On July 4, a working meeting of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic Daria Morozova and the Head of the Donetsk office of the International Committee of the Red Cross Cyril Joren took place. The ICRC representative thanked Daria Morozova for her close attention to issues of violation of international humanitarian law.
Thanks to the productive interaction established by the DPR Ombudsman with international human rights organizations, information on the facts of violation of human rights and freedoms, the use of prohibited methods and means of warfare by Ukraine go public. These incidents are reflected in the periodic and thematic reports of these organizations, which is of particular importance for the formation of an objective and unbiased view of the situation by the world community in connection with the armed conflict in Donbass. This makes it possible to use some additional levers to influence the official Kiev in order to prevent violations of the norms and requirements of international law, ensure compliance with their commitments, and is also aimed at improving the social and humanitarian situation.
In today’s world, international human rights organizations play an important part in resolving conflicts, including local ones of a non-international nature. Due to their authority and opportunities, a number of issues are being resolved related to humanitarian support and protection of the rights and freedoms of civilians, as well as persons held by the warring parties, ensuring compliance with international humanitarian law and de-escalation of violence.
In the context of the armed conflict in Donbass, which was provoked by the coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, the missions of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations carry out their activities in the region. The OSCE acts as a mediator in the framework of the Minsk negotiation process and ensures the documentation of incidents in the conflict zone. The ICRC provides humanitarian support to people affected by the conflict, as well as a number of other humanitarian initiatives, including the search for missing persons. The UN records and verifies the facts of violation of human rights and freedoms, on the basis of which it forms specific recommendations for the warring parties, aimed at improving the social and humanitarian situation in the region.
In particular, in its quarterly reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the impact of hostilities on the security, social and economic rights of civilians, the realization of the right to security of person, including in relation to arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, conditions of detention, search for missing persons, as well as the administration of justice and liability for human rights violations. Special attention is paid to monitoring of civic space and respect for fundamental freedoms. The dynamics of the presentation of information in these reports represents a more balanced assessment and parity with respect to parties to the conflict on both sides of the contact line.
The activities of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic promote the objective coverage of the armed confrontation in the territory of Donbass, as well as the critical assessment of the actions of Ukrainian authorities and the breaking of the information blockade. International human rights organizations are informed about violations of human rights and freedoms, the use of prohibited methods and means of warfare, as well as other violations of international humanitarian law by Ukraine. “Observance of international humanitarian law is a prerequisite for preventing a critical deterioration of the social and humanitarian situation and a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass,” said Daria Morozova in her statement in connection with the increasing cases of violation of international humanitarian law by the armed forces of Ukraine, which have been observed recently.
In her activities, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic stands guard over constitutional rights and freedoms of people, ensures their protection and monitors their compliance.
Upon a human rights violation, the need to restore one’s rights, to obtain legal advice or appeal against actions (omission) of state bodies or authorities, citizens can apply to the Ombudsman in a way that is convenient for them.
Now, the majority of applications are still verbal and submitted through personal reception either with the Ombudsman or authorities 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.
On 3 July, executives of the DPR Ombudsman Office conducted an on-site reception of citizens in the administration of Dokuchaevsk.
Five persons asked the human rights defender for assistance in restoring their violated rights as well as for legal counselling. At the on-site reception, the following issues were raised: obtaining financial assistance, employment, unhygienic condition of common facilities, roof renovation in a dormitory, issuing a passport of a citizen of the Russian Federation. A representative of Ombudsman Office gave advice on the above-mentioned issues and provided a detailed clarification of the norms of the current legislation.
Since the beginning of 2019, the Ombudsman received 3458 complaints. In the period of work between 29 June and 5 July 2019, 7 persons attended personal reception of the Ombudsman, 59 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 1 written appeal has been received; 11 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 4 persons received legal counselling, and 5 persons were assisted through on-site reception. 9 written appeals were approved for consideration, 13 – have been reviewed among those received earlier. 52 calls were received via hotlines, 17 applications were received via e-mail.
