On June 28, 1996 the Verkhovna Rada adopted the Constitution of Ukraine. As the highest legislative act it defined the basic principles of the organization of the state’s supreme bodies and local self-government organs, their mutual relations and competence, as well as the rights, freedoms and duties of the individual and citizen. The document contained 15 sections and 161 articles. Ukraine was proclaimed a presidential-parliamentary republic. The Cabinet of Ministers, according to the first Constitution, was appointed by the President at the suggestion of the Prime Minister. The Head of Government was also appointed by the President with the consent of the Parliament.
Unfortunately, the Constitution of Ukraine was not adopted at the all-Ukrainian referendum. It can hardly be said that this document fully reflected the interests of citizens residing on the territory of Ukraine. Each Ukrainian President made his own changes to the Constitution, thus making the main law of the state suitable for him. At the same time, all the changes did not meet the demands of society, and sometimes even contradicted them; there was no united, non-alternative interpretation of all norms.
Leonid Kuchma was first to initiate amendment of the Constitution in 2000 through a nationwide referendum. The introduction of a bicameral parliament, the president’s right to dissolve the parliament, reducing the number of deputies from 450 to 300, and lift immunity of the deputies were put to a vote. But none of the proposals got enough votes. And after that, the referendum was never used as the only mechanism confirming the direct popular will for the constitutional amendments.
In 2004, during the first “Maidan”, Leonid Kuchma decided to re-vote providing that the Constitutional reform was adopted. As a result, the form of government was changed in Ukraine from a presidential-parliamentary to a parliamentary-presidential one. Also, the reform extended the term of office of the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada from 4 to 5 years. However, the full-fledged constitutional reform did not happen in the country.
In 2010, deputies in the parliament made a request to the Constitutional Court to review the Constitutional reforms of 2004. Then the court abolished the Constitution-2004, and the Constitution-1996 came into force again. So Ukraine returned the status of the presidential-parliamentary republic.
Following a coup d’état in 2014, new illegitimate Government decided to reverse the decision of the Constitutional Court, despite the fact that this was a complete usurpation and a direct violation of the Constitution. On February 21, the Verkhovna Rada amended the Constitution; and provisions-2007 were “returned”.
In 2015, the new “guarantor of the Constitution” Petro Poroshenko promised to impose decentralization, which would provide for the introduction of amendments to the Constitution. However, he assured that the Constitution will not be rewritten for the sake of changing the form of government. According to him, changes in the Constitution will “have a spot character”, and the parliamentary-presidential form of government will remain.
Article 68 of the Constitution of Ukraine states that everyone must strictly observe the Constitution of Ukraine and the laws of Ukraine, but the armed aggression against Donbass residents that continues for three years shows the opposite.
With a view to resolving the armed conflict, the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was signed. Its 11th paragraph prescribes the introduction of the constitutional reform in Ukraine with the entry into force of a new constitution, which provides, as a key element, decentralization (taking into account the specificities of certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts agreed with the representatives of these regions), as well as the adoption of permanent law on the special status of certain regions of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts.
The Minsk Agreements provide for the introduction of a law that would regulate and protect the rights of the Russian-speaking population of Donbass, but the Ukrainian authorities are still manipulating words, siding from the fulfillment of agreements. So the Constitution of Ukraine undergoes amendments more and more often, projects are being submitted for the protection of the rights of the Crimean-Tatar population, and the rights of Donbass citizens remain unaddressed. And the residents themselves are constantly under the fire of Ukrainian artillery.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic Human rights are patronized by the Human rights Ombudsman. Citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in any suitable way. Now, the majority of applications is 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 3033 appeals. In the period of work between 24 and 30 June 2017, 45 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 40 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 63 calls were made via hotlines. 24 applications were received via e-mail, 9 written appeals were taken into consideration, 18 – have been considered among those received earlier, 32 citizens were provided with legal counseling.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 176 appeals, violations in civil law– 314 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 2 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 2541 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 30.06.2017
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 – 364 appeals, temporary accommodation – 327 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 59 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 139 appeals, employment – 212 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 8 appeals, search of the missing – 101 appeals, loss of IDs – 255 appeals, housing issues – 151 appeals, temporary residence permit – 159 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 857 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 30.06.2017
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 30.06.2017
- 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 22 June 2017 more than 11375 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6825 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 526 units in Gorlovka, 91 units in Dokuchayevsk, 309 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 75 units in Kirovskoye, 1111 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 750 units in Khartsysk, 75 units in Shakhtyorsk, 577 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:
– 6236 houses;
– 769 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 175 heating supply facilities;
– 46 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 14 wastewater and sewerage facilities;
– 102 healthcare facilities;
– 512 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 59 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 54 cultural institutions;
– 240 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 59 industrial objects;
– 89 trade objects;
– 263 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 6 June 2017 there are 2813 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 530 – rebuilt and 2283 – 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 rights of Donbass citizens by Kiev authorities: right to life, to security of the person, to the inviolability of the home.
