The free will of the people is an integral part and a foundation of democracy. This is enshrined in international documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and a number of other documents. Thus, Article 21 (3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government”. The same principle is enshrined in Article 2 of the Constitution of the Donetsk People’s Republic: “The sole source of governmental authority of the Donetsk People’s Republic is the people. Referendum and free elections shall be the highest direct expression of the people’s authority.” For Donbass residents, who disagree with the policy of the Kiev regime, which came to power in Ukraine after the coup d’état of 2014, the elections of November 11, 2018 were the second elections and the third act of expression of the will of the people in the history of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
On May 11, 2014, a referendum was held. The Declaration of Sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Act of Proclamation of the Donetsk People’s Republic were supported by an overwhelming majority of citizens. On November 2, 2014, elections of the Head and Deputies of the People’s Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic were held. The government of Ukraine did not recognize the right of Donbass people to self-determination and free will. It unleashed an armed confrontation, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people.
In order to de-escalate the conflict, the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements was signed, which is currently the only existing document for resolving the crisis in the east of Ukraine. In addition to cessation of hostilities and the delimitation of the parties’ military positions, a mechanism was established that provides for the constitutional reform in Ukraine, granting special status to Donbass and holding local elections. However, at the negotiations, the Ukrainian side refuses to engage in a constructive dialogue on these issues, which blocks the implementation of these requirements.
Elections of the Head and Deputies of the People’s Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic took place on November 11, 2018, and were held in accordance with international law, as confirmed by observers from 14 countries around the world who stated that the voting procedure was fair and transparent. As a result of the voting, Denis Pushilin won.
On November 20, Denis Pushilin took the oath of office as the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic. He promised to observe the Constitution and the laws of the Donetsk People’s Republic, to respect and safeguard the rights and freedoms of man and citizen.
The post of the Human Rights Ombudsman has been established in the Donetsk People’s Republic to ensure the state protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms, to prevent all forms of discrimination regarding the exercise of their rights and freedoms.
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 5541 complaints. In the period of work between 17 and 23 November 2018, 11 citizens attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 50 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 15 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 8 persons received legal counselling. 10 written appeals were approved for consideration, 7 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 32 calls were received via hotlines, 4 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 362 appeals, violations in civil law – 468 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 6 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 2829 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 633 appeals, other issues – 1243 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 23.11.2018
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 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 – 821 appeals, temporary accommodation – 613 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 363 appeals, migration legislation issues – 462 appeals, labour legislation issues – 234 appeals, healthcare issues – 157 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 60 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 31 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 32 appeals, land use and tenure – 21 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 35 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 23.11.2018
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 23.11.2018
- Death toll, injuries 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.
On 17 November, as a result of sniping fire in Petrovskiy region of Donetsk, a civilian man born in 1991 sustained perforating bullet wound in his own yard.
On 18 November, as a result of shelling in Novoazovsk region, three DPR citizens born in 1992, 1988 and 1980 sustained injuries of various severities.
On 21 November, as a result of shelling in Yelenovka urban-type settlement, a civilian man born in 1956 sustained shrapnel wound to the right thigh.
Within the period between 16 and 22 November 2018, 5 persons sustained injuries as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, including 3 DPR servicemen and 2 civilian men.
Within the period between 1 January and 22 November 2018, 303 persons died in the territory of the DPR as a result of hostilities.
Within the period between 16 and 22 November 2018, three DPR servicemen were killed in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between 1 January and 22 November 2018, 152 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 9 women and 143 men, including 5 underage children.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4719 persons died. Among them, there are 614 women and 4105 men, including 81 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 received one appeal on arrest.
A woman born in 1966 was detained at the checkpoint in November 2018, she was charged with offences under part 1, Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Based on the updated figures as of 23.11.2018, 278 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 88 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 190 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 didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons.
As of 23 November 2018, 452 persons are considered missing. They might be held in Ukrainian captivity.
- 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 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 17 and 23 November 2018, 15 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1370 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7316 persons, including 1804 children under the age of eighteen have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 75 social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) have been opened in the territory of DPR. 52 of them operate, 23 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2483 individuals live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 467 underage children, 4833 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1337 children under eighteen.
- Employment situation in the DPR
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
As reported by the Centre, in the period from 1 January to 23 November 2018:
- there were 47.6 thousand vacant positions registered in the Centre by employers;
- there were 41.2 thousand job-seekers registered at the Employment Centre. Among them: 33.2 thousand have been employed (23.4 of them – on permanent positions, 9.8 – temporarily).
- 336 job-seekers have undergone professional training facilitated by employment centres: 60 persons undergone training and 276 persons – retraining.
The training covered most demanded professions: electric and gas welder, plasterer, bricklayer, painter, roofer (roll-roofing and shingles), maintenance technician, automotive service technician, repair and maintenance electrician, operator of chemical treatment of water, furnace equipment inspector, boiler-house operator, stoker, seamstress, hairdresser, seller, chef.