The situation in eastern Ukraine remains volatile and continues to have a severe impact on human rights. Photo: UNHCR
Article by: Vitalii Rybak
On 13 June, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued the latest report on the human rights situation in Ukraine. It covers the period from 16 February to 15 May 2017.
This report is a quite disturbing read. For instance, the OHCHR recorded 36 conflict-related civilian deaths and 157 injuries. According to the report, this is a 48% increase compared to the previous reporting period from 16 November 2016 to 15 February 2017.
The report gives updated information about the casualties of the Donbas war: from 14 April 2014 to 15 May 2017, the OHCHR “recorded 34,056 casualties among civilians, the Ukrainian military and members of armed groups (10,090 people killed, including 2,777 civilians, and 23,966 injured).” Moreover, these are “conservative estimates,” according to the report.
OHCHR also writes that the conflict in Donbas is stagnating. “Lack of progress or tangible results in investigations and legal proceedings connected to conflict-related cases, including those which are high profile, contribute to the sense of stagnation of the conflict,” the report says. Additionally, OHCHR observed the ongoing deterioration of freedom of expression in conflict-affected areas, particularly in territory controlled by “DNR”/”LNR.”
This report also pays attention to human rights situation in Crimea. OHCHR observed that several court decisions were issued against members of the Crimean Tatar community in apparent disregard for fair trial guarantees. “Gross violations of the right to physical and mental integrity were also documented on the basis of interviews conducted with 12 convicts formerly detained in Crimea and the Russian Federation,” OHCHR notes.
The report underlines that Ukraine continued to implement judicial reform measures on the basis of constitutional amendments adopted in June 2016: “Several codes and legal acts were amended, introducing notably e-governance, subject-matter jurisdiction rules, and the use of mediation as a means of dispute resolution.”