Ahead of the World Humanitarian Day, which was established by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 and celebrated annually on August 19, citizens and authorities of the Donetsk People’s Republic express deep gratitude to all those who have provided humanitarian support in the past five years in the conditions of military confrontation.
On August 12, 2014, the first Russian Emergencies Ministry convoy consisting of 280 vehicles set off from Naro-Fominsk, Moscow region, in order to deliver two thousand tons of humanitarian aid to Donbass residents. This friendly step is an act of gratuitous assistance from the Russian Federation to the fraternal people that found itself in a difficult socio-economic situation as a result of armed aggression, which was unleashed by the regime that came to power in Ukraine as a result of a coup d’état.
Over the next five years, 85 humanitarian convoys have delivered more than 43 thousand tons of humanitarian aid to the Donetsk People’s Republic. Despite the active opposition by the Ukrainian side, including in the international arena, the Russian Federation took a principled stand on the issue of providing support to those in need. Timely and comprehensive assistance helped prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and helps to further stabilize and improve the socio-economic situation in the region. For example, on July 25, 2019, the Russian Emergencies Ministry convoy delivered more than 140 tons of medicines, which, in the context of the economic and transport blockade by Ukraine, made it possible to support the efforts of the Donetsk People’s Republic in healthcare.
Except the Russian Federation, international organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, provide humanitarian assistance. The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic has established fruitful cooperation with representatives of the ICRC. Thanks to this, support is provided to citizens affected by the armed conflict, as well as to other socially vulnerable groups of the population. As part of humanitarian aid provided, citizens receive packages with food, personal hygiene products and household chemicals, as well as clothing and household appliances. Also, there are efforts aimed at improvement of living conditions in social housing objects.
This week, with the assistance of the Ombudsman, a new stage of distribution of quarterly humanitarian aid provided by the ICRC has begun. On August 14, employees of the Human Rights Ombudsman Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic distributed 453 humanitarian packages to residents of two social housing objects located in Donetsk. In total this month it is planned to deliver about 1800 humanitarian aid packages to people living in social housing objects that operate in the territory of the Republic. The beneficiaries of the humanitarian assistance are citizens who have suffered from injuries or material damage as a result of hostilities, as well as people persecuted by other states for supporting the Donetsk People’s Republic and physically challenged persons.
In situations of armed conflict, humanitarian support is an important factor in ensuring the rights of civilians, which was pointed out by international organizations and representatives of friendly countries. The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic pays particular attention to the improvement of the social and humanitarian situation in the region, as well as to other areas related to the observance and protection of human rights and freedoms.
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 4300 complaints. In the period of work between 10 and 16 August 2019, 36 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 6 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 8 persons received legal counselling. 21 written appeals were approved for consideration, 32 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 48 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 – 401 appeals, violations in civil law – 452 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 50 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 150 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 241 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 184 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 1665 appeals, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 795 appeals, other issues – 362 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 16.08.2019
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 – 536 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 51 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 310 appeals, migration legislation issues – 470 appeals, labour legislation issues – 148 appeals, healthcare issues – 136 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 14 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 16.08.2019
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 16.08.2019
- 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: the right to life, to security of the person.
On 12 August, as a result of shelling in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1972 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to the right thigh.
On 15 August, as a result of shelling in Zaitsevo village, a civilian man born in 1963 sustained injuries to forearm, right shin and middle-third of left thigh.
Within the period between 9 and 15 August 2019, 2 persons sustained injuries in the Donetsk People’s Republic as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, including 1 civilian man and 1 DPR serviceman.
Within the period between 1 January and 15 August 2019, 144 persons, including 99 DPR servicemen, 16 civilian women and 26 civilian men and 3 children sustained injuries as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 9 July and 15 August 2019, 3 DPR servicemen died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 15 August 2019, 119 persons, including 111 DPR servicemen, 5 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 4848 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
In the reporting period, the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic hasn’t received any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 16.08.2019, 255 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 102 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been established and confirmed.
– 153 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 hasn’t received any appeals on missing persons.
As of 16 August 2019, 460 persons 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 10 and 16 August 2019, 6 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to being affected by the armed conflict. There are currently 1078 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 6886 persons, including 1690 children have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 77 social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) have been opened in the territory of DPR. 54 of them operate, 23 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2281 persons live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 428 underage children, 4605 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1262 children.
- Monitoring the observance of the rights of vulnerable groups of population
The observance of the rights and freedoms of vulnerable groups of the population is guaranteed by international instruments, such as the Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Charter, and is also regulated by the legislation of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic pays special attention to this issue in her activities. In the view to ensure effective protection of the rights of vulnerable groups of population, according to the established schedule of visits to social institutions, on 15 August representatives Staff of the Human Rights Ombudsman Office inspected living conditions and social support for citizens of advanced age and persons with disabilities in the in-patient department for temporary or permanent residence of Torez Regional Social Service Centre (for provision of social services). At the moment, medical care is provided to 16 persons with disabilities who need nursing care.
Medical personnel look after patients 24 hours. The in-patient department has a procedure room, where patients undergo treatment, according to the doctor’s prescriptions.
The Centre is visited by students of Torez General Education School No.6, who show performances, read poetry and sing. Once a month, a priest visits the Centre.
As a result of the inspection, staff of the DPR Human Rights Ombudsman Office gave positive assessment to social support in the in-patient department for temporary or permanent residence of Torez Regional Social Service Centre (for provision of social services).