Human Rights in Eastern Ukraine, Examined
UN notes large-scale human rights violations in eastern Ukraine
The smoldering conflict directly affects the lives of 5 million people, according to the organization
UN report on large-scale human rights violations in breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine and in Russian-annexed Crimea sparks controversy at the UN Human Rights Council.
The smoldering conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government has been dragging on for five years. According to Kate Gilmore, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, the hostilities directly affect the lives of 5 million people living along the line of contact that separates the belligerents..
“Shelling, the use of small arms and light weapons, mines, the explosive remnants of war continue to kill people and injure peaceful women and men, girls and boys,” she emphasizes..
Since the beginning of this year, 13 people have died and 78 injured in the region, Gilmore said. In addition, residents of separatist-controlled areas live in extreme poverty because they do not receive benefits from the Kiev government. Gilmore criticizes the self-proclaimed authorities in eastern Ukraine for not giving human rights defenders access to detainees. According to her, many of those detained are tortured..
She also accuses the Russian Federation of violating international human rights and humanitarian law in Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in March 2014..
“Those who criticize the occupation or fight for human rights are intimidated and even imprisoned. Crimean Tatars are arrested and sentenced for ties with Muslim organizations that are considered under Russian law "extremist"”, – she notes.
Following Gilmore’s statement, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Yuriy Klimenko, made an angry speech about the Russian occupation of Crimea and accused the Kremlin of violating international humanitarian law in the Donbas region.
“In the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as in Crimea, Russia stubbornly imposes its citizenship on the local population, thereby violating the norms of international humanitarian law and the sovereignty of Ukraine … Russia came to the Donbass region not to protect anyone. Russia, as an aggressor state, has come to kill, “he said.
The representative of Russia in the Council reacted very sharply to criticism from Ukraine. Second Secretary of the Russian Mission to the UN in Geneva, Kristina Sukacheva, in a caustic tone, condemned Ukraine’s attempts to blame Russia for all violations in the Donbass and Crimea, calling these accusations unfounded and ridiculous.