In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly established December 9 as the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. The 9th of December is the anniversary of the adoption of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In international criminal law, genocide is the gravest crime against humanity and does not have a statute of limitations.
Genocide is the deliberate extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group. In world history, there are many examples of gravest crimes that cannot be justified. The symbols of the tragedy are: the genocide of the Armenian people in late 19th – early 20th century, when up to 1.5 million people became victims, the Holocaust, when about 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis, and the massacre of up to 1 million of Tutsi people in Rwanda in 1994. Prevention of such tragedies is one of the main objectives of the United Nations policy regarding ethnic groups around the world.
According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide implies actions committed with the intention of completely or partially exterminating any historical cultural-ethnic group, namely, killing, causing grievous harm to health or mental state, premeditated creation of living conditions aimed at complete or partial physical destruction of this group.
The prerequisites of genocide, as a rule, are restrictions and infringements of the rights and freedoms of representatives of some cultural and ethnic groups, which has been observed in Ukraine in recent years. The criminal regime that brought radical nationalist groups to power as a result of the coup d’état in 2014 demonstrates extreme intolerance of dissent and continues to infringe on the rights of national minorities and especially the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine, which led to an armed confrontation in Donbass and a terrible tragedy in Odessa.
Thousands of people have become victims of the conflict. War crimes and other crimes against the population, committed under the guise of protecting state interests and the superiority of the titular nation, remain uninvestigated, as specified by international observers in their reports, primarily by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, due to the geopolitical situation, the world community continues to turn a blind eye to the revival of radical nationalism, the glorification of Nazi criminals recognized as such during the Nuremberg process, slogans calling for the extermination of national minorities and other attributes of intolerance, which forebode large-scale infringement of the rights of certain cultural and ethnic groups and genocide in Ukraine.
The martial law introduced on the eve of the presidential election in ten eastern and southern regions of the country significantly limits the rights of the local population, which is represented mainly by Russian-speaking citizens whose political opinion traditionally differs from that of official Kiev, Central and Western Ukraine. This is happening against the backdrop of the attack on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is under unprecedented pressure not only by the authorities, but also by the Security Service of Ukraine. All this is aimed at infringing the rights of citizens of certain regions, splitting society, persecuting and discriminating on territorial and religious grounds, which creates prerequisites for genocide against the Russian-speaking population of Donbass and Ukraine.
The activities of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic are aimed at mainstreaming and highlighting this problem, as well as to counteracting the infringement of and to protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens through all mechanisms available. On the eve of the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic calls on all progressive humanity to prevent the recurrence of the terrible tragedy of genocide against certain categories of citizens.
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 5 December, staff of the Legal Department and the Appeals Department of the DPR Ombudsman Office conducted an on-site reception of citizens in Gorlovka. All questions asked by the applicants were followed by an exhaustive legal advice under existing legislation. As a result of the on-site visit, Ombudsman Office’s staffs gathered written appeals from citizens. 17 citizens of Gorlovka asked for Ombudsman’s assistance in restoring their rights.
Since the beginning of 2018, the Ombudsman received 5817 complaints. In the period of work between 1 and 7 December 2018, 7 citizens attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 34 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 11 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 17 persons received legal counselling. 4 written appeals were approved for consideration, 11 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 62 calls were received via hotlines, 13 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 379 appeals, violations in civil law – 500 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 7 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 2971 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 666 appeals, other issues – 1294 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 07.12.2018
Violations in criminal law
Issues of social and humanitarian affairs
Violations in civil law
issues connected with hostilities
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
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 – 880 appeals, temporary accommodation – 624 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 388 appeals, migration legislation issues – 486 appeals, labour legislation issues – 248 appeals, healthcare issues – 161 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 62 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 32 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 32 appeals, land use and tenure – 21 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 37 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 07.12.2018
pension and social payments, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid
migration legislation issues
guardianship and family law issues
labour legislation issues
issues of education, culture and sport
issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services
activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations
land use and tenure
the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials
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 07.12.2018
- 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.
On 6 December, as a result of shelling in Gorlovka, a civilian woman born in 1933 sustained a gunshot fracture of the phalanx of the second finger of the left hand with an impaled object.
Within the period between 30 November and 6 December 2018, 1 civilian woman sustained injuries as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 1 January and 6 December 2018, 305 persons died in the territory of the DPR as a result of hostilities.
Within the period between 30 November and 6 December 2018, no casualties reported.
Within the period between 1 January and 6 December 2018, 154 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 9 women and 145 men, including 5 underage children.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4721 persons died. Among them, there are 614 women and 4107 men, including 81 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’s Office in DPR.
- Register of the prisoners of war, missing soldiers
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic haven’t received any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 07.12.2018, 274 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 86 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. 2 persons have been released as they have served their sentence.
– 188 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification by the Ukrainian side. 2 persons have been released as they have served their sentence.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic haven’t received any appeals on missing persons.
As of 7 November 2018, 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 1 and 7 December 2018, 11 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1373 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7314 persons, including 1817 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. 51 of them operate, 24 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2489 individuals live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 472 underage children, 4825 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1345 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 7 December 2018:
- there were 49.2 thousand vacant positions registered in the Centre by employers;
- there were 41.9 thousand job-seekers registered at the Employment Centre. Among them: 34.4 thousand have been employed (24.3 of them – on permanent positions, 10.1 – temporarily).
- 348 job-seekers have undergone professional training facilitated by employment centres: 61 persons undergone training and 287 persons – retraining.
The training covered most demanded professions: electric and gas welder, plasterer, bricklayer, painter, roofer (roll-roofing and shingles), maintenance technician, automotive service technician, repair and maintenance electrician, operator of chemical treatment of water, furnace equipment inspector, boiler-house operator, stoker, seamstress, hairdresser, seller, chef.