This week, the UN report No.18, prepared following the results of work of the Monitoring Mission, was published. This document describes in detail the human rights situation in the East of Ukraine in the period from February 16 to May 15, 2017.
This document records cases of torture and ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest of opponents of the illegal Kiev regime. The staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) continued to document cases of unlawful or arbitrary deprivation of liberty or enforced disappearance or kidnapping.
Despite the fact that some cases occurred in 2014 and 2015, representatives of this international organization still find new evidence, and conclude that those unlawful actions are, unfortunately, used today.
At the same time, the employees of the Office of the High Commissioner detail the enforced disappearance of two men in April 2017, detained by police in Artyomovsk and taken to an unknown place outside the city and tortured during interrogations. “On November 19, 2016, a man was detained while crossing the border towards the Russian Federation and was interrogated by Ukrainian border guards. The next day he was transferred to Slavyansk by investigators, with his hands tied with scotch tape. He was kept in custody at the police premises for two weeks in Slavyansk and was repeatedly interrogated. The officers constantly transferred him from one room to another and reregistered the man every four hours “to abide by the law.” The prisoner could not inform his relatives about his whereabouts and had no access to a lawyer. ” At the moment the man is in custody.
The Office of the High Commissioner also emphasized that detention is often used as the only preventive measure. It is pointed out that “in accordance with international human rights standards concerning the right to liberty and security of the person, persons awaiting trial cannot be held in custody as a rule. Pre-trial detention must be an exceptional measure, and its duration should be as short as possible”. Although the statistics of the detentions of Republic supporters shows that some people languish in Ukrainian dungeons for several years awaiting court sentence.
The document reports that Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and security agencies often reject complaints of detainees about human rights violations. “Such a protective tactics may lead to a systemic failure to properly investigate such allegations. This attitude greatly promotes mistrust of the state mechanisms of reparation by the victims, which encourages them to refrain from making complaints.” At the same time, the employees of the Office of the High Commissioner explain the condition of people who have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment as “the inability of prison medical stuff to properly document the injuries of victims upon their arrival”.
OHCHR representatives underline that impunity for violations and infringements of human rights in the territory of Donbass remains. None of the representatives of the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, who committed crimes, were punished. This is due to the reluctance to investigate violations. Nobody wants to take responsibility for deaths among the civilian population who suffered during the shelling.
The document clearly states that the Government of Ukraine is responsible for investigating allegations of serious human rights violations, including torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary arrest.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic Human rights are patronized by the Human rights Ombudsman. Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications is 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. In the period of work between 10 and 16 June 2017, 20 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 61 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 39 calls were made via hotlines, 27 applications were received via e-mail.
- Statistics and analysis of destroyed infrastructure objects
Targeted shelling by Ukrainian forces causes destruction of private property and infrastructure – this is the reality of the front-line regions of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
As of 15 June 2017 more than 11366 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6825 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 526 units in Gorlovka, 83 units in Dokuchayevsk, 306 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 75 units in Kirovskoye, 1111 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 750 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 577 units in Yasinovataya, 278 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 57 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6226 houses;
– 769 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 175 heating supply facilities;
– 46 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 14 wastewater and sewerage facilities;
– 102 healthcare facilities;
– 512 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 59 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 54 cultural institutions;
– 240 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 59 industrial objects;
– 89 trade objects;
– 261 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 6 June 2017 there are 2813 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 530 – rebuilt and 2283 – are to be rebuilt.
- Estimates of mortality, wounds 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 rights of Donbass citizens by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to the inviolability of the home.
On June 9 a civilian man of 56 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the left knee joint, blunt wound of the right thigh on his way from the household plot, Petrovskiy district of Donetsk.
On June 10 in Petrovskiy region of Donetsk as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces a civilian man born in 1966 sustained a closed fracture of the right elbow bone. A civilian man born in 1970 sustained a gunshot shrapnel wound to the left shin with foreign body as a result of shelling.