On 23 June as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces against Dokuchaevsk a civilian woman born in 1963 sustained a gunshot wound to the upper third of the thigh of the right leg.
As a result of armed provocation by Ukrainian forces in Kominternovo village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1978 sustained a blunt shrapnel wound of the pelvic on the right side.
On 25 June as a result of shelling near Avdeyevka industrial zone a civilian man of 30 years old sustained shrapnel wound of the upper lip penetrating into mouth with foreign body (bullet) in soft tissue .
On 26 June as a result of hostilities near Vasilievka village, Yasinovataya region, a DPR serviceman born in 1993 sustained a gunshot through and through wound to the left wrist.
On 27 June as a result of hostilities near Yasinovataya, DPR servicemen born in 1977, 1976 and 1985 sustained mine-blast traumas. A 32-year-old serviceman sustained a bruise to the left side of the chest and cerebral contusion.
On 28 June as a result of armed provocation by Ukrainian forces a DPR serviceman of 28 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, shrapnel wound of the right shin.
As a result of hostilities near Shyrokino, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1987 sustained mine-blast trauma, fracture of the right side of jaw, fracture of the auditory arch.
As a result of hostilities near Yasinovataya seven DPR servicemen sustained mine-blast traumas, a DPR serviceman of 31 years old sustained shrapnel wound, another serviceman, of 1985 years old, sustained open fracture of the left elbow bone.
On 29 June as a result of armed provocation by Ukrainian forces near Yasinovataya, a DPR serviceman of 37 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, penetrating wound of the right pleural cavity.
Within the period between 23 and 29 June 2017, 20 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine. Among them, there were 18 DPR servicemen, 1 civilian woman and 1 civilian man.
Within the period between 1 January and 29 June 2017 385 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 227 DPR servicemen and 158 civilians, including 9 children under 18.
Within the period between 23 and 29 June 2017, 2 persons died. Among them there were 1 DPR servicemen, 1 civilian man. A civilian man born in 1960 died on June 20, 2017 as a result of shelling against Staromikhailovka urban-type settlement, Kirovskiy district, Donetsk.
Within the period between 1 January and 29 June 2017, 172 persons, including 151 servicemen and 21 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic, including one child under 18.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4461 persons died. Among them, there were 604 women and 3857 men, including 75 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 and missing soldiers and civilians
The Ukrainian side continues to take hostage supporters of the Republic. So on June 24 in the vicinity of the Bakhmutskaya highway Ukrainian security forces captured the LPR servicemen and applied unlawful actions, namely torture and abuse against the defenders of our Motherland. Two servicemen were brutally killed and another four servicemen were taken hostage.
The forensic medical examination of the bodies of the deceased servicemen of the Lugansk People’s Republic attested that the measures of physical force were used antemortem, during the capture. Consequently, it can be stated that people experienced pain and suffering while they were tortured and abused which has led to death.
“They were tortured and abused in order to get certain information that interests the Ukrainian side,” said Leonid Tkachenko, an Adviser to Minister of Justice of the LPR.
This week 4 appeals on capture were received by the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
All detentions happened in June 2017. So, a man born in 1951 was arrested in his own house in the Krasnoarmeysky district, a man born in 1947 went to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian Government and was detained by the SSU in Gnutovo village, another man was detained at the Novotroitskoye checkpoint.
This week, 8 applications on missing persons were received. 5 people went missing in August 2014 during the military operation near Uglegorsk, 2 people went missing in June 2014 during the military operations near Slavyansk, and another man disappeared in January 2015 during hostilities near Avdeyevka.
Based on the updated figures as of 30.06.2017, 684 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 419 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. As reported to the Ombudsman’s Office, 7 persons were excluded from the list. They received suspended sentences and were released;
– 248 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
It was found that three people were released earlier and they are at large, two people were killed.
