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Interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

The UK delivered a statement during the interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in Geneva on 15 December 2017.

The session takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
The session takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

The UK welcomes the 20th OHCHR report of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. The temporary decrease in fighting and the related casualties highlighted in this report shows that the situation on the ground can be improved if there is a will to do so. However, the return to an increase in fighting shows that without a genuine ceasefire or the removal of heavy weapons the likelihood of sudden and violent increases in fighting remains. The shelling of critical civilian infrastructure and facilities liable to produce humanitarian and ecological catastrophe should be stopped.

The UK notes with deep concern the continuing reports of arbitrary detentions, torture and ill treatment on both sides of the contact line. The ongoing activities of illegal parallel state structures in areas controlled by Russian backed separatists, including the ‘pronouncement’ of a second ‘death penalty’ in the so called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and the re-arresting of an individual every 30 days for the last 8 months to keep him in pre-trial detention, are also deeply worrying.

The report details ongoing human rights violations and abuses in illegally annexed Crimea. These violations and abuses target the Crimean Tatar minority as well as those who advocate Crimea’s rightful place as a part of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. Reported violations include the arrest of 49 Crimean Tatars for single person protests, arrests apparently in violation of the laws of the Russian Federation applied by the de facto authorities. The de facto authorities continue to deny international monitoring organisations access, preventing a true independent assessment of the human rights situation. We continue to call on the Russian Federation to grant access, in line with UN General Assembly resolution 71/205.

What has been the effect of the increase in bureaucratic obstructions put on the provision of humanitarian assistance across the contact line by the Russian backed separatists?

Has the OHCHR received reports of other religious minorities suffering persecution similar to that endured by Jehovah’s witnesses in separatist controlled Donetsk and Luhansk?

Published 15 December 2017