On June 11 three DPR servicemen of 48, 35 and 18 were blown up on a landmine near Debaltsevo. As a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces of Debaltsevo region, a DPR serviceman of 36 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wounds of both lower limbs, traumatic amputation of left foot, another DPR serviceman of 36 years old sustained shrapnel wounds of the hands and left thigh. As a result of hostilities in the same region a DPR serviceman born in 1985 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wounds of the head.
On June 12 a DPR serviceman of 35 years old was blown up on a landmine in the suburbs of Donetsk. The man sustained a mine-blast trauma, a wound of the right part of the chest.
A civilian woman born in 1958 sustained shrapnel wound of the right side of the chest with foreign body as a result of shelling, when she was at home.
Two civilians were blown up by a landmine in Gorlovka, while they were going by automobile. A man born in 1966 sustained superficial abrasions of the parietal region, closed craniocerebral injury; a woman born in 1962 sustained a bruise of the right shoulder joint.
As a result of hostilities in Leninskoye village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman of 42 years old sustained a serious gunshot wound of the right thigh, shrapnel wound of the right femur.
On June 13 as a result of sniping fire by Ukrainian forces against Sakhanka village, Novoazovsk region, a civilian woman born in 1939 sustained a gunshot wound to the head. The woman died at the scene.
On June 14 as a result of hostilities near Debaltsevo a DPR serviceman of 22 years old sustained shrapnel wounds of the right thigh and of the right shoulder.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region two DPR servicemen of 34 and 44 years old were injured. A man born in 1995 sustained a blunt gunshot wound to the chest.
As a result of shelling in Kievskiy region of Donetsk a civilian man of 60 years old sustained shrapnel wounds of the left side of the back, a civilian woman born in 1962 sustained compound wounds, Petrovskiy region.
On June 15 as a result of hostilities near Novoazovsk region a DPR serviceman of 44 years old sustained a gunshot wound of the right periorbital region.
Within the period between 10 and 15 June 2017, 21 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine. Among them, there were 21 DPR servicemen, 3 civilian women, 7 civilian men.
Within the period between 1 January and 15 June 2017 359 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 204 DPR servicemen and 155 civilians, including 9 children under 18.
Within the period between 10 and 15 June 2017, 6 persons died. Among them there were 3 DPR servicemen, 1 civilian man and 2 civilian women. Two civilians (a man and a woman) died on June 12 as a result of shelling of Donetsk, another woman died as a result of sniping fire in Sakhanka.
Within the period between 1 January and 15 June 2017, 166 persons, including 148 servicemen and 18 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4455 persons died. Among them, there were 602 women and 3853 men, including 75 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. The information is being processed at the moment and it will be included into general statistics of the injured individuals.
- Register of the prisoners of war and missing soldiers and civilians
Contrary to the statements of Ukrainian officials, verification of persons who, according to the Ukrainian side, refused to be exchanged, continues. On June 15 verification was started in the office of the OSCE via Skype. The procedure takes place with the participation of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the DPR Daria Morozova, the Head of the working group on the exchange of prisoners of war in LPR Olga Kobtseva, the Ukrainian Ombudsman Valeriya Lutkovskaya and the mothers of the detained persons who previously participated in the verification in the territory of Ukraine.
The detainees were given a questionnaire, which they fill out by hand and confirm the refusal to exchange, or deny it. These questionnaires will be provided to the participants of the humanitarian subgroup at the next meeting in Minsk.
This week no appeals on either capture or missing persons were received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Based on the updated figures as of 16.06.2017, 736 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 426 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed;
– 303 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
As of 9 June 2017, 450 persons are considered missing.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about the individuals, who were detained by the Ukrainian side, the statistics may change.
The DPR Ombudsman`s Office will no longer publicly categorize the detainees by “serviceman”, “arrested for political reasons”, “civilian irrelevant to the conflict” due to safety considerations.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
In the last few years, Ukrainian legislation undergone many changes, and most of them in no way contribute to positive developments in the state, but only worsen the situation of citizens.
