International humanitarian law is part of international law, which regulates relations between states in times of armed conflict in order to minimize the consequences of these conflicts. The purpose of international humanitarian law is to protect persons who have never been involved in hostilities or are not involved any longer, sick and wounded, prisoners and civilians, as well as the establishment of rights and obligations of the parties to the conflict in the conduct of hostilities. The basis of international humanitarian law is the Geneva Conventions.
The Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of 12 August 1949 guarantees that persons detained as a result of armed actions shall be treated humanely and cared for by the Parties to the conflict in whose power they may be, without any adverse distinction founded on race, color, religion or belief, sex, origin or property, or any other similar criteria.
The war, which was started in Donbass almost 3 years ago, spread beyond its borders. Supporters of the Donetsk People’s Republic are still kept in secret prisons throughout Ukraine, who are constantly subjected to abuse and torture. The staffs of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies continue to arbitrarily detain citizens on the Kiev-controlled areas.
In the 17th Report, based on the results of work of the United Nations Monitoring Mission during the period between November 16, 2016 and February 15, 2017, much attention was paid to the detained persons, the conditions of their detention, illegal methods of inquiry, which are used against the detainees. It is noteworthy that the authoritative international organization described torture and arbitrary arrests carried out by official state structures of Ukraine in the document.
The reporters describe in detail the illegal actions carried out by Ukrainian security forces against civilians. In July 2016 in Konstantinovka after the “official search”, the SSU officers put handcuffs on a man, blindfolded him and put him in a car. On the way, they were stopping at the roadside to beat the man with a wooden object in order to gain recognition in support of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Those representatives of Ukrainian security agencies filmed their actions on a mobile phone. Upon arrival at the SSU in Kramatorsk, the man was interrogated without the presence of a lawyer. In the evening of the same day he was taken to the hospital for medical examination, where the doctor testified that his health condition was satisfactory to keep him in custody.
This is one of the few examples of unlawful influence and gross violation of human rights by Ukrainian security forces described in the document.
The post of the Human Rights Ombudsman was established in the Donetsk People’s Republic with the view to ensuring state protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens, foreigners and stateless persons on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, to preventing any form of discrimination regarding the exercise of human rights and freedoms.
During armed conflict, the Ombudsman has the right to monitor the observance of human rights and international law towards civilians and prisoners of war.
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 1498 appeals. In the period of work between 25 and 31 March 2017, 11 persons have visited the Ombudsman in person, 63 of the claims were accepted by the Appeals department 53 calls were made via hotlines. 24 applications were received via e-mail, 4 written appeals were taken into consideration, 7 – have been considered among those received earlier, 25 citizens were provided with legal counseling.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 61 appeals, violations in civil law– 153 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 2 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 1282 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 24.03.2017
Violations in criminal law
Violations in civil law
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
Social and humanitarian issues
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 – 159 appeals, temporary accommodation – 231 appeals, the order of a complaint submission and paperwork in case of property destruction – 29 appeals, humanitarian assistance – 50 appeals, employment – 55 appeals, paperwork on travelling documents – 3 appeals, search of the missing – 55 appeals, loss of IDs – 152 appeals, housing issues – 97 appeals, temporary residence permit – 68 appeals, other social and humanitarian issues – 383 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 24.03.2017
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 24.03.2017
- 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 30 March 2017 more than 11288 infrastructure objects were partly destroyed (damaged) as a result of hostilities.
More than 6780 objects have been destroyed in Donetsk, 268 units in Debaltsevo, 523 units in Gorlovka, 81 units in Dokuchayevsk, 292 units in Yenakievo, 91 units in Zhdanovka, 72 units in Kirovskoye, 1109 units in Makeyevka, 54 units in Snyezhnoye, 118 units in Torez, 749 units in Khartsysk, 74 units in Shakhtyorsk, 577 units in Yasynovataya, 278 units in Amvrosyevka region, 3 units in Volnovakha region, 24 units in Maryinka region, 17 units in Novoazovsk region, 52 units in Starobeshevo region, 93 units in Telmanovo region, 33 units in Shakhtyorsk region.
