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Human Rights Council 32, periodic update on Ukraine, 29 June 2016

UK statement during the periodic update on Ukraine.

Thank you, Mr President

The UK welcomes the latest OHCHR report on Ukraine. These independent and objective reports are a vital resource for the international community to monitor the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea. We urge other members of the council to support the resolution which seeks to extend these helpful Oral updates. We also welcome the engagement of the Ukrainian authorities with the OHCHR recommendations as well as the positive actions they have taken to improve the human rights situation on their territory, such as the training of Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel in humanitarian law.

The 14th report shows the ongoing deadly consequences of the continuing crisis in eastern Ukraine. The last three months have seen over 650 more casualties. With violence on the line of contact increasing and the Russian backed separatist denying the majority of international human rights actors’ access to their territory the humanitarian situation shows little improvement. Of equal concern are instances of sexual related violence. We call on both sides to ensure such allegations are fully investigated.

In eastern Ukraine the report details the means by which Russian backed separatist groups have systematically undermined the human rights of the nearly 3 million people living under their control. This includes summary executions, torture, and illegal detentions in a network of places of detention to which they deny the OHCHR access.

In Crimea, the report again shows further deterioration of the human rights situation following Russia’s illegal annexation two years ago. Arrests, ill-treatment, torture and intimidation continue to be perpetrated against political opponents and minorities. We are also deeply concerned at the banning of the Tatar Mejlis and the use of anti-extremist legislation to muzzle dissenting views. We condemn the ongoing denial of access to international monitoring organisations by the de facto authorities and call on them to rectify this situation.

Finally we would like to Ukraine for its ongoing engagement with the HRC and would encourage it to continue to seek technical assistance from OHCHR and member states in the future.