All appeals received can be divided into nine categories: violations in criminal law – 289 appeals, violations in civil law – 372 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 45 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary – 121 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen – 206 appeals, complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials – 147 appeals, social, humanitarian and economic issues – 1345 appeals, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 650 appeals, other issues – 283 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 05.07.2019
Violations in criminal law
Сomplaints against the acts or omissions of judiciary
Social, humanitarian and economic issues
Violations in civil law
Сomplaints against the acts or omissions of law-enforcement authorities and servicemen
issues connected with hostilities
Administrative and legal violations against citizens
complaints against the acts or omissions of government officials
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 – 443 appeals; transportation, communication and consumer rights – 45 appeals; issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 239 appeals, migration legislation issues – 382 appeals, labour legislation issues – 116 appeals, healthcare issues – 109 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 11 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 05.07.2019
Pension and social payments, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid
Migration legislation issues
Transportation, communication and consumer rights
Labour legislation issues
Issues of education, culture and sport
Issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services
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 05.07.2019
- Death toll, injuries to civilians and soldiers as a result of hostilities in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic.
The DPR Ombudsman’s Office documents cases of violations of Donbass citizens’ rights by the Ukrainian side: the right to life, to security of the person.
On 30 June, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, two servicemen born in 1980 and 1996 sustained mine-blast traumas and wounds of various severities.
On 1 July, three servicemen born in 1987, 1996 and 1997, sustained injuries of various severities in Novoazovsk region.
On 2 July, as a result of shelling in Petrovskiy District of Donetsk by Ukrainian armed formations, a civilian man born in 1981 sustained multiple shrapnel wounds to the shoulder and front chest wall.
On 3 July, as a result of shelling in Leninskoe village, Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1978 sustained mina-blast trauma, shrapnel wounds to the shoulder and small back area.
Within the period between 29 June and 4 July 2019, the Human Rights Ombudsman Office was reported on the following injuries sustained as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine: 7 persons, including 6 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian man.
Within the period between 1 January and 4 July 2019, 121 persons, including 83 DPR servicemen, 13 civilian women, 22 civilian men and 3 underage persons sustained injuries of various severities.
Within the period between 29 June and 4 July 2019, 7 DPR servicemen died in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Within the period between 1 January and 4 July 2019, 103 persons, including 98 DPR servicemen, 2 civilian women and 3 civilian men died as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4832 persons died, including 81 children.
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 an appeal on abduction of a man by SBU in June 2019.
Based on the updated figures as of 05.07.2019, 251 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 102 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed. It was reported that 1 person has been released. 9 persons have been transferred from a list of persons whose whereabouts are pending clarification by the Ukrainian side.
– 149 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are pending clarification by the Ukrainian side. 9 persons have been transferred to the list of persons whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic hasn’t received any appeals on missing persons.
As of 5 July 2019, 461 persons are considered missing. They could have been taken prisoner in Ukraine.
- Register of displaced persons and affected citizens.
At the time of 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 commissions in cities and districts are now responsible for accommodating affected civilians. They work under supervision of the Republican Commission on Resettlement of Affected Persons chaired by the DPR Human Rights Ombudsman.
During the period of work between 29 June and 5 July 2019, 11 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to being affected by the conflict. There are currently 1077 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens affected by hostilities. Since the beginning of the conflict, 7069 persons, including 1742 children have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. 77 social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) have been opened in the territory of DPR. 54 of them operate, 23 of them are held in reserve. Currently, 2359 persons live in social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centres) of the Donetsk Administration, including 444 underage children, 4710 persons live in the housing fund of the DPR, including 1298 children.
On 2 July, staff of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic distributed targeted humanitarian aid to citizens residing in social housing objects in Donetsk, Khartsysk and Shakhtyorsk.
The beneficiaries of personal hygiene products were bedridden patients, who suffered from injuries or material damage as a result of hostilities, as well as people persecuted by other states for supporting the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The humanitarian assistance is provided as part of cooperation of the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic with the International Committee of the Red Cross.