Destroyed objects by branches:
– 6182 houses;
– 760 power lines and points of distribution of electricity;
– 175 heating supply facilities;
– 46 water supply facilities;
– 2669 gas supply facilities;
– 11 wastewater disposal and sewerage facilities;
– 101 healthcare facilities;
– 499 general educational institutions (schools, kindergartens);
– 55 vocational and technical educational institutions;
– 62 higher educational institutions;
– 26 physical and sport education institutions;
– 53 cultural institutions;
– 240 road and transport infrastructure objects;
– 59 industrial objects;
-89 trade objects;
– 258 objects in other spheres.
According to the official data as of 9 March 2017 there are 2779 objects of governmental and communal ownership damaged, 512 – rebuilt and 2267 – 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 24 March in Petrovskiy region of Donetsk a DPR serviceman of 30 years old sustained a mine-blast trauma, which resulted in traumatic amputation of the lower third of the left shin.
As a result of hostilities in Avdeyevka industrial zone a DPR serviceman born in 1996 sustained mine-blast trauma, blunt shrapnel wound of the right cheek, penetrating into the mouth with foreign bodies.
On 24 March a civilian man born in 1956 sustained injuries and abrasions as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces in Gorlovka.
Three civilians became victims of their own carelessness in Mospino. Men of 23 and 36 years old and a woman of 27 years old sustained mine-blast traumas as a result of careless handling of explosive devices.
On 25 March as a result of hostilities in Staromikhailovka a DPR serviceman of 55 years old sustained a perforating gunshot wound to the right surface of the neck and chest.
On 26 March as a result of hostilities in Trudovskiye region of Donetsk, a of 35 years old sustained a gunshot wound of the head.
As a result of hostilities in Kominternovo village in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman of 35 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, a shrapnel wound of the temple and lower jaw, a shrapnel wound of the right thigh middle third.
As a result of hostilities in Leninskoye village of Novoazovsk region, the DPR servicemen born in 1980 and 1981 sustained mine-blast traumas and shrapnel wounds.
During military operation on 27 March a DPR serviceman of 28 years old was taken to Novoazovsk hospital from Bezymennoye village. He sustained a mine-blast trauma, gunshot wound of the left lung. A DPR serviceman born in 1968 sustained a blunt shrapnel wound of the lower third of the left shoulder, Bezymennoye.
On 29 March as a result of hostilities in Kominternovo village two DPR servicemen of 42 and 26 years old sustained mine-blast traumas, shrapnel wounds. A DPR serviceman born in 1989, who sustained a perforating gunshot wound to the head, died in hospital.
In Petrovskiy region of Donetsk as a result of shelling by Ukrainian forces a civilian woman born in 1928 sustained multiple shrapnel wounds to the head, cerebral contusion, blunt injury of the eye.
On 30 March as a result of shelling of Debaltsevo surroundings, a DPR serviceman of 35 years old sustained mine-blast trauma, a shrapnel wound of the left lumbar region. Another serviceman sustained shrapnel wound to the chest.
As a result of provocative fire by Ukrainian forces in Kominternovo, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1976 sustained a mine-blast trauma, gunshot shrapnel wound with damage to facial nerve.
During the shelling against Pertovskiy region of Donetsk a civilian man born in 1996 sustained bruised wounds of the hand.
Within the period of 24-30 March 2017, 20 persons, including 2 civilian women, 4 civilian men and 14 DPR servicemen sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR as a result of constant shelling from Ukraine.
Within the period between 1 January and 30 March 2017 174 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 95 DPR servicemen and 79 civilians, including 4 children under 18.
Within the period of 24 and 30 March 2017, 6 persons died in the territory of DPR. 3 of them were DPR servicemen, 1 civilian woman, who died on 28 March in Kievskiy region of Donetsk, and 2 civilian man, who died as a result of shelling in Yasinovataya on 30 March.
Within the period between 1 January and 30 March 2017, 95 persons, including 86 servicemen and 9 civilians died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4384 persons died. Among them, there were 596 women and 3788 men, including 74 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
At the last meeting of the humanitarian subgroup in Minsk format, the issue of the procedure for the release of prisoners of war was raised again. Daria Morozova, plenipotentiary from the Republic, stressed that the previously submitted UN mechanism for the release of persons included in the exchange list and who do not wish to cross the delimitation line requires further drafting.
“Some paragraphs of the mechanism, introduced by the UN, need to be clarified. Paragraph 3 prescribes taking interviews from all persons deprived of liberty. We believe that it is necessary to verify only those persons who refuse to be exchanged and to cross the delimitation line, instead of verifying all prisoners of war. It should also be taken into account that there are about 300 persons, who are technically free but they still cannot cross the delimitation line. The fifth paragraph is a step-by-step approach. It is necessary to specify time frames” – said Daria Morozova.
