Liudmyla Denisova insists on the development of the mechanisms for the return of prisoners from the occupied territories of the Donbas region

13/11/2018 17:23

The Office of Ombudsman held a roundtable "Imprisoned in Ukraine - held in ORDLO. Rights of the persons kept in prisons in the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas".

The issue of the status of the convicts and mechanisms of their return was discussed by the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Liudmyla Denisova, First Deputy Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada and Ukrainian President’s Special Envoy for Peaceful  conflict settlement in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions Ms Iryna Gerashchenko, Head of UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Ms Fiona Fraser, Deputy Minister of Justice Mr. Denis Chernyshov, representatives of central authorities and human rights organizations "Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group", "Donbass SOS", UHHRU, "Alternatyva","The Right to Protection", "The Public Committee for the protection of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens", as well as international organizations.

According to the Ombudsperson Ms Liudmyla Denisova, the status of prisoners in the occupied territories has not yet been resolved either at the political level or in the legal sense and the possibilities for their return are limited.

"These people committed a crime, but they are still citizens of Ukraine and need our protection. The Office of the Commissioner has already received 895 appeals from the relatives and the prisoners regarding their return. There are much more of those who would be willing to return, but they are simply afraid to write such appeals because of the colony administration’s intimidation.

Convicts complain that they cannot use the mechanism of provisional release, cannot claim violation of their rights, cannot see their relatives. This constitutes one thing - violation of their rights and freedoms, which can be qualified as crimes against humanity. Ukraine is ready for the return of all the convicted persons. However, the "occupying power" blocks this process completely, "said the Commissioner Ms Lyudmila Denisova.

The prisoners are kept in unsanitary conditions on the territories outside control of the government. They are not provided with proper medical care, they are used as a free workforce and are forced to participate in the illegal activities of the illegal armed groups.

The Ombudsman emphasized that the state has to develop mechanisms for the prompt return of the prisoners from the temporarily occupied territories.

Thus, currently the Profile Committee of the Parliament considers a draft bill number 8560 of July 5, 2017, aimed to partially resolve the issue of the prisoners. However, as the Ombudsman noted, this is not enough. In this regard, Ms Liudmyla Denisova called on representatives of public and international organizations to facilitate the solution of this issue.