Comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the 13th Report of the OHCHR on the situation of human rights in Ukraine from 16 November 2015 to 15 February 2016
On 3 March 2016 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released the 13th OHCHR report on the situation of human rights in Ukraine based on the findings of the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), which covers the period from 16 November 2015 to 15 February 2016 (link)
"During the reporting period, despite the reduction of hostilities, armed conflict in Donbas continues to significantly affect the people who live there, as well as their possibility to exercise all human rights," - the document says.
It is noted that the lack of effective control of the Government of Ukraine over the large part of the border with the Russian Federation (in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions) causes the flow of ammunition, weapons and troops from the Russian Federation into the territory controlled by the illegal armed groups.
The UN Monitoring Mission confirms the OSCE evidence on the daily crossing of the uncontrolled part of the Ukrainian-Russian border by the men and women in military-style clothing.
The observers express concern on increasing risk of the resumption of hostilities in the region lately. The tactic of deeper embedding into residential areas used by the illegal armed groups endangers primarily the local unprotected civilians.
We share the conclusion of the authors of the Report on the relevance of the Minsk agreements and the importance of their implementation in order to stop large-scale human rights violations. However, we believe that the Mission should be more precise and objective in determining the real reasons, the level of responsibility for such violations and the exact role of the Russian Federation, the ongoing military aggression of which is clearly the root cause of this shameful phenomenon.
The 13th OHCHR Report once again proved the mass atrocity crimes committed against our citizens by the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea as well as the Russian military and their proxies in Donbas. Once again we are compelled to note the continued criminal practice of murder of civilians, kidnapping, torture, sexual violence, forced labor, extortion of money and other human rights violations the Ukrainian citizens suffer every day.
The situation in the occupied Crimea remains extremely dire - according to the Mission’s information, ethnic Ukrainian and Crimean Tatars face systematic harassment and persecution. Abduction, searches, illegal detention, beatings, restrictions on freedom of expression and association as well as violation of the other fundamental human rights became a routine on the peninsula.
Ukraine’s position remains invariable – no human rights violation, regardless of by whom or where they were committed, must not remain unpunished. In this regard, we appreciate the attention of the Mission to the reports on alleged abuses and violations perpetrated by the Ukrainian armed or security forces and we are considering the recommendations provided. Each report on potential violation has been carefully investigated by the law enforcement officers of Ukraine.
We strongly disagree with the appeals contained in the report to legitimize the documents issued by the illegal occupant self-proclaimed “authorities” of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and of certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine, as well as to any kind of cooperation between them and the Government of Ukraine.
We also believe also that the more active use of information obtained during meetings of representatives of HRMM with participants of "civil blockade" of Crimea would more accurately assess and reflect its genuine reasons and objective course.
Ukraine has always considered the work of the Mission an important component in countering Russian aggression and an effective tool for the fixation of human rights violations caused by the occupation authorities in Crimea as well as the crimes of the Russian army and illegal armed groups in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
We expect the international community to step up pressure on the Russian Federation in order to force it to comply with its international obligations, stop the aggression in Ukraine and in other parts of the world.