On January 18, the international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch published the 28th 643-page World Report that represents analysis of the human rights situation in more than 90 countries.
“Last year, Kiev authorities considered their human rights obligations to be something optional,” said a Human Rights Watch researcher in Ukraine. “The authorities are using a row of frankly undemocratic practices and they are introducing new laws that undermine fundamental freedoms in Ukraine.”
Thus, the Report says that Minsk Agreements, signed in 2015, were repeatedly violated during the 2017, thereby creating a constant threat to the civilian population and infrastructure, the Government of Ukraine did not bring to justice those who attacked journalists, further restriction of media pluralism, freedom of expression were observed on the territory of Ukraine.
The Report indicates that in 2017 the Ukrainian government took steps to limit freedom of expression, freedom of the media and freedom of association. In March 2017, legislation on criminal responsibility for anti-corruption activists who did not declare their property was adopted. In May, the President of Ukraine banned large Russian companies and their websites on the territory of the state. In July, Petro Poroshenko introduced a draft amendment, providing for excessive and burdensome reporting requirements for all public organizations. The report indicates that the Ukrainian authorities did not take any steps to investigate the activities of the Myrotvorets website, and some officials publicly supported the website activities.
Almost no one was held accountable for tortures, arbitrary arrest and other violations in the context of the armed conflict. “Despite numerous and convincingly documented statements by former detainees, the SSU leadership denied their involvement in secret detention and enforced disappearances. Investigation of these cases, initiated by the Chief Military Procurator’s Office of Ukraine, did not produce any tangible results,” the report says.
The authors cite the case of Daria Mastikasheva as an example, which was repeatedly stated by the Ombudsman Daria Morozova. “In August, SSU officials unlawfully detained and tortured a woman who was later charged with working for Russian special services. Her torture allegations have never been investigated,” the report says.
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. Since 2018 the Ombudsman received 192 appeals. In the period of work between January 13 and 19, 2017, 12 persons visited the Ombudsman in person, 59 claims were accepted by the Appeals department 1 call was received via hotlines. 20 applications were received via e-mail, 5 written appeals were taken into consideration, 2 – have been reviewed among those received earlier, 6 persons have been given legal assistance.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 16 appeals, violations in civil law– 15 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 0 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 104 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 19.01.2018
Violations in criminal law
Violations in civil law
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
Issues of social and humanitarian affairs
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 – 49 appeals, temporary accommodation – 19 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 9 appeals, migration legislation issues – 9 appeals, labour legislation issues – 9 appeals, healthcare issues – 3 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 1 appeal, issues of education, culture and sport – 3 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 1 appeal, land use and tenure – 0 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 1 appeal, issues related to hostilities – 24 appeals, issues of destruction in the sphere of culture, housing and road transport infrastructure – 0 appeals, search of the missing – 3 appeals, exchange of detained persons – 18 appeals, issues related to citizens wounded and deceased as a result of hostilities in the DPR – 3 appeals, other issues – 33 appeals. (Diagram 2).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens on social and humanitarian isses, received by the DPR Ombudsman`s Office as of 19.01.2018
pension and social payments, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid
migration legislation issues
guardianship and family law issues
land use and tenure
issues of destruction in the sphere of culture, housing and road transport infrastructure
labour legislation issues
issues of education, culture and sport
the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials
search of the missing
issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services
activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations
issues related to hostilities
exchange of detained persons
issues related to citizens wounded and deceased as a result of hostilities in the DPR
The majority of complains 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 19.01.2018
- 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 Donbass citizens’ rights by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to inviolability of the home.
On January 12, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region a DPR serviceman sustained mine-blast trauma, brain contusion.
On January 14, as a result of hostilities in Sakhanka village and Bezymennoye village, Novoazovsk region, DPR servicemen born in 1973, 1978 and 1982 sustained mine-blast traumas.
Within the period between 12 and 18 January, 2018, 4 DPR servicemen sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side.
Within the period between January 1 and 18, 2018, 17 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 15 DPR servicemen and 2 civilian men.
Within the period between 12 and 18 January, 2018, 1 DPR serviceman died in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between January 1 and 18, 2017, 5 DPR servicemen died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4572 persons died. Among them, there are 605 women and 3967 men, including 76 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
On January 18 the first meeting of this year in Minsk format took place. Summing up the long-awaited release of captives, conducted on December 27, 2017, and discussing the next stage of the exchange, a plenipotentiary representative of the DPR Denis Pushilin highlighted a number of violations committed by the Ukrainian side, such as inaccurate number of persons to the exchange, failure to provide released persons with documents, poor health condition of released persons.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office was reported on arrest of 16 DPR supporters.
Based on the updated figures as of 19.01.2018, 305 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 84 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 221 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
This week no appeals on missing persons were received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
As of 19 January 2018, 444 persons are considered missing. Hypothetically, they might be in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) have been opened in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Any person can receive temporary accommodation there if they need it. 1152 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 221 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5255 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 12 of them – in 2018. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs of the Office monitor the TACs on a 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 January 12 and 19, 2018, 18 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons.
There are currently 1250 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1250 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 359 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7882 persons, including 2027 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 63 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 55 of them operate today, 8 of them are held in reserve.
Currently, 1568 individuals live in the centres, including 301 underage children, 5162 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1505 children under eighteen.
4. Employment of DPR citizens
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
According to their data, 7.8 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 19.01.2018. As of January 19, 2018, there were 11.8 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 6.0 thousand have been employed (0.6 of them – on permanent positions, 5.4 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organises 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.