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12 September 201718:24

Comment by the Information and Press Department on the latest report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

1675-12-09-2017

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We have read the nineteenth report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine for the period from May 16 to August 15, 2017.

We express our deep concern about the high level of violence in Donbass. We support the UN Mission’s appeal to the parties to the conflict to strictly observe the ceasefire agreement.

We regret that the so-called grain truce, announced on June 24, has repeatedly been violated by Kiev and the armed groups it controls.

The UN Mission’s information about civilian infrastructure facilities still suffering shelling attacks is alarming and contrary to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect civilians. In this regard, we once again wholeheartedly support the UN Mission’s strong recommendations to abide by the Minsk Agreements.

Against the background of widespread illegal imprisonment and enforced disappearances by the Ukrainian Security Service, we are concerned by new instances of systemic violations by Ukrainian law enforcement: arrests and terrorism charges against Ukrainians who do business in Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic.

Reports of brutal torture used by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and the Security Service to extort confessions are outrageous and warrant the strongest condemnation. There has been widespread use of mock executions and electric shocks. Crimes are not properly investigated, the report says, which contributes to the growing atmosphere of impunity in the country. Against this background, the lack of progress in the investigation of the May 2014 Odessa tragedy is also perfectly clear.

We are troubled by the UN Mission’s conclusions about Kiev’s inhuman discriminatory policy against Ukrainian citizens living in Donbass. The authorities’ refusal to pay pensions and social benefits has put about 4 million people on the brink of poverty.

We share the concerns of the UN mission regarding the latest round of legislative restrictions on civil and political freedoms in the country. We agree with international experts that the hunt for journalists and persecution of media representatives and opposition activists who face criminal punishment for exercising their right to freedom of opinion and expression, closure of companies out of favour with the authorities, including media groups, the government’s unwillingness to ensure the rights of minorities to peaceful assembly are incompatible with the fundamental principles of a democratic state. At the same time, we must reiterate that the mandate of the UN Mission in Ukraine does not include monitoring third countries. We emphasize in this connection that the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city of federal significance, are part of the Russian Federation, and the attempt to include these regions in the UN report on human rights in Ukraine are improper.

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