All human beings are born free
and equal in dignity and rights.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
July 18 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of human rights activist Nelson Mandela. The Nelson Mandela Day was established by the United Nations in recognition of the contribution to the preservation of peace and the protection of human rights.
Nelson Mandela led the struggle against apartheid in the Republic of South Africa against a system introduced by the national white minority that forced the black majority to live in special reservation areas. In 1962, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his political activities, which were recognized as terrorism. Mandela was released after 27 years in prison and was soon elected President of the Republic of South Africa, becoming the first black head of state in the history of the country. Mandela received the Nobel Prize and was one of the most respected statesmen in the world. He was known as a human rights defender who had spent 27 years in prison, including 18 years in solitary confinement.
The legacy of Nelson Mandela as a great champion of human rights, equality and democracy are so significant that the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2015 were named after him – “Nelson Mandela Rules”. This set of rules protects the dignity of people in prison and reflects the modern approach to prison management in the twenty-first century.
The revised Rules pay particular attention to the principles of humane treatment of persons deprived of liberty; the document provides for an absolute prohibition on the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, guarantees against unreasonable restrictions of the right to privacy during the search.
The changes concerned the procedure of initial medical examination, work activity, terms of isolation from other prisoners. In the area of healthcare, changes concerned the rights of HIV-infected prisoners, who should be given access to antiretroviral drugs. The document indicates the need to provide assistance to convicts in the treatment of tuberculosis and drug addiction.
Under Mandela’s Rules, it is prohibited to force a prisoner to take part in medical or scientific experiments; and all prisoners have the right to legal assistance. The prohibition of long-term solitary confinement of a convicted person is an important innovation. Solitary confinement is defined in the document as the confinement of prisoners for 22 hours or more a day without meaningful human contact, and prolonged solitary confinement refers to solitary confinement for a time period in excess of 15 consecutive days. Furthermore, Disciplinary sanctions or restrictive measures shall not include the prohibition of family contact.
Unfortunately, Nelson Mandela’s standards are not always observed in the modern world. Thus, as a result of the armed conflict in the territory of Donbass, hundreds of supporters of the People’s Republics have to face the realities of Ukrainian prisons. Most often, representatives of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies detain ordinary civilians on false charges – participation in terrorist organizations, carrying out activities against Ukrainian authorities. In fact, disapproval of the policy of people who came to power as a result of the coup in Ukraine by citizens is the main reason for detention. Sometimes the charges against citizens cannot be proved, and people continue to languish in prison for years.
The majority of people released from Ukrainian captivity tell about inadequate conditions of detention, the total absence of medical support and the use of unlawful coercion. As people returned from captivity, they were interviewed and they underwent medical examinations. It was established that about 95 per cent of the respondents had been subjected to unlawful coercion. Moreover, there is another problem in Ukraine –unofficial places of detention, where absolutely no rules, norms or international standards are carried out. With the assistance of international organizations, 12 supporters of the Republic, who had been held in unofficial places of detention of the Security Service of Ukraine for a long time, have been released.
As international human rights organizations note, in the conditions of the armed conflict in Donbass there are mass violations by Ukraine in the field of human rights. The quarterly reports of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights documented multiple cases of torture and other forms of ill-treatment and emphasized that impunity for violations and abuses of human rights in the territory of Donbass remains a serious problem in Ukraine.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Ombudsman Office is responsible for observance of the rights and freedoms. So, one can file a complaint with the Ombudsman or make an appointment for a personal reception if his\her rights have been violated.
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 the beginning of 2018, the Ombudsman received 3348 appeals. In the period of work between 14 and 20 July 2018, 8 persons visited the Ombudsman in person, 32 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 7 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 7 persons received legal counselling. 10 written appeals were approved for consideration, 10 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 29 calls were received via hotlines, 10 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 242 appeals, violations in civil law– 258 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 5 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 1596 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 428 appeals, other issues – 819 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 20.07.2018
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 the 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 – 378 appeals, temporary accommodation – 462 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 143 appeals, migration legislation issues – 282 appeals, labour legislation issues – 119 appeals, healthcare issues – 94 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 40 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 20 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 24 appeals, land use and tenure – 4 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 30 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 20.07.2018
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 20.07.2018
- 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: the right to life, to security of the person, to inviolability of the home.
14 June, as a result of hostilities in Sakhanka village, Novoazovsk region, three DPR servicemen born in 1996, 1994 and 1992 sustained mine-blast traumas.
16 July, as a result of a direct hit on a house in Dokuchaevsk, a civilian woman born in 1955 sustained mine-blast trauma, multiple injuries of the back, left thigh and foot.
17 July, a DPR serviceman born in 1970 was wounded in Dokuchaevsk.
Within the period between 13 and 19 July 2018, 5 persons, including 4 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian woman 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 July 19 2018, 197 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 118 DPR servicemen, 52 civilian men, 25 civilian women and 2 underage children.
Within the period between 13 and 19 July 2018 – 3 DPR servicemen died in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between January 1 and 19 July 2018, 94 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 89 men and 5 women.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4661 persons died. Among them, there are 610 women and 4051 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
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 20.07.2018, 277 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 82 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 195 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified 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 20 July 2018, 471 persons are considered missing. There is a possibility that they are held in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
At the time of the 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, boarding houses, health care centres). Since the beginning of the conflict 5380 referrals for accommodation in social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) 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 14 and 20 July 2018, 7 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1180 housing spots available for IDPs in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7399 persons, including 1808 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 60 social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) have been opened in the territory of DPR. 54 of them operate (Donetsk Administration resettled 2 persons from social housing objects and changed the status of these objects to reserve), 8 of them are held in reserve.
Currently, 2641 individuals live in social housing objects (dormitories, boarding houses, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 490 underage children, 4758 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1318 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
According to their data, 29.4 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 20.07.2018. As of 20 July 2018, there were 27.8 thousand individuals who seek for a job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 20.7 thousand have been employed (12.4 of them – on permanent positions, 8.3 – 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. 127 persons participated in such seminars.