The shelling against residential areas and civilian infrastructure of the Donetsk People’s Republic along the contact line by armed formations of Ukraine is becoming more intensive, while the Ukrainian authorities continue to make highlight declarations on their commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Donbass.
Exactly one month ago, on May 20, the newly elected President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, in his inaugural speech, said that cease-fire in Donbass was a priority. However, in fact, we can observe the opposite trend of escalation of violence in the region.
At the same time, the actions of the Ukrainian side are becoming increasingly cynical, and violations of the requirements and norms of international humanitarian law and the agreements reached within the Minsk negotiating process are becoming more and more serious. The use of prohibited methods of warfare by the armed forces of Ukraine has become a common practice aimed at terrorizing Donbass and the targeted destruction of civilians, housing objects and civilian infrastructure.
Thus, despite the security guarantees received from the Ukrainian side in order to carry out repair and rehabilitation work during the period from May 20 to June 20, the Vasilevskaia first stage pumping station of the Yuzhnodonbassky water pipe was subjected to a repeated shelling. Also, in violation of the armistice, on 3 and 21 June the armed forces of Ukraine opened fire against the area where repairs were being carried out to restore the power line in Spartak village. As a result of the attack on May 29, the treatment facilities of the water utility in the village of Golmovsky were damaged, and on June 14, treatment facilities of the municipal water utility in Gorlovka were damaged.
At the day of celebrating one of the main Muslim holidays, Eid al-Fitr, on June 4, when there were a lot of believers inside, including children, an operating mosque in the Octyabrsky district of the city of Donetsk was shelled. On June 19, armed formations of Ukraine carried out a massive artillery attack against Petrovsky district of Donetsk, damaging ten housing objects, as well as the Children’s City Clinical Hospital No. 4, the Petrovsky pool building and the Chelyuskintsev mine, which led to a shutdown of the ventilation system of the mine, endangering the lives of workers who were underground at that time.
In addition, on May 27, as a result of an attack with the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle, which was prohibited by the Minsk agreements, a woman born in 1948 and a child born in 2013 were injured in the Nikitovsky district of the city of Gorlovka. In total, the escalation affected more than ten civilians of the Donetsk People’s Republic, including two children over the past month.
The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic informed international human rights organizations about these and other serious violations of the requirements and norms of international humanitarian law. As a response to the increase in the use of prohibited methods of warfare, Daria Morozova urged the world community to condemn the actions of the Ukrainian authorities and take the necessary measures to prevent such incidents and critical deterioration of the rights and freedoms situation for the civilian population of Donbass.
In her activities, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic stands guard over constitutional rights and freedoms of people, ensures their protection and monitors their compliance.
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 authorities 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.
On 19 June, staff of the DPR Ombudsman Office conducted an on-site reception of citizens in the administration of Gorlovka. Five persons asked the human rights defenders for assistance in restoring their violated rights as well as for legal counselling.
At the on-site reception, the following issues were raised: reconstruction of housing destroyed as a result of hostilities and granting subsidies for utilities.
Representatives of Ombudsman Office gave advice on the above-mentioned issues and provided a detailed clarification of the norms of the current legislation. A request from citizens has been accepted for further consideration by the DPR Ombudsman within her competence.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Ombudsman received 3116 complaints. In the period of work between 15 and 21 June 2019, 34 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 4 written appeals have been received; 10 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 7 persons received legal counselling, and 5 persons were assisted through on-site reception. 6 written appeals were approved for consideration, 14 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 37 calls were received via hotlines, 10 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 250 appeals, violations in civil law – 330 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 36 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 111 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 195 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 128 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 1212 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 598 appeals, other issues – 256 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 21.06.2019
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 – 407 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 44 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 217 appeals, migration legislation issues – 330 appeals, labour legislation issues – 104 appeals, healthcare issues – 101 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 9 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 21.06.2019
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 21.06.2019
- 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 14 June, as a result of shelling in Alexandrovka settlement, a civilian woman born in 1946 sustained mine-blast trauma, non-penetrating multiple injuries to the chest and abdominal wall.
As a result of shelling in Trudovskie settlement, a civilian man born in 1961 sustained shrapnel wound to the right thigh.
On 18 June, as a result of shelling in Trudovskie settlement, a DPR serviceman born in 1997 sustained a mine-blast trauma and shrapnel wound.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman of 41 years old sustained a non-penetrating wound to the shoulder.
On 20 June, a DPR serviceman born in 1977 sustained multiple shrapnel wounds as he carried out ordnance disposal in Staromikhailovka urban-type settlement.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1986 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wounds to the chest.
Within the period between 14 and 20 June 2019, 6 persons, including 4 DPR servicemen, 1 civilian woman and 1 civilian man sustained injuries as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine in the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 20 June 2019, 98 persons, including 67 DPR servicemen, 11 civilian women and 18 civilian men and two children sustained injuries of various severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 14 and 20 June 2019, 2 DPR servicemen died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 20 June 2019, 90 persons, including 85 DPR servicemen, 2 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 4819 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
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic hasn’t received any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 21.06.2019, 252 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 95 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 157 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 21 June 2019, 461 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).
Since the beginning of the conflict 5380 referrals for accommodation in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres etc.) 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 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 15 and 21 June 2019, 10 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1077 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7091 persons, including 1736 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, 2392 persons live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 449 underage children, 4699 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1287 children.
- Protection of children’s rights
The protection of the rights and freedoms of vulnerable categories of citizens is provided for in international instruments, such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter, as well as in 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 children’s rights and freedoms by the state, according to the established schedule of visits to child social institutions, on 18 June representatives of the DPR Human Rights Ombudsman Office conducted an inspection of the educational process and living conditions in Donetsk Social Centre of City Administration of Donetsk.
Currently, 48 children aged 3 to 18 who find themselves in a difficult life situation are staying in the facility around-the-clock. Children are provided with comprehensive social, psychological, educational, medical, legal and other types of assistance.
The children attend schools and other educational facilities, accompanied by the staff of the institution. Also, the students attend activity clubs – musical, dancing, creative art etc. The students are actively involved in events designed to promote their personal development. Special attention is devoted to patriotic education.
The staff of the social centre take care of both physical and psychological health of students. Social and pedagogical correction is carried out based on individual needs of each child. The Centre facilitates that children return to their families.
As a result of the inspection, education and living environment for children in the Donetsk Social Centre received a positive assessment from the staff of DPR Ombudsman Office.