Comment of the Information and Press Department on the latest report by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine
The Foreign Ministry has reviewed the 28th report, released in Geneva, by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine covering a period between August 16 and November 15, 2019.
While the number of casualties decreased in comparison to the previous reporting period, the situation remains tense. Children are still killed and wounded, including in mine accidents. Since April 2014, 147 children lost their lives in this internal armed conflict.
Tens of thousands of families lost their homes over the past five years with only a few receiving compensation or temporary housing. The Ukrainian military continue its brazen expropriation (and destruction in many cases) of civilian properties, and use utilities, leaving owners with large debts. Restrictions on freedom of movement curb the civilian population’s socioeconomic rights along the contact line on Kiev-controlled territory.
It is perplexing that experts continue to welcome and believe promises by parliamentarians in Kiev to pay pensions to all Ukrainian citizens without any discrimination based on place of residence or registration. In reality, a social mechanism has yet to be created to deliver on this pledge, while hundreds of thousands of pensioners are unable to get the payments they are entitled to.
We share the Monitoring Mission’s concern regarding the continuing systematic and flagrant violations committed by the Ukrainian authorities. In particular, the report mentions extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, solitary confinement, torture and ill treatment of civilians on Kiev-controlled territory. Violations of the right to a fair trial continued, notably in conflict-related criminal cases. The freedom of assembly and expression are still being encroached upon, while new attacks are reported against journalists and human rights activists.
We also share the Monitoring Mission’s concern regarding the ongoing court proceedings related to the May 2014 killings in Odessa. The presence of members of extreme right-wing groups may have a chilling effect on the judges’ and the jury’s independence in this case, and exerts psychological pressure on the judges. We are not surprised by the lack of progress in establishing accountability for the killing of protestors and law enforcement officers on Maidan.
All these facts point to Kiev’s inability to show political will and carry out a thorough and impartial investigation into human rights violations by the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Security Service.
Regretfully, the Ukrainian authorities are not prepared and clearly unwilling to ensure the language rights of minorities. We hope that Kiev finally heeds the calls coming from the OHCHR, as well as recommendations issued by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission in its opinion on the Law “On Ensuring the Functioning of Ukrainian as the State Language,” and revises its approaches to dealing with ethnic minorities living in Ukraine.
The Foreign Ministry contests the Monitoring Mission’s perspective on the outcome of the mutual release of detained individuals that took place on September 7, 2019. We reject the groundless accusations of ill treatment of Ukrainian nationals by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. We urge experts to rely on official sources of information when drafting their reports.
We have to emphasise once again that the Monitoring Mission’s mandate does not cover third countries. The Republic of Crimea and the Federal City of Sevastopol are part of the Russian Federation. Consequently, once again including into a report on Ukraine an assessment of the human rights situation in this Russian region is unlawful.