Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives and NGOs—members of the Coalition ‘Justice for Peace in Donbas’ have published a report ‘Unspoken Pain’ based on investigation of gender-based violence (GBV). The report is available in English and French.
As a result of the monitoring, it was revealed that there are facts of different forms of GBV in every 3rd interview with witnesses and survivors of human rights violations in Donbas, who had been kept in illegal detention facilities.
Having analyzed 276 interviews, human rights activists found out that at least 206 people—92 men and 114 women—had survived GBV. This indicates that similar violations apply to both women and men who had been kept in illegal detention facilities.
Amongst the reasons for the use of GBV were support of Ukrainian army or volunteer batallions, political and religious views, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. In some cases GBV was used without any particular reasons.
‘I asked them not to hit me, and told them I was pregnant. They said it was good that ‘ukrop’ child would die. […] I was three-months pregnant, and started bleeding after the beatings. I lost consciousness’, said a survivor who was kept in the building of the former ‘Isolyatsiya’ factory in Donetsk.
Amongst cases documented by the Coalition ‘Justice for Peace in Donbas’ there were 84 interviews where people told about GBV committed by separatists and 11 interviews where people told about GBV committed by Ukrainian solders.
In all the reported cases victims did not have access to justice because they had been kept in illegal detention facilities. At the same time, only approximately 25 % complained to police immediately after release.
This week, Ukrainian human rights defenders have told European diplomats and general public about the report ‘Unspoken Pain’ in the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre in Austria and the Ministry of International Affairs of France.
Members of the Coalition "Justice for Peace in Donbas" collected data for the report thanks to the support of the International Renaissance Foundation, and UNDP.