On June 3, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released its 14th Report on Ukraine’s human rights situation. The report is based on the results of the UN Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), during the period of February 16 to May 15, 2016.
The 14th OHCHR report once again confirms, “the influx from Russia of foreign fighters, including citizens of the Russian Federation, ammunition and heavy weaponry”. The mission documented massive crimes committed by the occupying Russian authorities against our citizens in Crimea, and further crimes committed by the Russian military and their allies in the Donbas region. The mission once again ascertained that Ukrainian citizens suffered daily from continued criminal activities, such as: the killing of civilians, kidnappings, torture, sexual violence, forced labor, extortion and other human rights violations.
Presenting the report in Kyiv, Ivan Simonovic, the ASG for Human Rights, noted that the main reason to allow local elections in certain territories within the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, was to restore the political and civil rights for local residents.
We support this position of the OHCHR, and we urge the international community to pressure the Russian Federation to cease supporting terrorist organizations such as the “DNR” and “LNR”, immediately.
We agree with the report’s conclusion regarding the relevance of the Minsk Agreements, and the importance of their implementation in ending massive human rights violations.
The situation in Russian-occupied Crimea remains extremely difficult, especially considering the ban of Mejlis and the rising wave of persecution that followed. Abductions, searches, illegal detentions, beatings, and limitations on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and other basic civil rights have all become commonplace on the Crimean peninsula.
In line with the OHCHR’s recommendations, we once again demand the following of the occupying Russian Federation authorities:
- Allow international human rights monitoring missions access to the peninsula
- Lift the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people
- Investigate all allegations of ill-treatment, torture, abductions and disappearances, and ensure that those responsible are held accountable
Ukraine's position remains unchanged - all human rights violations, regardless of who committed them and where, must not go unpunished. In this regard, we appreciate that the Mission shed light on the reports of possible abuses and violations committed by the armed forces of Ukraine, and we are scrutinizing the reports thoroughly. It should be noted that OHCHR did not bypass the efforts of the Ukrainian Government to prosecute the perpetrators of said human rights violations.
The report also positively evaluated the extensive reforms Ukraine has undertaken, and it noted the ongoing formation process of a legal field in Ukraine.
Ukraine has always considered the HRMMU’s work to be an important and integral part when confronting Russian aggression. The HRMMU’s work is an effective tool for documenting human rights violations committed by the occupation authorities in Crimea, as well as crimes committed by the Russian army and other illegally armed groups in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The Ukrainian authorities expect that the international community will pressure Russia for the immediate cessation of acts of aggression against our country, the withdrawal of Russian Armed Forces from Ukrainian territory, the suspension of arms and military equipment supplies to terrorist mercenaries, and the abolition of any attempts to legitimize the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its de-occupation.