Due to the lack of complete contacts that would allow us to ensure that a particular person is now on the territory of Ukraine, given that no one has been interested in the fate of these persons for more than two years, 50 people were transferred to the list of missing persons.
– 17 people, for whom the request was submitted to the Ukrainian side for the first time.
As of 30 June 2017, 508 persons are considered missing.
The Ombudsman`s Office continues to clarify information about the individuals, who were detained by the Ukrainian side, the statistics may change.
The DPR Ombudsman`s Office will no longer publicly categorize the detainees by “serviceman”, “arrested for political reasons”, “civilian irrelevant to the conflict” due to safety considerations.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
The war, unleashed by Ukraine in Donbass against its own people, hit hard the hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who were forced to leave their homes to save their lives. In a tense political situation, the problem of internally displaced persons remains one of the most urgent ones. Displaced persons are forced to seek temporary accommodation and livelihoods. Many families of internally displaced persons have underage children, and more than a third of families are incomplete or large families. There are also many people of retirement age and persons with disabilities. Families are extremely vulnerable because they cannot live the way they used to and raise children in very limited economic conditions, in the absence of a permanent place of residence and work.
It’s quite difficult to change the lifestyle. It takes time to adapt, as well as in any unfamiliar environment. The problems of adaptation in the new conditions primarily affect the children of IDPs. Alike adults who can realize the need for change and reconcile reality, children cannot bear the pressure of traumatic incidents and the pressure as a whole.
Psychologists of the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic provide psychological assistance for forcibly displaced persons. They organize activities aimed at the quick adaptation of people in a new environment, and also provide rehabilitation assistance.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, citizens who need temporary housing have the opportunity to apply to state institutions of the Republic to receive a referral for a Temporary Accommodation Centre (TACs). In the Republic, the Office of the Ombudsman deals directly with the issues of forced temporary immigrants. The Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office deals with the issues if temporary displaced persons.
Every resident of Donbass region, including those living in areas temporarily controlled by Kiev, can apply to the Office and receive assistance. The body has temporary accommodation centres (TACs) at its disposal available for people who need temporary accommodation.
1272 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 250 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5136 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 242 of them – in 2017. All the TACs are under the DPR Ombudsman’s inspection. The staffs of the Office monitor the TACs on the 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 24 and 30 June 2017, 25 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 5 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office in Donetsk, Makeyevka ad Khartsysk.
There are currently 1401 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1345 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 437 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 56 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7949 persons, including 2067 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 68 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, 57 of them operate today, 11 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2875 individuals live in the centres, including 571 underage children, 5074 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1496 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
The right to work is an inalienable right of every person, including physically challenged people. Availability of jobs for people with disabilities depends from many factors, but the most important is the state social policy. It is necessary to understand that the employment of physically challenged people is an interface for building a civilized and modern society, where everyone has equal rights.
There is a law “On social protection of physically challenged people” in the Donetsk People’s Republic, adopted by the Decision of the Council of Ministers of 15.05.2015. It defines the state policy in the field of social protection of people with disabilities. The law regulates and guarantees the rights of physically challenged persons, which are equal to civil, economic, political and other rights and freedoms of other citizens that are prescribed in the Constitution of the Donetsk People’s Republic, in line with generally recognized principles and norms of international law, international treaties and other regulatory legal acts of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
It should be noted that there has been a positive trend in the employment of disabled people in the Donetsk People’s Republic. This is due to the adoption of the Resolution of May 31, 2016 “On Approving the Quota Assigning Procedure for the Employment of Physically Challenged Persons in the Donetsk People’s Republic.” The Procedure assigns the quotas for employment of disabled people in the Republic and defines the procedure for assigning employment quota for physically challenged people in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
“221 physically challenged persons have been employed. This makes up 40% of those registered in employment centres. Only 23% of disabled people registered in the employment centres were employed during this time last year. There are more than 600 vacancies for this category of the population in the Republic,” said Tamara Kozenko, Director of the Republican Employment Centre of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The Republic Employment Center is the main state organ responsible for providing jobs to citizens. According to their data, 17,7 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 30.06.2017. As of 30 June 2017, there were 29,9 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 24,7 thousand have been employed (10,8 of them – on permanent positions, 13,9 – temporarily).
Donetsk Centre of Vocational Education of The Republic Employment Centre organizes 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, 219 persons participated in those workshops.