Wednesday, 20 January 2021

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Ukraine stands at a crossroads

Sasha Maksymenko / Ukraine Sepratists Crisis Slovyansk ATO / Flickr 2.0 Generic CC BY-NC 2.0

16 December 2014 – "The breakdown of law and order and the brutal tactics of the armed groups, has for the past nine months, been responsible for the serious deterioration of all fundamental human rights – including the security, liberty and well-being – of individuals living in areas under their control", said UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Mr. Ivan Šimonović at the launch of the 8th Monthly report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein renewed a call for the hostilities in eastern Ukraine to be brought to a definitive halt to stop the continuing loss of life, noting this would only be possible if all provisions of the Minsk Protocol are faithfully implemented.

Minsk Protocol

While the Government of Ukraine had undertaken most required legislative steps, the armed groups have not implemented or abided by key provisions of the Minsk Protocol. Large-scale offensives were halted, but skirmishes and indiscriminate shelling of populated areas continued, amid increasingly entrenched political positions.

Efforts made by the Government to safeguard Ukraine's territorial integrity and to restore law and order in the conflict zone "have been accompanied by arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and ill-treatment of people suspected of separatism or terrorism," the HRMMU report notes.

Relocation of all state institutions

In the wake of the 2 November 'elections' organized by armed groups in areas they control, the Government of Ukraine decided to temporarily relocate all state institutions, including medical and educational facilities and nursing homes, to territory under its control.

Ivan Bandura / Remembering / Flickr 2.0 Generic CC BY-NC 2.0The situation of citizens under the protection of the State, or dependent on such services, who have been unable or unwilling to move to locations where those services are now provided remains of great concern.

"The Government of Ukraine remains responsible for protecting the human rights of all Ukrainians, including the right to health, education and social security, in all its territory, including areas it does not fully control", noted UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

"I urge the Government to carefully consider the human rights impact of this decision."

Three paths

Mr. Šimonović concluded his speech by saying Ukraine stands at a crossroads.

"At this juncture one path leads to full-and large-scale conflict and the other to a protracted frozen conflict. But there is also a third path: the one leading to durable peace in the East and reconciliation. It is is my sincere hope that this will be the path chosen by those who hold the power to decide the fate of this country. It will require concerted efforts among all national and international stakeholders to reach consensus."

 Some key figures

  • there are approximately 542,080 internally displaced people (IDPs);
  • 567,956 people have crossed the border to other states, in particular to the Russian Federation;
  • 240,095 of them are seeking asylum;
  • from mid-April to 12 December, at least 4,707 people were killed and 10,322 wounded;
  • at least 1,357 fatalities were recorded since the ceasefire began on 6 September.

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To read the full 8th HRMMU Report, please visit OHCHR.

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"Call for justice, not retribution"

Ukraine's forgotten people


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