Tomorrow, July 27, residents of Gorlovka will gather to honor the memory of the victims of the tragic day in the history of the city known as the “Bloody Sunday”. On this day, five years ago, Gorlovka was under massive shelling by the Ukrainian side, which killed 20 civilians, including 4 children.
Armed formations of Ukraine started the attack on Gorlovka on July 20, 2014, heavy fighting began from the very first days. Residential areas of the city were subjected to indiscriminate shelling, which is a gross violation of international humanitarian law. On August 7, five civilians were killed and another ten were injured as a result of a direct hit in the bus stop.
On August 18, official Kiev announced that it entrapped Gorlovka, although the militia continued strong resistance. Thanks to the large-scale counterattack by the forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic, on September 1, the siege was broken. In perpetuating the memory of the fallen, to commemorate their courage, bravery and heroism shown in the struggle for freedom and independence, Gorlovka was awarded the honorary title “City of Military Glory” by Decree of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic of August 22, 2017.
Since the beginning of active hostilities and up to now, hundreds of civilians from Gorlovka have become victims of aggression by the Ukrainian armed forces; and even more citizens sustained injuries of varying severities. The housing stock and civil infrastructure of the city have been severely destroyed. And still, hostilities are the most intense in Gorlovka.
At the same time, the armed forces of Ukraine, showing disregard for the requirements and norms of international humanitarian law as well as its obligations under international treaties, continue to commit the acts of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population, which is prohibited under Article 13 of Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II). During the confrontation in Donbass, the Ukrainian side has often used prohibited methods and means of warfare, including indiscriminate shelling and attacks by unmanned combat aircraft on peaceful areas, as well as laying of mines by sabotage and reconnaissance groups.
So, this week, on July 25, after the introduction of a comprehensive, sustainable and permanent cease-fire, as a result of detonation of anti-personnel mine laid by Ukrainian saboteurs, a peaceful woman born in 1958 residing in Zaitsevo village, outside Gorlovka, was injured. This is also a direct violation of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-personnel Mines, ratified by Ukraine in 2006.
The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic uses all available channels in order to inform to the world community on illegal actions committed by the Ukrainian side. To this end, the Ombudsman reports on the relevant incidents at meetings of the Humanitarian Subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group on peaceful settlement in Donbass. Also, she sends letters to international human rights organizations. Such information is reflected in the relevant reports, on the basis of which recommendations are formed for official Kiev in order to prevent the deterioration of the social and humanitarian situation in the region and to ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of Donbass residents.
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 24 July, representatives of the DPR Ombudsman Office conducted an on-site reception of citizens in the administration of Starobeshevo region.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Ombudsman received 3886 complaints. In the period of work between 20 and 26 July 2019, 1 person attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 32 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 4 written appeals have been received; 9 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 5 persons received legal counselling. 2 written appeals were approved for consideration, 18 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 38 calls were received via hotlines, 11 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 352 appeals, violations in civil law – 397 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 49 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 132 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 218 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 164 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 1518 appeals, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 737 appeals, other issues – 319 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 26.07.2019
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 – 492 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 49 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 281 appeals, migration legislation issues – 429 appeals, labour legislation issues – 131 appeals, healthcare issues – 123 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 13 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 26.07.2019
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 26.07.2019
- 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 20 July, as a result of shelling in Petrovsky district of Donetsk, a detached house caught fire. A civilian man born in 1954 sustained a burn to his right shoulder, forearm and head.
Within the period between 19 and 25 July 2019, 1 civilian man sustained injuries in the Donetsk People’s Republic as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 1 January and 25 July 2019, 134 persons, including 90 DPR servicemen, 16 civilian women and 25 civilian men and 3 children sustained injuries of various severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 19 and 25 July 2019, 5 persons died in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 1 civilian woman, who died on 25 July as a result of detonation of an explosive device, and 4 DPR serviceman died.
Within the period between 1 January and 25 July 2019, 115 persons, including 107 DPR servicemen, 5 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 4844 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 received 4 appeals on arrest. Two men of 1988 and 1978 were arrested by SBU in April 2019, a man born in 1959 was arrested in June 2019, and a man born in 1985 was arrested in July 2019.
Based on the updated figures as of 26.07.2019, 253 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 101 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 152 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 26 July 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).
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 20 and 26 July 2019, 8 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, 6904 persons, including 1690 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, 2345 persons live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 443 underage children, 4559 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1247 children.