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Human Rights Council 33, UK Statement at the Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on Ukraine, 27 September 2016

UK Statement delivered during the Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on Ukraine, delivered at the Human Rights Council.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The UK welcomes the latest OHCHR report on Ukraine, and the passing of the resolution at HRC 32 which enabled these useful oral updates to continue. Both the reports and oral updates are a vital resource for the international community to monitor the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea.

The 15th OHCHR report shows the bloody consequences of the continuing crisis in eastern Ukraine. The period 16 May to 15 August saw an escalation in hostilities and a consequent drastic increase in civilian casualties; 188 in total, with 28 killed, including 5 children. With 109 of these casualties caused by shelling, we echo the OHCHR’s call for both sides to do all they can to protect civilians and hope that recent commitments to a renewed ceasefire show that the political will can be found to stop the fighting. We call on Russia to heed the OHCHR’s call to stop the flow of weaponry, ammunition and fighters from its territory into the separatist areas, which is fuelling the fighting and associated human rights abuses.

In eastern Ukraine the OHCHR has detailed the systematic degradation of the human rights situation Ukraine since 2014. Credible reports of arbitrary detentions of civilians, torture and enforced disappearance have been alleged against both armed groups and Ukrainian law enforcers. Little progress has been made in achieving accountability for violations and abuses of human rights committed in the context of the continuing conflict in the eastern regions of Ukraine.

In Crimea, the report again shows further deterioration of the human rights situation. Arrests, ill-treatment, torture and intimidation continue to be perpetrated against political opponents and minorities.

We, along with much of the international community, were shocked by the forced psychiatric detention of Ilmi Umerov. Earlier this month Crimean Tatars, Ruslan Zaytullaev, Ferat Sayfullaev, Rustam Vaytov and Nuri Primov were given lengthy jail sentences for refusing to acknowledge Russia’s illegal annexation of the peninsula. We call for their immediate release, and the release of all other Ukrainians illegally detained by Russia, including Oleksandr Kolchenko and Oleg Sentsov. It is lamentable that the de facto authorities in Crimea continue to deny international monitoring organisations access in order to prevent an independent assessment of the human rights situation and we echo the report’s call for full access to be granted.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Published 27 September 2016