There must be accountability for the Ukraine conflict

Statement by UN Watch

ID on Ukraine

UNHRC 32nd Session, 29 June 2016

Delivered by Ms. Anna Volosina

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch appreciates the High Commissioner’s update on the situation in Ukraine.

We welcome the improvements outlined by the Special Rapporteur on Executions in his report, following his visit to Ukraine.

Nevertheless, we are concerned with the human rights situation in Occupied Crimea and the eastern parts of Ukraine, including the cities of Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk. These territories have experienced a significant deterioration with respect to human rights and security since Russia’s belligerent expansion westward.

We propose the following recommendations:

First, it is crucial that the illegal de facto Russian government of Crimea and the governments of the “People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk” grant access to local and international humanitarian organizations. The establishment of accurate information is essential in ensuring accountability for human rights violations.

Second, we call upon the Council to take steps to guarantee freedom of expression and of the press in the Occupied Territories. The assault on the media has become a systematic policy of the de facto governments. Ukrainian media operating in the Occupied Territories have been banned, while violence against journalists who oppose the occupation is common practice. These rights are not luxuries to be afforded citizens, but rights that must not be denied them.

Third, we call for an end to the continuing persecution of Crimean Tartars on the basis of ethnicity. The Russian authorities have instigated unprecedented discriminatory measures against the Tartars, not least the classification of their governing body, the Mejlis, as an extremist organization.

Mr. President, improvements in Ukraine must not cause us to forget the gravity of the situation nor the roots of the conflict, for which there must be accountability.

We ask the Office of the High Commissioner: What can the international community do to open up the areas in question to ensure adequate human rights monitoring?

Thank you, Mr. President.


UN Watch