Human rights have general and universal nature. International cooperation between all countries and peoples of the world is necessary for their protection and implementation.
Cooperation between countries is carried out in three directions:
- development of common norms and standards in the field of human rights, the achievement of their recognition at the international and national levels;
- conclusion of intergovernmental agreements and acceptance by the participating States of the obligation to adhere to these standards in their internal and external policies;
- creation of a special mechanism to monitor compliance with commitments undertaken by the UN member states.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights plays a major role in the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the world. The Office supports the human rights components of peacekeeping missions in a number of countries, and has many regional offices and centers. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights regularly speaks about the state of human rights in the world and has the authority to investigate cases and publish reports.
So, the 17th Report on the results of the work of the UN Monitoring Mission, was recently released. The document describes in detail the human rights situation in the East of Ukraine in the period between November 16, 2016 and February 15, 2017.
This document detects escalation of the armed conflict in the territory of Donbass, which entails an increase in the number of victims. In total, at least 33,146 victims were recorded in the conflict zone from mid-April 2014 to February 15, 2017. This figure includes victims among civilian population, victims among servicemen of the Republic, as well as losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
It was specified in the document that dramatic aggravation of hostilities in November and December 2016, in late January and early February 2017, caused damage to key civil infrastructure facilities, including schools and hospitals. Indiscriminate shelling seriously affects civilian infrastructure, depriving tens of thousands of people of vital services, such as heating, water and electricity supply, and creates additional humanitarian needs.
The report also indicates that the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to use civilian facilities as military positions in many residential areas near the delimitation line endangering local residents, which contradicts all regulations.
According to Article 35 of the Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, “it is prohibited to use methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected to cause, widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment”.
Article 52 of this document prescribes that civilian objects shall not be subject to attack.
In February, the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic introduced the humanitarian program on the reunification of Donbass people. Special attention is paid to ensuring environmental security of our region. Work is in progress to study and assess risks that the civilian population may face in the event of a man-made threat.
The right to life, to the security of person, to inviolability of the home, to safe environment are fundamental human rights. In the Donetsk People’s Republic the observance of human rights is guaranteed by the Constitution of our state and is patronized by the Ombudsman.
Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications is 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 1349 appeals. In the period of work between 18 and 24 March 2017, 14 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 48 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 62 calls were made via hotlines. 17 applications were received via e-mail, 7 written appeals were taken into consideration, 10 – have been considered among those received earlier, 23 citizens were provided with legal counseling.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 55 appeals, violations in civil law– 143 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 2 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 1149 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 17.03.2017
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 – 138 appeals, temporary accommodation – 217 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 27 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 43 appeals, employment – 50 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 3 appeals, search of the missing – 49 appeals, loss of IDs – 134 appeals, housing issues – 88 appeals, temporary residence permit – 62 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 338 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 17.03.2017
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 17.03.2017
- 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 23 March 2017 more than 11278 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6774 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 523 units in Gorlovka, 81 units in Dokuchayevsk, 291 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 72 units in Kirovskoye, 1108 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 747 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 577 units in Yasynovataya, 278 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 52 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6182 houses;
– 760 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 175 heating supply facilities;
– 46 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 13 wastewater disposal and sewerage facilities;
– 101 healthcare facilities;
– 497 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 54 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 58 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 53 cultural institutions;
– 238 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 59 industrial objects;
– 89 trade objects;
– 258 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 9 March 2017 there are 2779 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 512 – rebuilt and 2267 – 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 rights of Donbass citizens by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to the inviolability of the home.
On 17 March as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces of Kievskiy region of Donetsk a civilian man of 66 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the neck and right hand.
As a result of shelling against Naberezhnoye village of Novoazovsk region, a civilian woman of 52 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, penetrating wound of the abdominal, soft tissue of right thigh and chest.
As a result of shelling against Bezymennoye village in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman of 32 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound with left foot crash, shrapnel wound of the left hand.
As a result of shelling in Yasinovataya, a civilian man born in 1971 sustained a mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the right forearm and concussion.
On 18 March as a result of shelling against Lozovoye village of Yasinovataya region, a civilian woman born in 1950 sustained a gunshot wound of scapula.
On 20 March as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces of Dokuchaevsk a civilian man born in 1968 sustained shrapnel wound of the lower third of the right thigh.
