Human Rights Council 34: Update on Ukraine by the High Commissioner for Human Rights
This UK statement was delivered during the 34th session of the Human Rights Council on 22 March 2017.
The UK welcomes the OHCHR’s thematic report into conflict related sexual violence, which highlights an under-reported facet of events in Eastern Ukraine, and we condemn the on going impunity for perpetrators of these crimes.
We also welcome the 17th OHCHR report, which shows a continuing trend of high civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine – 130, including children, killed or wounded since November 2016. The recent fighting around Avdiivka, and the humanitarian situation it caused is particularly concerning. Thousands of people were left without water, electricity or heating in the depths of winter. We again echo OHCHR’s call to protect civilians. The ongoing development of parallel structures in separatist areas is deeply worrying, as is OHCHR’s assertion that ‘sentences’ passed by them amount to war crimes.
The report again details the degradation of human rights in Crimea since Russia’s illegal annexation, including the use of torture, forced psychiatric internment and the transfer of Ukrainian citizens into prisons in the Russian Federation. It is extremely worrying that some of those moved into Russia may have died from negligent treatment. The de facto authorities continue to deny international monitoring organisations access in order to prevent an independent assessment of the human rights situation. We call on the Russian Federation to grant access, in line with UN General Assembly resolution 71/205, and the mandates of these organisations, including the OHCHR.
Can you update on the thematic report into Crimea, as requested in UNGA Resolution 71/205?