International humanitarian law regulates relations between states in armed conflict in order to limit the use of means and methods of warfare and to avoid civilian casualties or to minimize them. International humanitarian law prohibits attacks on civilian objects during military operations.
Armed units of Ukraine violate the basic provisions of the 1949 Geneva Convention, which prohibits deliberate attacks on civilians and critical civilian objects.
One of the vital facilities is the Donetsk Filter Station (DFS), which provides settlements on both sides of the contact line with water. These are cities of Donetsk and Yasinovataia, Vasilievka and Spartak villages, as well as Avdiivka, Krasnogorovka and Verkhnetoretskoe village. If the station stops operating, 1.2 million people may be left without water. Moreover, there is a warehouse with chlorine on the territory of the DFS.
In its reports, the United Nations has repeatedly documented damage to vital facilities, including the DFS. Its workers restore water supply under shelling, risking their lives. According to the UN estimates, since 2014, 9 workers of communal services that provide water to millions of people in the conflict zone have been killed and 23 injured.
Unfortunately, targeting water facilities and workers continues. On January 29, 2018, Ukraine opened fire against Vasilevskaia pumping station. The staff managed to hide in a shelter. On February 7, 2019, the first stage pumping station of the Yuzhnodonbassky water pipe was under attack. Employees of the facility had to stay in a shelter.
The Donbass water supply system is constantly under threat of shelling from the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Damage to the DFS may lead to an environmental disaster in the region. Employees of the Voda Donbassa company are constantly under threat to life. The Ukrainian government, which came to power as a result of an armed coup in 2014, does not consider itself guilty and is trying to hold the Donetsk People’s Republic accountable for the consequences of its own criminal actions to serve its interests.
The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic documents all cases of violations of the rights of citizens by Ukrainian security forces and sends official letters to international organizations. Close attention of the public and the principled position on the inadmissibility of committing war crimes in the territory of Donbass will help ensure the observance of the most important human right, which is the right to life.
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.
On 6 February, staff of the DPR Ombudsman Office together with representatives of the City Administration and other authorities conducted an on-site reception of citizens in Debaltsevo.
Citizens that attended the reception were provided with detailed explanations of the norms of the current legislation. 5 citizens asked for Ombudsman’s assistance in restoring their rights and received counselling.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Ombudsman received 588 complaints. In the period of work between 2 and 8 February 2019, 12 citizens attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 43 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 24 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 6 persons received legal counselling, and 9 persons through on-site reception. 12 written appeals were approved for consideration, 9 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 54 calls were received via hotlines, 4 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 42 appeals, violations in civil law – 50 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 8 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 13 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities – 39 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 17, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 237 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 118 appeals, other issues – 64 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 08.02.2019
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
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 – 98 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 14 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 49 appeals, migration legislation issues – 42 appeals, labour legislation issues – 15 appeals, healthcare issues – 18 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 1 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 08.02.2019
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 08.02.2019
- Death toll, injuries 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 Donbass citizens’ rights by Kiev authorities: the right to life, to security of the person.
Within the period between 1 and 7 February 2019, no civilian or military casualties have been reported.
Within the period between 1 January and 7 February 2019, 7 persons, including 4 DPR servicemen and 3 civilian men sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 1 and 7 February 2019, 4 DPR servicemen lost their lives.
Within the period between 1 January and 7 February 2019, 8 DPR servicemen died as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4737 persons 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
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 08.02.2019, 252 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 101 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 151 persons 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 8 February 2019, 455 persons are considered missing. They might be held in Ukrainian captivity.
- 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).
Since the beginning of the conflict 5380 referrals for accommodation in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres etc.) have been issued, 137 of them – in 2018. With the coming into force of the Order of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic No. 137 of 24.04.2018, Territorial authorities in cities and districts are now responsible for accommodating affected civilians. Social housing objects, which used to carry out activities under the patronage of the Ombudsman Office, are authorized to supervise the authorities.
During the period of work between 2 and 8 February 2019, 24 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1367 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7243 persons, including 1808 children under the age of eighteen have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 75 social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) have been opened in the territory of DPR. 52 of them operate, 23 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2453 individuals live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 468 underage children, 4790 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1340 children under eighteen.
- Employment situation in the DPR
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
As reported by the Centre, in the period from 1 January and 8 February 2019:
- there were 14.1 thousand vacant positions registered in the Centre by employers;
- there were 10.3 thousand job-seekers registered at the Employment Centre. Among them: 5.9 thousand have been employed (1.7 of them – on permanent positions, 4.2 – temporarily).
The employment centres give vocational training referrals to job-seekers for professions that are in demand on the labour market or according to specific jobs registered by employers, as well as to facilitate their future entrepreneurial activity. Between 1 January and 8 February 2019, 63 persons undergone vocational training (1 person – training and 62 persons – retraining).
The training covered 10 professions: an electric and gas welder, a bricklayer, a cook, a maintenance technician, a furnace equipment inspector, a hairdresser, a repair and maintenance electrician, a computer operator a seller, a tractor driver for farm production.