As a result of hostilities in Kominternovo village of Novoazovsk region a DPR serviceman born in 1975 sustained blunt shrapnel wound of the left thigh and left shin; a DPR serviceman born in 1971 sustained a penetrating wound of liver.
On 21 March as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces against Donetsk-Severny village a civilian man born in 1985 sustained shrapnel wound of the body and limbs.
On 22 March as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces of Kievskiy region of Donetsk a civilian woman of 23 years old sustained multiple wounds, abrasions of face, chest and both thighs with foreign bodies; a civilian man born in 1941 sustained compound wounds; a civilian woman born in 1953 sustained closed fracture of the left thighbone.
During the hostilities in Kominternovo village of Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman of 47 years old sustained perforating gunshot wound of the middle third of the right forearm with damage to tendons.
On 22 March as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces of Kievskiy region of Donetsk a civilian man born in 1959 sustained a gunshot shrapnel wound to the back with foreign body.
During the shelling of Krutaya Balka, near Yasinovataya a civilian woman born in 1960 sustained a gunshot wound of the left shin.
As a result of provocative fire by Ukrainian forces against Petrovskiy region of Donetsk a DPR serviceman of 34 years old sustained a gunshot penetrating wound to the head, shrapnel wounds of the hand.
A civilian man of 36 years old sustained shrapnel wounds of the back and lower limbs as a result of shelling in Gorlovka.
Within the period of 17-23 March 2017, 17 persons, including 5 civilian women, 7 civilian men and 5 DPR servicemen sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine.
Within the period between 1 January and 23 March 2017 154 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 81 DPR servicemen and 73 civilians, including 4 children under 18.
Within the period of 17 and 23 March 2017, 8 DPR servicemen and 2 Ukrainian servicemen died in the territory of DPR.
Within the period between 1 January and 23 March 2017, 89 persons, including 83 servicemen and 6 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4378 persons died. Among them, there were 595 women and 3783 men, including 74 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 and missing soldiers and civilians
The Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic was established with a view to ensuring state protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens, foreigners and stateless persons residing on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, preventing all forms of discrimination regarding the exercise of one’s rights and freedoms.
During the armed conflict, the Ombudsman is empowered to monitor the observance of human rights and international law with respect to civilians and prisoners of war.
Article 12 of the Law “On the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic” provides that the Ombudsman creates preliminary lists of prisoners of war and takes part in negotiations on the exchange.
This week, the DPR Ombudsman’s Office was reported on four cases of detention of citizens.
At the end of December 2016 a civilian born in 1979 was detained in Krasny Liman; in March 2017 a man born in 1967 was detained by law-enforcement authorities of Ukraine; in early March 2017 another civilian born in 1990 was detained at “Novotroitskoye” checkpoint. In October 2015 relatives of a woman born in 1987 lost touch with her during her stay in the territory, controlled by Ukrainian authorities.
During the week, no appeals on the missing have been received.
Based on the updated figures as of 24.03.2017, 789 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 479 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. 3 persons have been confirmed by the Ukrainian side in the current week.
– 302 persons, whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
Three persons were included into the list of people, whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 4 persons, for whom the request to the Ukrainian side was submitted for the first time on the basis of information received by the Ombudsman’s Office within two weeks.
As of 17 March 2017, 481 persons are considered missing.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about the individuals, who were detained by the Ukrainian side, the statistics may change.
The DPR Ombudsman`s Office will no longer publicly categorize the detainees by “serviceman”, “arrested for political reasons”, “civilian irrelevant to the conflict” due to safety considerations.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
As a result of military conflict, unleashed by Kiev authorities in 2014, many citizens were affected by constant shelling from Ukraine. They were forced to change their place of residence. Thus, a new vulnerable category of citizens – FDPs – arose.
Forcibly detained persons face many problems, one of them is the financial one. We all know that the Ukrainian government seeks every opportunity to complicate the socio-economic conditions in Donbass. For that purpose they created a complex and lengthy procedure of receiving social benefits. People, who had to leave their homes due to the constant shelling by Ukrainian troops, are forced to queue for hours, address many state institutions, undergo inspections and “fight” for their right to receive pensions and other social benefits.