This week, no appeals on the cases of detention of citizens have been received by the DPR Ombudsman’s Office.
During the week, no appeals on the missing have been received.
Based on the updated figures as of 31.03.2017, 774 persons are kept by the Ukrainian side including:
– 479 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 287 persons, whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side.
In the course of work, 15 persons were excluded from the list. It was found out that 2 persons were killed, 4 released through exchanges carried out at the beginning of the conflict, whereabouts of 2 persons have been established, 4 received suspended sentences and are no longer being detained, information about three more citizens was reported by several sources, so there was a duplication of data.
– 8 persons, for whom the request to the Ukrainian side was submitted for the first time on the basis of information received by the Ombudsman’s Office within two weeks.
As of 31 March 2017, 450 persons are considered missing. In the course of work, 31 persons were excluded from the list. As it was found out, 14 persons are dead, 1 was released through the exchange, whereabouts of 12 persons have been established, information on 4 has been specified: it was established that there is no need to search those people due to the duplication of data.
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.
One of the main responsibilities of the Ombudsman’s Office is to assist forcibly detained persons. 15 Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) were established in the DPR by the efforts of the Office to provide victims with due living conditions and make their adaptation period shorter. 12 of them function today. Among them: 6 are in Donetsk, 3 are in Makeyevka, 2 are in Khartsysk, 1 is in Zugres. Citizens are given referrals to move to the TAC; any feasible assistance, including psychological, is provided for them.
There are many former prisoners of war among forcibly displaced persons to whom the Office of the Ombudsman provides temporary accommodation. This category not only includes the defenders of the Donetsk People’s Republic, released from the Ukrainian captivity, but also civil residents of Ukraine who refused to go along with the new political line of the Ukrainian government and was accused of the so-called “separatism”.
Political persecution, constant threats and illegal actions against citizens of Ukraine, loyal to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, often end in arrest. In prisons, people were subjected to torture and abuse, which international organizations repeatedly confirmed in their reports. After the release, these people could no longer remain on the territory of Ukraine. Many people who moved to the Donetsk People’s Republic after the exchange have problems with documents and housing, here they have no relatives and friends, who could give home and provide necessary support.
The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics undertook to ensure normal life for former prisoners of war.
A man who spent months in the Ukrainian captivity needs psychological help. It is impossible to forget the horrors of imprisonment, although social adaptation and psychological safety valve are necessary to live a normal life. A group of volunteer psychologists, who work under the patronage of the Ombudsman’s Office, provides psychological assistance for everyone who needs it.
1351 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 274 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5073 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 179 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 25 and 31 March 2017, 30 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons, 10 of them were accommodated in the TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office: 3 – in Donetsk, 6 – in Khartsysk, 1 – in Shakhtyorsk.
There are currently 1248 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1183 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 323 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office; 65 – in housing fund of the DPR.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7978 persons, including 2107 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, 2971 individuals live in the units, including 603 underage children, 5007 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1504 children under eighteen.
- Employment of DPR citizens
During military conflict, it is especially difficult to find a job that would suit the skills and abilities of a person, as well as meet his/her material needs. After all, many had to start a new life – to change the place of residence, to adapt psychologically to severe wartime life. Many had to change the type of activity completely and to acquire new professional skills Due to the closure of some enterprises in 2014.
Now, the employment situation in the Republic is being improved: industrial enterprises are resuming work, new jobs are being created. In other words, the process of restoring the industrial potential of the region is under way. The products produced in the Donetsk People’s Republic are planned to be exported, which means that the enterprises will operate at full capacity, providing jobs for residents of the Republic.
Citizens who seek for permanent or temporary work can address to the Republic Employment Center, which bears responsibility to organize employment in the Donetsk People’s Republic. The staffs of the Centre provide an up-to-date list of available vacancies and, if necessary, send them to retraining courses.
According to their data, 9,5 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 31.03.2017. As of 31 March 2017, there were 19,5 thousand individuals who seek for job, registered in the Republic Employment Centers. Among them: 14,8 thousand have been employed (4,8 of them – on permanent positions, 10 – 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, 96 persons participated in those workshops