The human right to social security is one of the basic social human rights guaranteed by the state and enshrined at the highest legislative level. Social security is usually understood as a person’s right to assistance from the state in the form of payment of pensions and allowances in case of temporary or permanent disability, the loss of the breadwinner, unemployment or poverty. The right to social security is enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine, in Article 12 of the European Social Charter, its paragraph 4 guarantees “equal treatment with their own nationals, of the nationals of other Parties in respect of social security rights, including the retention of benefits arising out of social security legislation, whatever movements the persons protected may undertake between the territories of the Parties”. Ukraine signed the Charter in 1999, but the ratification process lasted for seven years: the document came into force only in February 2007.
The armed conflict unleashed by Kiev authorities in Donbass in 2014, has turned into a deliberate killing of the civilian population, genocide against citizens of the industrial densely populated region. However, using weapons of various calibres against its own people was not enough for official Kiev, and trade, transport, and economic blockade were imposed. These discriminatory actions were enshrined in the special decree of the Ukrainian government No.875 / 2014 “On Urgent Measures Regarding Stabilization of the Social and Economic Situation in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions”. As the decree was introduced, all state institutions and self-government bodies were withdrawn from the territory of Donbass, banking system ceased to function, civilians lost all possible ways to receive social payments, the elderly could not receive their pensions.
On June 8, 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted Resolution No. 365 on making social payments to internally displaced persons. The resolution provided that the structural social protection bodies should carry out checks of the place of residence of IDPs and draw up acts of inspection of living conditions of IDPs’ families. This document completely violated the principle of equality of citizens in respect of the right to social security, because the right to receive payments earned during the whole life began to depend on the place of registration and residence.
The European Community, of which Ukraine aspires to become a full-fledged participant, also condemns the social policy of the state towards Donbass residents. Thus, on October 12, 2016, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution No. 2133, paragraph 16.3 of which obliges the Ukrainian authorities “to simplify, to the extent possible, the daily lives of residents of uncontrolled territories and persons displaced from these areas by simplifying administrative procedures to receive pension and social payments”.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in its quarterly reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine constantly pays attention to social payments to Donbass residents. As early as 2016, in its 16 Report OHCHR stated that ” The suspension of social and pension payments to IDPs until verification of their residential address takes place is an ongoing concern. This continues to have a negative impact on IDPs’ access to social entitlements.”
Paragraph 117 of the Report says: “OHCHR reiterates that the current system, which links the right to pension with IDP registration, has led to a significant reduction in the number of people from territory controlled by Republics receiving pensions”.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic the human, his/her rights, and freedoms represent the ultimate value. Article 32 of the DPR Constitution states that everyone is guaranteed social security by age, in case of illness, disability, loss of a breadwinner, for the upbringing of children and in other cases established by law.
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 any form of discrimination regarding the exercise of their rights and freedoms.
“All actions of Kiev are a direct violation of human rights. If the Republic’s leadership had not begun paying allowances and pensions to residents, people would have been left without livelihoods and perished,” said Morozova at the hearing of the Ukrainian People’s Tribunal.
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 2164 appeals. In the period of work between 21 and 27 April 2018, 23 persons visited the Ombudsman in person, 54 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 32 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 12 persons received legal counselling. 8 written appeals were approved for consideration, 13 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 32 calls were received via hotlines, 13 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 124 appeals, violations in civil law– 182 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 0 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 1033 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 294 appeals, other issues – 531 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 23.03.2018
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 – 247 appeals, temporary accommodation – 337 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 81 appeals, migration legislation issues – 165 appeals, labour legislation issues – 73 appeals, healthcare issues – 62 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 26 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 8 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 18 appeals, land use and tenure – 1 appeal, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 15 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 27.04.2018
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 27.04.2018
- 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 April 20, as a result of shelling in Dokuchaevsk by Ukrainian servicemen, a civilian man born in 1956 sustained mine-blast trauma, multiple shrapnel wounds of the neck and anterior thoracic wall.
On April 22, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1997 sustained shrapnel wound of the right shoulder and forearm.
On April 23, as a result of shelling in Bezymennoye village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1977 sustained tangential gunshot wound to the left temporal region.
On April 24, as a result of hostilities in Sakhanka village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1985 sustained penetrating bullet wound of the abdominal.
As a result of shelling in Yasinovataya region, a DPR serviceman born in 1996 sustained gunshot bullet non-penetrating wound of the chest.
On April 25, a civilian man born in 1977 sustained mine-blast trauma, multiple shrapnel wounds as he was doing some agricultural work. The man was driving a tractor when it ran over a landmine.
Within the period between 20 and 26 April 2018, 6 persons sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side. Among them, there are 4 DPR servicemen and 2 civilian men.
Within the period between January 1 and April 26, 2018, 94 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 65 DPR servicemen, 20 civilian men, and 9 civilian women.
Within the period between 20 and 26 April 2018 – 5 persons died in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there are 2 DPR servicemen, 1 civilian man, who died as a result of shelling in Nikitskiy district of Gorlovka, and 1 civilian man and 1 civilian woman, who died as a result of shelling in Dokuchaevsk by Ukrainian forces.
Within the period between January 1 and April 26, 2018, 45 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 40 DPR servicemen, 4 civilian men, and 1 civilian woman.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4612 persons died. Among them, there are 607 women and 4005 men, including 76 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
The sixth paragraph of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements calls on the parties to the conflict to ensure the release and exchange of all prisoners of war and illegally detained persons under the “all for all” formula.
Unfortunately, however, the Ukrainian side is not interested in the speedy exchange and returning people from either side of the contact line to their families.
“No written position was introduced with regard to our exchange proposal – “all confirmed for all confirmed”. The Ukrainian side claimed that the parties had to work on the exchange lists. It can last forever. Because every day the Ukrainian side detains more and more people, and they will do so until paragraphs 5 and 6 of the Minsk Memorandum will be observed. But our opponents ignore this fact, which is why I can only assume they do not need any exchange,” said DPR Ombudsman
“The Ukrainian side had repeatedly requested for a delay to clear people of charges and provide documents to them. As a result, we can clearly see they had bluffed,” said Daria Morozova.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 27.04.2018, 288 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 80 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 208 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified 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 27 April 2018, 452 persons are considered missing. There is a possibility that they are held in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
At the time of the armed conflict, civilian population living in the zone of fighting and near the contact line is often affected. With the view to protect human right to life and security of the person, and to provide assistance to victims as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) have been opened in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Any person can receive temporary accommodation there if they need it.
1227 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation centres of the Office, including 229 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5374 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 131 of them – in 2018. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staff 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 21 and 27 April 2018, 26 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. One of them received a referral for temporary accommodation of the Ombudsman Office. There are currently 1192 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1192 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 283 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7565 persons, including 1893 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 63 temporary accommodation centres have been established within the territory of DPR. 55 of these TACs operate, 8 of them are held in reserve. The Ombudsman Office is in charge of 11 TACs.
Currently, 1480 individuals live in the centres, including 280 underage children, 4858 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1384 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
According to their data, 20.1 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 27.04.2018. As of April 27, 2018, there were 20.0 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 14.2 thousand have been employed (6.9 of them – on permanent positions, 7.3 – 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. 73 persons participated in such seminars.