The decisions and actions of Ukrainian authorities lead to the escalation of violence in the territory of Donbass. On 26 June, while discussing the use of armed forces of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky declared that it would be appropriate to give more power of initiative and decision-making to commanders.
This decision was allegedly made in order to preserve the life and health of the personnel. “The President of Ukraine, however, might have forgotten that the main priority of the state shall be to minimize the risks and threats to life of civilians under international humanitarian law,” – said DPR Human Rights Ombudsman Daria Morozova in her comment.
She added that this decision of Vladimir Zelensky would deteriorate the human rights situation, as well as perpetuate the practice of gross violations of international humanitarian law, including in the use of prohibited methods of warfare by the armed forces of Ukraine.
There is a dangerous trend of frequent attacks on housing and civilian infrastructure, a sharp increase in the number of damage and injuries resulting from an increase in the intensity of shelling by the Ukrainian side. In the conditions of chaos and arbitrariness of the military on the ground, weakening the chain of command, the situation on the line of contact could turn back to that of 2014-2015, when isolated and uncontrolled Ukrainian voluntary battalions terrorized the civilian population of Donbass and committed war crimes, hiding behind ideological and strategic necessity. It should be noted that in most cases these crimes were not properly investigated by the Ukrainian law enforcement agencies, and the perpetrators were not brought to account, as international human rights organizations have repeatedly indicated in their reports.
The decision of the Ukrainian authorities to develop a regulatory framework for the protection of civilians and objects in hostilities, which was mentioned in a positive way in the quarterly report on the human rights situation in Ukraine by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner, is inconsistent with the increasingly frequent attacks by Ukrainian armed forces against residential areas and civil infrastructure of the Donetsk People’s Republic, and also show that this decision will not be implemented.
The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic calls upon the world community to pay more attention to the decisions and actions of the Ukrainian authorities, which create additional prerequisites and threats for further escalation of the conflict, as well as to give a legal assessment of gross violations of international humanitarian law by the armed forces of Ukraine. It is necessary to make maximum efforts and use all opportunities to influence the Ukrainian side in order to prevent a new round of violence and deterioration of the social and humanitarian situation in the region, as well as 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 26 June, a staff of the DPR Ombudsman Office conducted an on-site reception of citizens in the administration of Khartsysk. Seven 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, issuing a passport of a DPR citizen, the lawfulness of dismissal, validation of seniority calculation privilege and recalculation of pension.
A representative of Ombudsman Office gave advice on the above-mentioned issues and provided a detailed clarification of the norms of the current legislation. Also, two requests from citizens have been accepted for further consideration by the DPR Ombudsman within her competence.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Ombudsman received 3300 complaints. In the period of work between 22 and 28 June 2019, 24 attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 52 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 3 written appeals have been received; 7 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 16 persons received legal counselling, and 7 persons were assisted through on-site reception. 33 written appeals were approved for consideration, 18 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 57 calls were received via hotlines, 9 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 279 appeals, violations in civil law – 357 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 43 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 117 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 200 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 139 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 1274 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 621 appeals, other issues – 270 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 28.06.2019
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 – 422 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 45 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 231 appeals, migration legislation issues – 354 appeals, labour legislation issues – 105 appeals, healthcare issues – 106 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 11 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 28.06.2019
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 28.06.2019
- 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 21 June, as a result of shelling in Veseloe village, Yasinovataia region, by Ukrainian armed formations, a civilian man born in 1956 sustained a mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of abdominal wall.
As a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1966 sustained gunshot bullet wound.
On 22 June, as a result of shelling in Gorlovka, a girl born in 2005 sustained a gunshot injury to the shin with impaled object.
On 23 June, as a result of shelling in Gorlovka, a DPR serviceman born in 1998 sustained shrapnel wound.
On 24 June, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1984 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to the chest and right shoulder.
On 25 June, as a result of shelling in Yasinovataia region, 5 servicemen born in 1974, 1984, 1994, 1984 and 1998 sustained injuries of varying severities.
As a result of shelling in Petrovsky district of Donetsk, a civilian woman born in 1960sustained shrapnel wound.
On 27 June, as a result of shelling against Vasilievka, Yasinovataia region, by Ukrainian armed formations, a civilian man born in 1966 sustained injuries to soft tissue, two DPR defenders born in 1979 and 1983 sustained mine-blast traumas.
In the morning of 28 June, as a result of shelling in Trudovskie settlement outside Donetsk, one civilian man and one civilian woman were affected.
Within the period between 21 and 28 June 2019, 16 persons, including 10 DPR servicemen, 2 civilian women and 3 civilian men 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 28 June 2019, 114 persons, including 77 DPR servicemen, 13 civilian women and 21 civilian men and 3 children sustained injuries of various severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 21 and 28 June 2019, 6 DPR servicemen died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 28 June 2019, 96 persons, including 91 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 4825 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 28.06.2019, 251 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 94 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. It has been reported that 1 person has been released as he had served his sentence.
– 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 28 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 22 and 28 June 2019, 7 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, 7056 persons, including 1738 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, 2355 persons live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 442 underage children, 4701 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1296 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 26 June Representatives of the DPR Human Rights Ombudsman Office conducted a follow-up inspection of the educational process and living conditions in Khartsysk Child Welfare Centre.
Currently, 28 children aged from 3 to 18 in difficult life situations are staying in the facility around-the-clock. Children are provided with comprehensive social, psychological, educational, medical, legal and other types of assistance. Social and pedagogical correction are carried out based on individual needs of each child. Also, the specialists assist in reintegration to the family.
Representatives of the Human Rights Ombudsman noted that in summer children visit a water zone in Zugres, as well as museums and exhibitions, accompanied by staff of the Centre. Cultural events devoted to holidays or memorable days and leisure-time activities are organised.
As part of the visit, representatives of the Ombudsman Office met the leading staff of the institution. They discussed living conditions, medical treatment, education, cultural and disciplinary measures.
As a result of the inspection, education and living environment for children in the Khartsysk Child Welfare Centre received a positive assessment from the staff of DPR Ombudsman Office.