All victims of human rights abuses should
be able to look to the Human Right Council
as a forum and a springboard for action.”
– Ban Ki-Moon
The Human Rights Council is an intergovernmental body within the United Nations system responsible for promoting respect for and protection of all human rights around the world and for dealing with situations of human rights violations, as well as the preparation of relevant recommendations. The Council was established on the basis of the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 on 15 March 2006, replacing the previous UN Commission on Human Rights. It is in its competence to discuss all thematic issues and situations in the field of human rights that require its attention throughout the year.
The main objective of the HRC is “to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms on a fair and equal basis, as well as to effectively coordinate and integrate activities related to human rights within the UN system”. The Council consists of 47 member states of the United Nations, which are elected by the UN General Assembly. The countries are grouped on the regional basis: African countries – 13 seats, Asian countries – 13 seats, Latin America and the Caribbean – 8 seats, Eastern European countries – 6 seats, and Western European and other countries – 7 seats.
Elections to the Council are conducted by direct secret ballot annually for the next three years. For example, on October 16, 15 countries were elected to the HRO, including Australia, Angola, Afghanistan, Spain, Qatar, Congo, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Slovakia, Chile. They will replace those countries which mandate ends on December 31, 2017, in the HRO. As a result of voting at the plenary session of the UN General Assembly, Ukraine became a member to the UN Human Rights Council with a mandate for the next three years. Ukraine was supported by 177 member-states.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavel Klimkin, in his comments said that the UN Human Rights Council is an important platform for human rights initiatives and for “pressure on the Kremlin for Ukraine.”
According to the press secretary of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, Ukraine, as the newly elected member of the HRO, will use all the mechanisms to fight human rights violations in the territories of the Crimea and Donbass. He stressed that the Ukrainian delegation to the HRO “will focus on the prevention of human rights violations and take their initiatives on this issue within the framework of the work of the Council.”
A few days earlier, on October 12, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg withdrew from the register and handed over to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe more than 12 thousand cases relating to non-enforcement of decisions of national courts in Ukraine. According to ECHR, it receives more and more lawsuits, and the regular failure of Ukraine to comply with national court decisions leads to the regular recognition of Ukraine as a violator of the Human Rights Convention.
It is rather strange that a country that violates the rights of its citizens, a country that has been destroying its own population for more than three years, was elected a member of the UN Human Rights Council.
The post of the Human Rights Ombudsman was established in the Donetsk People’s Republic to ensure the state protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms, to prevent any form of discrimination regarding the exercise of their rights and freedoms.
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 2017 the Ombudsman received 4803 appeals. In the period of work between 14 and 20 October 2017, 4 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 33 claims were accepted by the Appeals department 27 calls were made via hotlines. 19 applications were received via e-mail, 11 written appeals were taken into consideration, 8 – have been reviewed among those received earlier, 25 persons have been given legal assistance.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 274 appeals, violations in civil law– 541 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 2 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 3986 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 20.10.2017
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 – 576 appeals, temporary accommodation – 477 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 112 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 172 appeals, employment – 156 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents –11 appeals, search of the missing – 175 appeals, loss of IDs – 316 appeals, housing issues – 212 appeals, temporary residence permit – 211 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 1568 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 20.10.2017
Pension and social payments
Search of the missing soldiers
Search of the missing civilians
Temporary residence permit
Paperwork in case of property destruction
Paperwork on travelling documents
Loss of IDs
Other social and humanitarian issues
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 20.10.2017
- 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 September 28, 2017 more than 11413 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6845 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 528 units in Gorlovka, 91 units in Dokuchayevsk, 312 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 75 units in Kirovskoye, 1113 units in Makeyevka, 56 units in Snyezhnoye, 122 units in Torez, 750 units in Khartsysk, 75 units in Shakhtyorsk, 582 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:
– 6247 houses;
– 770 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 176 heating supply facilities;
– 52 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 14 wastewater and sewerage facilities;
– 102 healthcare facilities;
– 519 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 59 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 55 cultural institutions;
– 241 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 63 industrial objects;
– 89 trade objects;
– 269 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 28 September 2017 there are 2836 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 642 – rebuilt and 2194 – 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 Donbass citizens’ rights by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to inviolability of the home.
On October 14 during the provocative fire of Ukrainian forces a DPR serviceman born in 1999 sustained gunshot perforation wounds of the limbs.
On October 17 during the massive artillery shelling by Ukrainian forces against Petrovskiy region of Donetsk a civilian man born in 1947 and a civilian woman born in 1986 sustained mine-blast wounds and shrapnel wounds.
Within the period between 13 and 19 October, 2017, 3 persons sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine. Among them, there were 1 DPR serviceman, 1 civilian man and 1 civilian woman.
Within the period between January 1 and October 12, 2017, 517 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 306 DPR servicemen and 211 civilians, including 12 children under 18.
Within the period between 13 and 19 October, 2017, 4 DPR servicemen died in the territory of the DPR as a result of shelling.
Within the period between January 1 and October 19, 2017, 239 persons, including 211 servicemen and 28 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including an underage child.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4528 persons died. Among them, there were 605 women and 3923 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, missing soldiers
This week, the regular meeting of the humanitarian subgroup took place in Minsk. The issue of returning documents to persons, who have been exchanged earlier, became one of the main ones.
