On 19 September, the 23rd Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the human rights situation in Ukraine, based on the results of work of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMU), was published. The report covers the period from May 16 to August 15, 2018. The document notes that the Ukrainian authorities fail to effectively investigate violations of human rights to life, liberty and personal integrity committed by members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces or security services and “could itself give rise to a separate breach of article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is one of the most important international documents containing fundamental standards for each state and the international community in the field of human rights. Thus, in accordance with paragraph 1 Article 2, each State party “undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights obliges states to create a system of effective administration of justice. Such a system should include independent and impartial legal proceedings, fair detention and trial procedures, as well as the presumption of innocence of persons charged with a crime until proven guilty. In addition, States must respect the human rights of all individuals, including those convicted and found guilty.
In the OHCHR Report, cases of torture and arbitrary arrests conducted by official state structures of Ukraine are documented. Thus, in June 2018, “a resident of Khartsyzsk was detained in the Bakhmut and Kramatorsk police departments without being officially arrested or charged and without access to a lawyer. During this time, people in military uniforms reportedly punched him, beat him with objects and threatened him with a knife, demanding that he “writes the truth”. He was interrogated and pressured to agree to a plea bargain and was charged with participation in an armed group.” This is one example of the unlawful impact and gross violation of human rights by Ukrainian security forces described in the Report.
The Office for the Protection of Human Rights continued to document cases of violation of the right to a fair trial. In cases related to the conflict in Ukraine, the justice system is too often based on a plea of guilty, which may indicate pressure on those under investigation. Out of 72 verdicts issued by Ukrainian courts on cases related to the armed conflict in the territory of Donbass, forty-four were based on plea bargain agreements, and in 18 of these cases, no evidence has been entered into the case file. The Report states that Ukrainian courts use in absentia prosecutions. OHCHR notes that in absentia prosecutions, which was introduced in the Code of Criminal Procedure in 2014, do not comply with international human rights standards.
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 4364 complaints. In the period of work between 22 and 28 September 2018, 7 citizens attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 64 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 7 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 7 persons received legal counselling. 4 written appeals were approved for consideration, 4 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 28 calls were received via hotlines, 6 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 308 appeals, violations in civil law– 352 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 5 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 2147 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 528 appeals, other issues – 1024 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 28.09.2018
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 – 547 appeals, temporary accommodation – 554 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 231 appeals, migration legislation issues – 362 appeals, labour legislation issues – 183 appeals, healthcare issues – 121 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 53 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 23 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 27 appeals, land use and tenure – 13 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 33 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 28.09.2018
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 28.09.2018
- 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, to inviolability of the home.
On 22 September, during the shelling by Ukrainian forces against Sakhanka village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1986 sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound to the parietal region with damage to outer table of skull, penetrating shrapnel wound to left side of the chest.
On 23 September, as a result of provocative shelling by Ukrainian forces in Sakhanka, Novoazovsk region, a civilian man born in 1962 sustained mine-blast trauma, penetrating wound to the left side of the chest, multiple shrapnel wounds to his arms; a civilian woman born in 1972 sustained multiple shrapnel wounds to left shin and right shoulder.
On 24 September, in the yard of a residential building in Krasniy Octyabr village, Telmanovo region, as a result of a detonation of an unknown explosive object, a civilian man born in 1963 sustained mine-blast trauma, traumatic amputation to left foot, deep bruises to the right thigh.
On 26 September, as a result of shelling in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region, by Ukrainian armed forces, a civilian woman born in 1958 sustained blunt shrapnel wound to the neck and upper-third of left shin; a civilian man born in 1957 sustained shrapnel blunt wound to the right side of the abdominal wall.
On 27 September, as a result of military operations in Bezymennoye village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1996 sustained mine-blast trauma, multiple shrapnel wound to the chest, anterior abdominal wall, shrapnel wound to upper-third of the right thigh and right shin.
As a result of military operations in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1970 sustained perforating wound to the abdominal.
As a result of a targeted shelling against a medical vehicle on its way to evacuate a wounded serviceman, two DPR servicemen died, and one serviceman was wounded.
As a result of provocative fire by the Ukrainian side in Yasinovataya, a civilian man born in 1968 sustained shrapnel non-penetrating wound to the shoulder, to chest and anterior abdominal wall.
Within the period between 21 and 27 September 2018, 10 persons (4 DPR servicemen, 4 civilian men and 2 civilian women) sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side.
Within the period between 1 January and 27 September 2018, 258 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between 21 and 27 September 2018, 4 DPR servicemen were killed in the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 27 September 2018, 126 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 9 women and 117 men, including 2 underage children.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4693 persons died. Among them, there are 614 women and 4079 men, including 78 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
Based on the updated figures as of 28.09.2018, 283 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 82 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 201 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
As of 28 September 2018, 445 persons are considered missing. There is a possibility that they are held in Ukrainian captivity.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons.
- Register of displaced persons and affected citizens.
At the time of the 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 22 and 28 September 2018, 7 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1252 accommodation places available for IDPs in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Since the beginning of the conflict, 7410 persons, including 1809 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. 51 of them operate, 24 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2585 individuals live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 492 underage children, 4825 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1317 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
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 28 September 2018:
- there were 38.9 thousand vacant positions registered in the Centre by employers;
- there were 35.6 thousand job-seekers registered at the Employment Centre. Among them: 27.1 thousand have been employed (17.8 of them – on permanent positions, 9.3 – temporarily).
- 308 job-seekers have undergone professional training facilitated by employment centres: 55 persons undergone training and 253 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.