The fight against dissent that began in Ukraine immediately after the coup d’état of 2014 has become an official policy of the state. Politically motivated persecution, as well as that on national, linguistic and religious grounds, numerous violations of human rights and freedoms, have become common practice throughout the country. These problems are particularly relevant for Donbass residents, primarily due to the ongoing armed conflict, which was unleashed by those who usurped power in Kiev as a response to the unwillingness of the region to go in line with their policy.
On October 30, events dedicated to the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Political Repressions were held in the Russian Federation. The tragedy, which peaked in the first half of the twentieth century, affected the destiny of many USSR citizens. There is still no accurate information on the number of people killed and injured. Mass arrests and executions affected every single stratum of society, almost every family — peasants and workers, party and state employees, military personnel and clergy, intellectual and creative elite, representatives of national minorities and many others. These numerous victims cannot be justified by any state interests.
Despite the fact that now this territory is divided with borders of the post-Soviet countries, nothing can erase our shared historical memory of these tragic events that occurred in the Soviet Union. It is extremely important to prevent their reoccurrence now, when high geopolitical tensions throughout the world increasingly cause regional conflicts and fuel social unrest. During local conflicts, the most serious crimes are committed, such as genocide of the local population, gross violation of human rights and freedoms.
In October of this year, Ukrainian human rights organizations published the Report on Violent Crimes Committed in Eastern Ukraine in 2014-2018. The study was based on reports from international organizations, official responses from state authorities, interviews with Donbass residents, as well as information from open sources. At the same time, it is necessary to mention an extremely selective and biased approach in collection and processing of these materials. There are facts and data distortion, as mentioned by the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic Daria Morozova in her statement of October 31, 2018.
“The authors cite the number of illegal detention facilities without specifying the status of the territories. Even some mathematical calculation reveals inconsistencies. The authors of the Report failed to mention that international human rights organizations have long paid attention to the existence of secret prisons in Ukraine, as well as that UN representatives have repeatedly been denied access to places of detention. The use of torture has also become a common practice for Ukraine, which claims to be a democratic, open and law-based state. However, nothing was said about the illegal methods of influence from representatives of the Ukrainian power structures. Information was also unilaterally submitted on persons serving their sentences in the territory of the Republic. Also, information on persons serving their sentences in the territory of the Republic was presented in a biased manner. Contrary to publicly available information that the Ukrainian side refuses to move forward in the matter of transferring persons convicted before the conflict, the authors do not consider Kiev responsible for it,” said Daria Morozova.
On a positive note, the Ukrainian human rights defenders recognized and highlighted human rights violations in the territory controlled by Kiev. This draws attention of the international community to the need to prevent further escalation of repression on political grounds, fueling interethnic and religious hatred. The actions of the Ukrainian leadership and those who have committed war crimes must be given fair and balanced legal assessment.
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 all forms 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 the beginning of 2018, the Ombudsman received 5125 complaints. In the period of work between 27 October and 2 November 2018, 4 citizens attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 70 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 24 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 10 persons received legal counselling. 13 written appeals were approved for consideration, 9 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 78 calls were received via hotlines, 9 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into six categories: violations in criminal law – 343 appeals, violations in civil law – 426 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 6 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 2593 appeals, issues connected with hostilities – 606 appeals, other issues – 1151 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 2.11.2018
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 – 732 appeals, temporary accommodation – 596 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 311 appeals, migration legislation issues – 433 appeals, labour legislation issues – 212 appeals, healthcare issues – 141 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 56 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 31 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 32 appeals, land use and tenure – 16 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 2.11.2018
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 2.11.2018
- 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.
Within the period between 26 October and 1 November 2018, two DPR servicemen were killed in the territory of the DPR as a result of hostilities, no injuries reported.
Within the period between 1 January and 1 November 2018, 291 persons sustained injuries in the territory of the DPR as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
Within the period between 1 January and 1 November 2018, 148 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 9 women and 139 men, including 5 underage children.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4715 persons died. Among them, there are 614 women and 4101 men, including 81 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
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic received one appeal on arrest.
A man born in 1982 was detained in March 2018, he was charged with offences under part 1, Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
Based on the updated figures as of 02.11.2018, 278 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 88 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 190 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification from the Ukrainian side. It was reported that a man born in 1984 has been released.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on missing persons.
A man born in 1973 has been declared dead.
As of 2 November 2018, 452 persons are considered missing. There is a possibility that they are held in Ukrainian captivity.
- 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 27 October and 2 November 2018, 24 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. There are currently 1401 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7348 persons, including 1804 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, 2508 individuals live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 468 underage children, 4840 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1336 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 2 November 2018:
- there were 45.6 thousand vacant positions registered in the Centre by employers;
- there were 39.7 thousand job-seekers registered at the Employment Centre. Among them: 31.5 thousand have been employed (21.9 of them – on permanent positions, 9.6 – temporarily).
- 328 job-seekers have undergone professional training facilitated by employment centres: 60 persons undergone training and 268 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.