“Representatives of the United Nations joined the discussion, and gave examples of return of documents from international practice. However, in our situation, according to the Ukrainian side, such mechanisms can be applied only to two persons – those having an act of pardon from the President of Ukraine. We insist on the return of all 126 seized documents. Let me remind you that the plenipotentiaries assured us at the previous meeting in early October of the need to make some “creative” document that would regulate the return mechanism. But on Wednesday the rhetoric of the Ukrainian side changed and they claimed that having an act of pardon or Release Certificate is enough for identification. According to the Ukrainian legislation, documents contained in the files of criminal proceedings can be removed from the case only by a court decision. However, at the talks, they gave us photocopies of receipts that certify the return of ID documents to some persons, addressed to pre-trial investigation bodies. It turns out that the Ukrainian side may violate its own legislation, if they wish so. And applicability of a legal mechanism depends on whether it is beneficial for the Ukrainian side or not.
All the documents discussed are only “papers” for some people of Ukraine. Such a neglectful and disrespectful attitude to the documents issued by Ukraine, which testify citizenship, is shocking. Kiev negotiators refuse to realize that each seized document affects lives of people,” – said the plenipotentiary Daria Morozova.
The release of detained persons was the main issue under discussion.
“Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to have any progress regarding the long-awaited exchange because the person responsible for the release of the detained persons was absent. The other plenipotentiary of the Ukrainian side takes the discussion out of a constructive line, providing inconsistent information. Our side continues to insist on the main exchange principle – “all for all” – and the impropriety of dividing the detained persons into categories, because this is not provided for by the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements. And, despite all difficulties, we will seek for the return of all our men to their relatives as soon as possible,” – said the Ombudsman.
This week no appeals on arrest or missing persons were received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Based on the updated figures as of 06.10.2017, 464 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 255 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 209 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
As of 06 October 2017, 514 persons are considered missing. Hypothetically, they might be in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
Most recently, Ukrainian government adopted a pension reform. The pension is calculated on the basis of three indicators: the average salary in the country at the time when a person retired, the length of service and the ratio of the person’s salary to the average. Since the size of the average salary varies each year, then pension payments should be recalculated in accordance with the new realities. The last recount was done in 2012.
The law does not provide for rising the retirement age, but introduces requirements for the length of the insurance period. Under the new conditions, the one will be required to have 25 years of pension insurance period to retire at 60 years old. If the one has the insurance period of 15 to 25 years, he/she can retire at 63 years old, if the insurance period is less than 15 years – at 65 years old.
The law eliminates special conditions for civil servants, judges, scientists and other categories. Their pensions will be calculated under the general system. Also, the right to retirement pension is revoked for educators, healthcare workers, social security workers, prosecutors and others who could retire early – five to ten years before the retirement age. An exception is made only for servicemen and staff of law enforcement agencies.
In addition, when the pension reform enters into force, the amount of the single social security contribution will be doubled in 2018 for physical persons-entrepreneurs of the first group of single tax.
What is noteworthy is that the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine notes that there are certain problems with the recalculation of pensions for displaced persons. This is explained by the “lack of technical capacities”.
This is what “social justice” looks like in Ukraine. Undoubtedly, displaced persons will feel all the negative aspects of the new law, but it is unlikely that their pensions increase.
Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) have been opened in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Any person can receive temporary accommodation there if they need it. 1179 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 226 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5222 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 328 of them – in 2017. 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 14 and 20 October, 2017, 32 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, one of them was accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office in Donetsk.
There are currently 1375 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1375 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 489 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7806 persons, including 2014 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 64 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 56 of them operate today, 8 of them are held in reserve.
Currently, 2797 individuals live in the centres, including 540 underage children, 5009 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1474 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
In the last 9 months, 2017, people who look for a job participated in temporary jobs on referrals from employment centers in accordance with the Decree of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, dated September 27, 2016 No. 146, and No. 255. August 10, 2017. This is the work to restore detached homes and other social facilities damaged in the course of military operations. The list of objects eligible for reconstruction is made by administrations of cities and districts. The reconstruction is carried out with the use of humanitarian aid in the form of construction materials provided for the Donetsk People’s Republic. For 9 months, 399 skilled builders took part in such reconstruction work.
The number of disabled people employed for 9 months of this year was 386 people, or about 40% of disabled people registered. Since the beginning of the year, about 800 vacancies for disabled people have been included into the list of vacancies.
The employment centres continue professional guidance work for the population and, first of all, for young people.
To be noted, the measures such as job fairs, outreach informative activities, auctions for jobseekers and other events are held by employment centres to contribute to the increase in the employment situation.
According to the procedure for vocational training on referrals from the territorial bodies of the Republican Employment Centre, approved by the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People’s Republic on March 10 of this year No. 3, 25 people underwent professional training, 167 people were in demand on the labor market in the reporting period.
To date, 4 groups of students completed vocational training and started to work. They are: 52 operators of gas boiler houses, 16 technicians of chemical treatment of water, 13 masons, and roofers. Other groups of masons, electric gas welders and other groups continue training. New groups are launched for training every month.
In addition, the procedure and conditions for sending women on the maternity leave for vocational training by territorial offices of the Republican Employment Center was approved by the Order of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
This order was registered with the Ministry of Justice and entered into force on October 10 this year.
The Republican Employment Center of the Donetsk People’s Republic continues its informational and consulting work with the population and employers of the Republic.
According to their data, 35.4 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 20.10.2017. As of October 20, 2017, there were 45.3 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 37.3 thousand have been employed (20.6 of them – on permanent positions, 16.7 – 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. Since the beginning of 2017, 333 persons participated in those workshops.