The UN accuses Russia of violating human rights in Ukraine

The UN accuses Russia of violating human rights in Ukraine
The UN accuses Russia of violating human rights in Ukraine

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) accuses Russia of serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in its war on Ukraine.

A recent report by this institution warns that Russia's aggression against Ukraine will have far-reaching consequences for Ukraine and its population at a time when world attention on the critical situation there seems to be waning. "Despite the deeply disturbing cases of daily human suffering in Ukraine, I fear that the world has become indifferent to the crisis," said Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In a disturbing assessment of the situation, Mr. Türk told the UN Human Rights Council that "it has been 2 years since the Russian Federation launched a large-scale armed attack on the country (Ukraine). Two years of endless suffering, bloodshed, loss and grief. Many families have been separated."

He noted that more than 10,500 civilians were reported killed while more than 20,000 were injured. "The current figures are likely to be higher," he said. The report, which covers the period from December 1, 2023 to February 29 of this year, says that Russian airstrikes continue to cause massive damage to civilians.

He says that these attacks across Ukraine are causing an increase in civilian casualties, "reversing the downward trend in the number of civilian casualties throughout 2023".

This year marks 10 years since Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, a period in which people in Crimea "have been accused and convicted of acts that do not constitute a criminal offense under Ukrainian law," the report says.

"Russian citizenship is widely imposed," Mr Türk said. "Russian authorities have recruited Crimean men into the Russian armed forces, forcing them to fight against their own country."

He said that Ukrainian children have been deprived of education in their mother tongue and people have been denied the right to freely express their opinion. In the period covered by the report, officials of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights interrogated 60 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were released in a prisoner of war exchange. They said the prisoners of war gave credible information and details that they were tortured, beaten, threatened with death and sexually abused.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has registered 12 cases of execution of at least 32 Ukrainian prisoners. The office has verified three of these incidents, in which Russian services executed seven Ukrainian service members. The High Commissioner called on Russia for a ceasefire.

Russia boycotted the meeting and informed the President of the Council that "he did not want to give a speech". Ukraine's ambassador to the UN office in Geneva, Filipenko Yevheniia, accused Russia of systematic violations of fundamental rights and freedoms in Crimea and the occupied regions of Donbas and other Ukrainian territories.

The Ukrainian ambassador called on the member states of the United Nations to "condemn Russia's terrorist attacks and send a clear message to the Kremlin that the international community is not turning a blind eye to the attack on an independent state, the killing of civilians and the destruction of critical infrastructure"./Voa/

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