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Surviving Hell. Reports on the human rights situation in Eastern Ukraine

HFHR and the German Russian Exchange (DRA – Deutsch-Russischer Austausch) presented two reports from monitoring of the human rights situation in Eastern Ukraine in 2015 –  “Surviving Hell: Testimonies of Victims on Places of Illegal Detention in Donbas” and “The situation of the civilian population in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk.”

The monitoring in Ukraine was carried out by coalitions of NGOs from Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Moldova, Belarus and Germany. „We are frequently asked why a German organization is engaged in the conflict in Ukraine. I answer that this issue has a European dimension and affects not only the safety of Ukraine, but that of the entire Europe. For Polish and German civil societies, it is important to exert pressure to effect political change in Ukraine,” said Tim Boshe from the German Russian Exchange at the presentation of the reports.

The NGOs engaged in monitoring documented a series of human rights violations which concern both the situation of civilians and detention practices. As we read in the Surviving Hell report, “the creation of the LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic] and DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] pseudostates with repressive political regimes led to numerous gross and systemic violations of human rights in different spheres on the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.” The situation of people living in the area of armed conflict can be described as a deep humanitarian crisis.

Worse still, the “establishment of a network of illegal detention places by these regimes led to violations of fundamental human rights, including the right to life, the right to be free from torture and cruel treatment, the right to liberty and personal security, and the right to fair trial.” The authors of the Surviving Hell report made the latter observation based on the data collected through interviews with 150 former detainees of such detention places, as well as on information from open sources.

„People call the situation in Ukraine a conflict or an anti-terrorist operation. But for local people, it is just war. It’s a war where people die and which tears families apart,” said Olga Salomatova from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, who took part in the monitoring of the situation in Donbas.

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Surviving Hell: Testimonies of Victims on Places of Illegal Detention in Donbas

The publication is a result of a monitoring study conducted by the Coalition of public organizations and initiatives “Justice for Peace in Donbas” in close cooperation with the Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights. The goal of the study was to document gross violations of human rights in relation to illegal detention in the armed conflict area in Eastern Ukraine. The report in English, Russian and Ukrainian and multimedia materials presented during the presentation event are available here.

Die Situation der Zivilbevolkerung in den Gebieten Donezk und Luhansk [The situation of the civilian population in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk]

The publication is a result of a monitoring study conducted by the Coalition of NGOs from six countries: Belarus, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.  Films illustrating this report on the situation of civilians in Donbas are available here:

Arte disempowered / Вынужденно бесправные;

Life On The Front Line / Жизнь на линии фронта;

Prisoners: an instrument of terror and a method of enrichment / Заложники инструмент террора;

Shellings From The Russian Federation / Обстрелы со стороны Российской Федерации;

Stanytsia Luhanska CheckPoint / Линия, разделившая жизни (Пункт пропуска в Станице Луганской);

Schools on the edge / Школы на краю;

INSTEAD OF AUTHORITIES ukrainian volunteers in donbass conflict / Заменившие власть украинские волонтеры в конфликте на Донбассе


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