International humanitarian law is part of the international law, which regulates relations between states in time of an armed conflict aiming to minimize the consequences of these conflicts. International humanitarian law covers the principles and rules governing the means and methods of warfare, as well as the humanitarian protection of civilians, sick and wounded servicemen, and prisoners of war. The main instruments are the Geneva Conventions for the Protection of War Victims of 1949 and two additional protocols concluded in 1977 under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
International humanitarian law provides that civilian objects should not be subject to attack or reprisals. Attacks must be limited strictly to military objectives. To ensure the effective protection of civilian objects, international humanitarian law introduces the principle of precautions in attack.
Donetsk Filtering Station (DFS), which is located on the contact line, is one of the important life support facilities for Donbass residents. In its reports, the United Nations has repeatedly documented severe damage to important infrastructure facilities, including the DFS. According to the UN estimates, 1.2 million people will remain without water if the station is stopped.
Unfortunately, the Donetsk Filtering Station and its personnel repeatedly came under the fire of Ukrainian forces. So, on March 7, Ukrainian security forces targeted a truck that was heading to the DFS in order to transfer materials necessary for its operation.
On the morning of March 12, Ukrainian forces opened fire against a convoy transferring people to the DFS, to their workplaces. One of the automobiles was damaged. And on March 13, a transport column that was transferring a crew from the station was targeted.
On March 14, at a meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk, the DPR delegates asked the OSCE SMM representatives to provide further assistance in ensuring the safety of the workers of the Donetsk Filtering Station.
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 2018 the Ombudsman received 1048 appeals. In the period of work between 3 and 16 March 2018, 4 citizens visited the Ombudsman in person, 80 persons received counselling by the Appeals department, 30 citizens received counselling by the Working Group on Issues of Temporary Displaced Persons, and 15 persons received legal counselling. 48 calls were received via hotlines, 33 applications were received via e-mail, 16 written appeals were taken into consideration, 15 – have been reviewed among those received earlier.
All appeals received can be divided into four categories: violations in criminal law – 79 appeals, violations in civil law– 74 appeals, administrative and legal violations against the DPR citizens – 0 appeals, social and humanitarian issues – 609 appeals (diagram 1).
The number of appeals (complaints, applications) from citizens, submitted to the Office of DPR Ombudsman as of 16.03.2018
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 the 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 – 153 appeals, temporary accommodation – 229 appeals, issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services – 39 appeals, migration legislation issues – 77 appeals, labour legislation issues – 41 appeals, healthcare issues – 32 appeals, guardianship and family law issues – 17 appeals, issues of education, culture and sport – 7 appeals, activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations – 5 appeals, land use and tenure – 0 appeals, the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials – 9 appeals, issues related to hostilities – 192 appeals, issues of destruction in the sphere of culture, housing and road transport infrastructure – 16 appeals, search of the missing – 46 appeals, exchange of detained persons – 119 appeals, issues related to citizens wounded and deceased as a result of hostilities in the DPR – 11 appeals, other issues – 320 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 16.03.2018
pension and social payments, benefits, disability, humanitarian aid
migration legislation issues
guardianship and family law issues
land use and tenure
issues of destruction in the sphere of culture, housing and road transport infrastructure
labour legislation issues
issues of education, culture and sport
the rights of servicemen and law enforcement officials
search of the missing
issues of housing legislation, protection of consumers of housing and public utility services
activities of public associations, organizations and trade unions, religious organizations
issues related to hostilities
exchange of detained persons
issues related to citizens wounded and deceased as a result of hostilities in the DPR
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 16.03.2018
- 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: the right to life, to security of the person, to inviolability of the home.
On March 2, as a result of hostilities in Novoazovsk region, a 24-year-old DPR serviceman received a perforating gunshot wound to the left half of his chest.
On March 5, in Novoazovsk region, a DPR serviceman born in 1974 sustained gunshot wound with a fracture to his left upper arm bone.
Also, it was reported about a DPR serviceman born in 1983, who sustained blunt shrapnel wound on February 6. These data have been included in the overall statistics of those affected by the armed conflict.