Not only Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics bother about the fate of these people, this is a matter of concern throughout the world. At the end of 2016, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights began to monitor methods of verifying social payments. Investigation showed that the Ministry of Finance attracted a private company “Delta M Ukraina”, which was responsible for checking places of residence of forcibly displaced persons. Accordingly, this company had access to confidential information, such as the date of birth, the place of registration, the actual place of residence, workplace address and marital status. This is a grave violation of the law “On the protection of personal data.”
In the regular report on the human rights situation in Ukraine of November 16, 2016 to February 15, 2017, representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemn the fact that personal data of citizens were available for private entity and noted that verification should be carried out in compliance with international standards, including the privacy principles.
In his speech at the session of the UN Human Rights Council of March 22 the Assistant Secretary-General Andrew Gilmore noted that Ukraine should not resort to isolating the territory of Donbass and it is obliged to pay social benefits to Donbass residents.
As we know, the Ukraine’s debt on social payments to DPR residents exceeded 30 billion UAH and continues to grow. This figure was announced by the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko in the course of a teleconference with residents of areas of Donbass controlled by Kiev:
«You know, there are exact figures. Of course, they differ from those of Kiev, since we do not forbid our pensioners to receive pension in Ukraine. Either way, we pay all social benefits in the Donetsk People’s Republic, – the leader of the state explained. – Therefore, the Ukrainian authorities owe more than 30 billion UAH ($ 1.1 billion) to our pensioners».
The Donetsk People’s Republic, like any other socially oriented state, takes care of its citizens and carries out all financial obligations. Salaries, pensions, other benefits are regularly paid in the Republic, and the houses destroyed due to hostilities are being restored. Citizens who have lost their homes or currently live in the areas subject to shelling receive additional assistance – they are provided with temporary housing.
The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office shoulders the responsibility to deal with the issues of forcibly displaced persons. 15 Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) were established in the DPR by the efforts of the Office to provide victims with due living conditions and make their adaptation period shorter. 12 of them function today. Among them: 6 are in Donetsk, 3 are in Makeyevka, 2 are in Khartsysk, 1 is in Zugres. Citizens are given referrals to move to the TAC, any feasible assistance, including psychological, is provided for them.
1354 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 277 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5063 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 169 of them – in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs of the Office monitor the TACs on the 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 18th and 24th March 2017, 39 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 9 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office in Donetsk, 2 – in Makeyevka.
There are currently 1250 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1185 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 326 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 65 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7997 persons, including 2106 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 68 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 57 of them operate today, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 3006 individuals live in the units, including 618 underage children, 4991 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1488 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
Throughout the war, SSU have been deliberately destroying enterprises of coal, metallurgical and mechanical engineering industries of Donbass. Ukrainian forces damaged large enterprises such as metallurgical plants of Enakievo and Donetsk, Yasinovka coke plant, “Donetskgormash”, and other. Many enterprises were closed due to heavy destruction.
Today, industrial infrastructure of the Donetsk People’s Republic is being recovered. According to the Ministry of Industry, since 2016, 24 industrial enterprises have already been reopened. In 2017, it is planned to launch about 20 industrial enterprises.
The following industrial facilities have already been restored: Yuzovsky Steel Plant, which is being prepared for a full-fledged operation; Khartsyzsk Steel Wire-rope Plant “Silur”, which will produce steel ropes. “Our wire-rope plant starts its operation in February. The enterprise is registered in the DNR. It already has a stamp. Currently we are opening bank accounts”, – said the acting Head of Khartsyzsk administration.
Recently, the Donetsk Brewery was also put into operation. Like many enterprises in Donbass, the plant was stopped in 2014 due to hostilities. Head of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko says that the plant will also make production intended for export. Now the plant employs 242 people.
Restoration of enterprises will revive economic sector in the DPR and will positively affect employment.
Citizens who seek for permanent or temporary work can apply to the Republic Employment Center, which bears responsibility to organize employment in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The staffs of the Centre provide an up-to-date list of available vacancies and, if necessary, send them to retraining courses.
According to their data, 8,9 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 24.03.2017. As of 24 March 2017, there were 18,8 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 14,3 thousand have been employed (4,4 of them – on permanent positions, 9,9 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organizes 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, 85 persons participated in those workshops.