For example, de-institutionalization reform was adopted recently. Formally, it is aimed at:
– creating conditions for the return of children who are now in residential establishments to their own families or transferring them to family forms of upbringing (adoption, guardianship, foster families, family-type children’s homes);
– preventing of separation of children from their parents and their placement in boarding schools by introducing services to support children and families in communities.
In practice, the reform implies the closure or, at best, the transformation of orphanages into rehabilitation centers, where the number of pupils will be reduced by a dozen times. The Government of Ukraine sees only figures, but it does not realize that it is about the fate of children, future citizens of the country.
The boarding school pupils now have two alternatives: either they are returned back to their dysfunctional families, or transferred to other regional centers. With their careless decisions, Ukrainian officials fend children for themselves, they reduce their chances for further education.
To date, the funding permanently reduces in Ukraine. Most often, this happens in the areas, which require more attention. This affects the most vulnerable groups of the population.
In the wake of the armed conflict in Donbass some additional opportunities were available for temporarily displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine, such as organizing summer holidays for children, both by volunteer organizations and by the state budget.
After two years, the authorities apparently thought that the settlers had already managed to get settled well and now it is in the hands of the parents to organize the children’s holidays. For IDPs, partially paid holiday packages are available, and in a limited number.
The situation is absolutely opposite in the Donetsk People’s Republic. This summer the DPR trade unions will send 395 children to the Crimea, Rostov and Saratov regions of the Russian Federation for holidays.
The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office deals with the issues if temporary displaced persons. Every resident of Donbass region, including those living in areas temporarily controlled by Kiev, can apply to the Office and receive assistance. The body has temporary accommodation centres (TACs) at its disposal available for people who need temporary accommodation.
1279 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 250 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5127 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 233 of them – in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs of the Office monitor the TACs on the weekly basis, with the view to respond promptly to the citizens’ needs. The Ombudsman makes every effort to improve social and living conditions for people who live in the TACs.
During the period of work between 9 and 15 June 2017, 24 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 7 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office in Donetsk, Makeyevka ad Khartsysk.
There are currently 1409 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1353 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 436 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 56 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7983 persons, including 2070 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 68 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 57 of them operate today, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2871 individuals live in the centres, including 567 underage children, 5112 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1503 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
Children are the most fragile part of society that needs love and care. Unfortunately, the rights of children are violated quite often. In particular, they face forced labor and exploitation. Mostly, this happens to “developing” countries, where extreme poverty forces all members of the family to work.
Throughout the world, the problem of child labor poses a concern, because to this day it remains unresolved. In order to draw attention to this topic and contribute to the elimination of the use of the child labour, in 2002 the International Labor Organization (ILO) established the World Day Against Child Labor on 12 June.
The following documents prohibit the exploitation of children – the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child 1924, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, the ILO Minimum Age Convention 1973.
According to the above-mentioned documents:
The exploitation of child labor is prohibited;
The basic minimum age of admission to employment should not come before the end of compulsory schooling, which is usually 15 years;
Dangerous work that may harm the physical, mental or moral health of children should not be performed by persons under the age of 18;
Children between the ages of 13 and 15 can perform light work if this does not endanger their health or safety, or interfere with their schooling, vocational guidance and training.
Observance of the rights of children in society directly depends on the economic well-being of the country and the ability of each person to provide for his family. Therefore, the issue of employment always comes first.
The Republic Employment Center is the main state organ responsible for providing jobs to citizens. According to their data, 16,5 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 16.06.2017. As of 16 June 2017, there were 28,5 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 23,5 thousand have been employed (10 of them – on permanent positions, 13,5 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organizes regular free public workshops to train practical skills, such as work with personal computers; technique and mechanization of trade accounts (work with cash register machines); the program “1C: Accounting 8.2.”; fundamentals of entrepreneurship; processing and decoration of textile and clothing products etc. Since the beginning of 2017, 202 persons participated in those workshops.