November 2019, a civilian man, born in 1966, sustained a barotrauma and a brain concussion as a result of shelling in a 6/7 mine town in Gorlovka.
Within the period between 8 and 14 November 2019, 8 people sustained injuries in the Donetsk People’s Republic as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, including 7 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian man.
Within the period between 1 January and 14 November 2019, 212 people, including 140 DPR servicemen, 24 civilian women, 43 civilian men and 5 children sustained injuries and traumas of varying severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 8 and 14 November 2019, 4 DPR servicemen died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 14 November 2019, 159 people, including 150 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 4888 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 15 November 2019, 245 people are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 85 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been established and confirmed;
– 160 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 15 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.
On 15 November, representatives of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic began the distribution of humanitarian relief to people residing in social housing objects in Donetsk, Makeevka, Khartsysk, Zugres, Shakhtyorsk and Novy Svet. The officials are going to distribute humanitarian parcels with food and personal hygiene products.
This month it is planned to distribute about 1800 humanitarian relieve parcels to people residing in social housing objects in the territory of the DPR. The beneficiaries were citizens who suffered from injuries or material damage as a result of hostilities and people with disabilities.
The delivery of humanitarian aid is possible thanks to the cooperation of the Human Rights Ombudsman and the International Committee of the Red Cross. During the period of work between 9 and 15 November 2019, 31 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, 6744 people, including 1603 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, 2234 people live in social housing objects of the Donetsk Administration, including 412 underage children, 4510 people live in the housing fund, including 1191 children.