Address of Human Rights Defenders to Ombudsmen of Ukraine and Russia with petition to put efforts of ceasing human rights violation in Regions of Donetsk and Lugansk

The Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on human rights V. V. Lutkovskaya

The Commissioner on human rights of Russian Federation E. A. Pamfilova

The Chairman of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for civil society development and human rights M. A. Fedotov



We, activists and human right defenders who monitoring human rights violations in Regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in Ukraine, address to you with petition to undertake common efforts in order to cease massive human rights violations in conflict region.

Naturally, human rights observance within territory of Ukraine is concern and responsibility first of all of Ukrainian authorities. Nevertheless, today plenty of human rights violations on the territory of Regions of Donetsk and Lugansk of Ukraine are being committed under flag of Russia and with participation of its citizens.

Working in Donbass, we see and realize that the situation in this very moment is not under major control of either side of conflict. Though it is quite possible that participation of public officials which are in response of human rights defense and represent Russian Federation, might exert influence over those who declare their wish to be supported by Russian Federation.

The establishing joint mission could by itself confirm that human rights observance – the canon which stands aside of policy and above the policy. No doubt, such a mission will enjoy more confidence than any one-sided structures.

The most vexed problems solving of which joint mission could substantially improve – liberation of forcibly withheld civil persons which did not participated in armed stand-off and provision (observance) of rights of seized in conflict region.

The exact number of those who is withheld by armed powerhouses referring themselves to Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic is unknown but one can surely say of many dozens.

It appears that they are kept in seized administrative buildings of Lugansk, Donetsk, Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Gorlovka, and Artemovsk (the list is not comprehensive).

The major amongst those who are forcibly withheld is comparted with civil activists and their relatives, mere people standing for maintenance of Ukraine’s integrity and sovereignty, journalists, president of Ukraine election process participants (election commission members and chairpersons, representatives of president contestants, election agents).

Many of forcibly withheld are being exposed to cruel and inhuman treatment, battering, tortures, captured do not get medical aid. Some people kept in such conditions for already several weeks.

Relatives have no an opportunity to get known of whereabouts of captured and to better their lot.

Close attention is required to violence of rights of persons detained in conflict zone by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. There are known cases of shut-out detained from advocates, detaining in custody without filing accusation, humiliating and cruel treatment, participation of unauthorized persons in operational and investigative actions.

In consideration of the premises, we address you with petitions and suggestions as follows:

1. Address as public call with all groups seizing and detaining civil persons to cease this unacceptable practice and free any and all prisoners with no strings attached.

2. Undertake joint monitoring ride-along with visiting major places of forcible detaining of civil persons for holding negotiations for the purpose of instant implicit liberation of any and all prisoners.

3. Come up with initiative of establishing joint Ukrainian-Russian working group which could have held monitoring of violence of human rights by conflict parties, undertake measures (work out recommendations) for laying out of such a violations and publish reports about revealed violations and undertaken activities. On board of such a working group could get those who already participate in monitoring of human rights violations – inter alia members of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for civil society development and human rights and human rights defending organizations representatives from both countries. It would be useful to invite as well members of UN Monitoring mission in human rights in Ukraine in the function of observers.

Authors of this address, representatives of Ukrainian and Russian civil society are ready to provide you with all in-hand information about human rights violence in conflict zone.


Best regards and looking forward to cooperation,


Yevgeniy Zakharov, Chief of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Aleksandra Matveychuk, Head of the Management Board of the Centre for Civil Liberties

Iosif Zisels, Executive Vice-President of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine

Arkadiy Bushchenko, Executive Director, Nikolay Kozyrev, Chair of the Management Board of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union


Civil Initiative “Euromaidan SOS”

Civil Sector of Lugansk

Human Rights Platform “Infocentre Donbass”

Human Rights Center “Postup”

Civil Initiative ‘Vostok SOS’


Oleg Orlov, member of Council of the Human Rights Center “Memorial”

Lev Ponomaryov, Executive Director of the Russia-wide movement “For Human Rights”

Yan Rachinskiy, member of the Management Board of the Russian Company “Memorial”

Ella Polyakova, Chairperson of the regional public human rights organization “Soldiers’ Mothers of Saint Petersburg”

Andrey Yurov, coordinator of the International Human Rights Defenders’ Group on the Situation in Ukraine


The Address is also supported by:

Lyudmila Alekseeva, Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Valeriy Borshchov, member of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Svetlana Gannushkina, Chairperson of the Civic Assistance Committee

Sergey Kovalyov, President of the Institute for Human Rights

Arseniy Roginskiy, Chair of Management Board of International Company “Memorial”

Aleksandr Cherkasov, Chair of Council of the Human Rights Center “Memorial”

Dmitriy Makarov, the Youth Human Rights Defending Movement


P. S. Valeriya Lutkovskaya supports the initiative of human rights defenders for monitoring ride-along to Regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.

That is about Commissioner for Human Rights Valeriya Lutkovskaya stated while commenting address of Human Rights Defenders of Ukraine and Russian Federation to Ombudsmen of both countries and The Chairman of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for civil society development and human rights.

“I totally support such an initiative and consider as worthwhile to invite for participation in monitoring process and mediation as well international organizations’ representatives and human rights defenders either from Ukraine or from Russian Federation” – Valeriya Lutkovskaya noticed.

Besides The Commissioner briefed that such an idea was under discussion lately in the Ombudsman’s Office during working sessions with representatives of human rights defenders field missions and public initiatives which deal with rights of temporarily relocated persons and those who domiciled at temporarily occupied and dangerous territories.

“Everything spoken in Address was multiply spelled during coordination sessions with human rights defenders and completely coincides to position of our Office. Hopefully my Russian colleagues will both agree with analysis section and exclaim support to human rights defenders initiative.” – Commissioner for Human Rights noted.

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