A new report issued on June 1 by the UN Human Rights Office details the serious human rights violations and abuses that persist in eastern Ukraine, including shelling, executions, arbitrary and illegal detentions, torture, ill-treatment, human trafficking and the lack of justice and accountability, as well as deprivation of economic and social rights that are deeply affecting the five million people living in the conflict-affected areas.
The tenth report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, which covers the period from February 16 to May 15, states that there has been a notable decrease in indiscriminate shelling after the adoption of the Minsk Agreements. However, the shelling has not stopped, nor have armed hostilities between Ukrainian armed forces and armed groups, meaning that civilians continue to live in fear. Civilian casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnance are still considerable.
“While some areas in the conflict zone have remained calm, such as the city of Luhansk, others have become the scenes of escalating hostilities since April 11. The vicinity of Donetsk airport and the contested village of Shyrokyne in the Donetsk region remained the major flashpoints where heavy weapons were intensively used. Reports of sophisticated heavy weaponry and fighters being supplied from the Russian Federation persisted,” the report said.
At least 6,417 people have been killed and 15,962 people reported wounded since the hostilities started in April 2014. The dead include at least 626 women and girls. The UN said that this is a conservative estimate and the actual numbers could be considerably higher.
UN also said that the situation in Crimea, annexed by Russia in March 2014, remains worrying, characterized by human rights violations committed by the de facto authorities applying the laws of the Russian Federation. The report notes that arrests, ill-treatment, torture and intimidation continue to be perpetrated against political opponents, primarily in the Crimean Tatar community, with the knowledge or participation of ‘law enforcement’ or affiliated groups.
“Legal safeguards for detainees are all but absent. The exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and religion is mostly limited to groups or individuals loyal to the Russian authorities. Administrative measures, including registration requirements, are used as control mechanisms and tools to prevent the spread of dissenting views,” the report said on Crimea.
In other news, the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Affairs said today that at least 167,000 children have been displaced, due to the war.
Editor: S. Tambur