UN observers issued a report on human rights violations during the crisis in Ukraine.
The monitoring mission of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has prepared an extensive report on the situation in Ukraine. It was presented on Wednesday, June 18, and includes a report on developments in the country, which took place May 7 – June 7, 2014.
The report notes that human rights violations in the east include abduction, detention, torture and murder. The preamble of the document emphasizes that most often these actions are committed by Ukrainian military forces. Often journalists working in eastern Ukraine become victims of arbitrary attacks.
Thus, in mid-May Italian journalist Andrea Rokkelli and his translator Andrei Mironov were hit by artillery fire of a Ukrainian military near Slavyansk. Both died. UN also recalled the arrests of Ukrainian and Russian reporters.
The human rights activists say that the Ukrainian state media only adds heat to the atmosphere, provokes people by tough rhetoric and reinforces divisions between people in the country.
UN observers report that violence and lawlessness reign in the South-East of the country. According to them, there are frequent kidnappings of people who are not involved in hostilities, looting and killing of civilians. In addition, there were established cases when the Ukrainian army bombed hospitals and kindergarten.
Observers report spontaneous disappearances of people related to government investigations. According to the UN, only from April to June 387 people have been abducted on both sides, including 39 journalists. Rights activists report frequent strange disappearances of pro-Russian activists. For example, the report mentions 11 cases of detention by Ukrainian special services of people who later ended up missing.
The biggest concern are the vulnerable – women and children. Thus, in the Donetsk and Lugansk republics experts from UNICEF inspected more than 200 children and found that every second child suffers from sleep disorders, depression and outbursts of anger. In addition, the report mentions that Ukrainian state does not pay out pensions in Donetsk and Lugansk areas for the last two months.
A separate report focuses on events in Odessa on May 2. In particular, the UN observers citing “confidential sources” indicate the facts of violence against pro-Russian activists: Ukrainian radicals severely beat up federalization supporters and some of the seriously wounded did not even contact the health service for fear of persecution.
Recall that on May 2 armed radicals attacked and devastated the camp of pro-Russian activists on the Kulikovo Field. Supporters of federalization, fleeing from an angry mob of extremists sought refuge in the House of Trade Unions. Then the representatives of the “right sector” set it on fire. As a result of the collision and fire 46 people died, more than 170 were injured. Mission representatives repeatedly urged Kiev to thoroughly investigate the causes of the tragedy on May 2.
Certain provisions of the report devoted to the events on the Maidan winter in 2013-2014, a referendum on independence Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as the holding of presidential elections in March 2014.
After June 7 the violence escalated beyond any international norms in the South-East of Ukraine. The media reported use of cluster and incendiary bombs, banned by international conventions, by Ukrainian law enforcers. As a result of a mortar attack on June 17 under Lugansk RTR correspondent Igor Korneliouk and his colleague, sound engineer Anton Voloshin have died. Ukrainian military were bombing areas where there were no military targets.
UN urged all parties to the conflict in the South-East of Ukraine to put down the weapons and break the impasse, “which only leads to suffering, murder and economic stagnation.”
The UN has said that the Kiev authorities should respect and comply with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the hostilities and ensure the safety of civilians and journalists who do not participate in the war, as well as to refrain from harsh rhetoric and racist expressions and incitement to violence.
Will the findings of the UN report sobering way to political circles in the West? The question remains open …