Within the period between 2 and 15 March 2018, 2 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 March 15, 2018, 43 persons sustained injuries of various severities in the territory of the DPR. Among them, there were 33 DPR servicemen, 6 civilian men, and 4 civilian women.
Within the period between 2 and 15 March 2018, 5 DPR servicemen died in the territory of the DPR.
Within the period between January 1 and March 15, 2018, 27 persons died in the territory of the DPR, including 26 DPR servicemen and 1 civilian.
To be specific, since the beginning of the armed conflict 4594 persons died. Among them, there are 605 women and 3989 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.
- Register of the prisoners of war, missing soldiers
On March 14, a regular meeting of the working subgroup on humanitarian issues took place in Minsk. Unfortunately, authorized representatives of Kiev were absent at the meeting. The Ukrainian side was only represented by one expert and an interim representative appointed recently.
«It is impossible to discuss the issues with persons, who are ill-informed in matters of the negotiations. Due to this, we were unable to address many issues of the agenda. It is important to say that there are cases when the agreements reached with the experts were nullified later by official representatives of the Ukrainian side, when they attended the meetings.
We cannot engage in dialogue with the Ukrainian side unless their statements are supported by an official written document. Moreover, we have not received any response to our requests, namely:
– what is the procedural status of persons who were exchanged on February 27, 2017, and why didn’t they receive their identity documents and medical records back;
– the possibility of the exchange and handover of citizens of the Russian Federation, who have been included in the exchange list earlier by the Ukrainian side, taking account of their procedural status;
– is there any progress with regard to the issue of missing persons;
– whether Ukrainian authorities still place people into categories or not;
– what is the stance of the Ukrainian side with respect to the exchange formula “all confirmed for all confirmed,” said Daria Morozova?
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic didn’t receive any appeals on arrest.
Based on the updated figures as of 16.03.2018, 295 persons are held by the Ukrainian side including:
– 81 of those whose presence on the territory of Ukraine had been confirmed.
– 214 persons whose whereabouts are unknown or are being clarified by the Ukrainian side. In the absence of full personal data of missing persons, 2 of them were excluded from the list.
This week the Ombudsman’s Office in the Donetsk People’s Republic received two appeals on missing persons. A man born in 1973 went missing on 28 September 2014 as he headed to Telmanovo region from Donetsk. Another complaint lodged with the Ombudsman was about a man born in 1979, who went missing on 27 February 2018.
As of 16 March 2018, 448 persons are considered missing. Hypothetically, they might be in Ukrainian captivity.
- Register of forcibly displaced persons.
At the time of the armed conflict, 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, Temporary Accommodation Centres (TACs) have been opened in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Any person can receive temporary accommodation there if they need it.
1218 IDPs now live in temporary accommodation of the Office, including 225 underage children. Since the beginning of the conflict 5358 referrals for temporary accommodation have been issued, 115 of them – in 2018. 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 3 and 16 March 2018, 34 persons have applied to the Ombudsman’s Office on the issues related to internally displaced persons. Referrals for temporary accommodation were given to 4 of them: 3 persons accommodated in Donetsk, 1 – in Makeyevka. There are currently 1205 housing spots available for IDPs. Among them: 1205 – in DPR Temporary Accommodation Centres (including TACs of Ombudsman`s Office); 292 – in TACs of the Ombudsman`s Office.
It is necessary to remind that there are 7589 persons, including 1906 children under the age of eighteen registered since the beginning of the conflict. 63 temporary settlements have been established within the territory of DPR, including the one in Sedovo that was put into operation this week. 55 of these TACs operate, 8 of them are held in reserve.
Currently, 1506 individuals live in the centres, including 282 underage children, 4865 persons live in the housing fund of DPR, including 1399 children under eighteen.
4. Employment of DPR citizens
The Republican Employment Centre is the main institution responsible for providing jobs to the population.
According to their data, 14.4 thousands of vacancies were available in the common database as of 16.03.2018. As of March 16, 2018, there were 15.7 thousand individuals who seek for a job, registered in the Republic Employment Centres. Among them: 10.7 thousand have been employed (3.8 of them – on permanent positions, 6.3 – 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. 46 persons participated in such seminars.