“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been
inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its
highest citizens, but its lowest ones”
The procedure for keeping convicts and prisoners of war in penitentiary institutions is regulated by international law. Thus, in 1955, at the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules) were adopted and universally recognized. The document comprises one hundred and twenty-two rules that are considered correct from practical perspectives and as a matter of general principle as regards treatment of prisoners and the administration of prisons. According to Rule 1, all prisoners must be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to, and all prisoners shall be protected from, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, for which no circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification. The following Rule specifies that the rules should be applied impartially. Therefore, there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or any other status.
Article 17, Section 1 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War states that “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”
Unfortunately, the reality is that respectful treatment to prisoners is not observed in the territory of Ukraine, which has been repeatedly confirmed by people released from Ukrainian captivity. In violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War and other International documents staff of special services of Ukraine have repeatedly used illegal methods of interrogation against detainees.
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.
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 2017 the Ombudsman received 6198 appeals. In the period of work between December 23 and 29, 2017, 4 persons visited the Ombudsman in person, 41 claims were accepted by the Appeals department 32 calls were made via hotlines. 5 applications were received via e-mail, 6 written appeals were taken into consideration, 8 – have been reviewed among those received earlier, 11 persons have been given legal assistance.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 392 appeals, violations in civil law– 816 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 43 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 4947 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 29.12.2017
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 – 701 appeals, temporary accommodation – 539 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 127 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 191 appeals, employment – 180 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents –16 appeals, search of the missing – 208 appeals, loss of IDs – 357 appeals, housing issues – 325 appeals, temporary residence permit – 231 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 2072 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 29.12.2017
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 29.12.2017
- 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 September 28, 2017 more than 11413 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6845 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 528 units in Gorlovka, 91 units in Dokuchayevsk, 312 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 75 units in Kirovskoye, 1113 units in Makeyevka, 56 units in Snyezhnoye, 122 units in Torez, 750 units in Khartsysk, 75 units in Shakhtyorsk, 582 units in Yasinovataya, 278 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 57 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6247 houses;
– 770 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 176 heating supply facilities;
– 52 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 14 wastewater and sewerage facilities;
– 102 healthcare facilities;
– 519 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 59 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 55 cultural institutions;
– 241 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 63 industrial objects;
– 89 trade objects;
– 269 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of December 14, 2017 there are 2842 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 666 – rebuilt and 2176 – 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 Donbass citizens’ rights by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to inviolability of the home.
On December 22, a DPR serviceman of 49 years old sustained a concussion as a result of military operations near Spartak village.
On December 24 a DPR serviceman born in 1994 sustained gunshot wound to the chest as a result of shelling Near Yasinovataya.
On December 26 as a result of military operations in Sakhanka village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1979 sustained penetrating bullet wound to the abdomen with damage to the left kidney.
On December 27 two DPR servicemen of 22 and 50 years old were wounded as a result of military operations near Debaltsevo.
Within the period between 22 and 28 December, 2017, 5 DPR servicemen sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression of the Ukrainian side.
Within the period between January 1 and November 28, 2017, 595 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 361 DPR servicemen and 234 civilians, including 14 children under 18.
Within the period between 22 and 28 December, 2017, 4 DPR servicemen died in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between January 1 and December 28, 2017, 278 persons, including 247 servicemen and 31 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including two underage children.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4567 persons died. Among them, there are 605 women and 3962 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. 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, missing soldiers
There is a special emphasis on the provision of medical services for captives in international legislation. According to the UN Standard Minimum Rules, namely Rule 24, it is established that “The provision of health care for prisoners is a State responsibility. Prisoners should enjoy the same standards of health care that are available in the community, and should have access to necessary health-care services free of charge without discrimination on the grounds of their legal status.”
But, the words “legal”, “humane”, “human rights” do not exist in Ukrainian secret prisons. Being held in inhuman conditions, illegally detained persons are tortured, deprived of basic medical care and have no communication with the outside world.
This week no appeals on arrest or missing persons were received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Based on the updated figures as of 29.12.2017, 290 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 79 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 211 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
As of 29 December 2017, 444 persons are considered missing. Hypothetically, they might be in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) have been opened in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Any person can receive temporary accommodation there if they need it. 1148 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 219 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5243 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 349 of them – in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs 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 22 and 28 December, 2017, 6 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, one of them was accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office in Donetsk.
There are currently 1395 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1395 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 438 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7851 persons, including 2012 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 63 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 55 of them operate today, 8 of them are held in reserve.
Currently, 2724 individuals live in the centres, including 520 underage children, 5127 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1492 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, 41.8 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 29.12.2017. As of December 29, 2017, there were 51.6 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 43.0 thousand have been employed (25.5 of them – on permanent positions, 18 – 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. Since the beginning of 2017, 398 persons participated in those workshops.