Comment by the Information and Press Department on a recent report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine
We have studied the 17th report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, spanning the period between November 16, 2016, and February 15, 2017.
We share the UN experts’ concern about the sharply aggravated situation in Donbass, which has resulted in a significant increase in casualties and extensive damage to infrastructure facilities. We support the recommendations regarding meticulous compliance with the Minsk Agreements. However, we unfortunately must note that the UN experts have avoided condemning the Ukrainian authorities who are responsible for escalating the conflict in the southeast.
Human rights activists have reaffirmed the lack of progress in the Ukrainian system of justice, which is related, among other things, to pressure on the judiciary and the prosecutor’s office by the authorities and radical nationalists. There is still no progress in the investigation of the Odessa tragedy of May 2014.
The new evidence of illegal arrests, torture, inhuman treatment and sexual violence, as well as the denial of medical aid to prisoners, practiced by the Ukrainian authorities, in particular the Ukrainian Security Service, according to the report, warrant unconditional condemnation.
We share the concern of international observers over the worsening situation of socially vulnerable sections of the population in Donbass following the termination of pensions and benefits by Kiev, as well as the blockade of railways by radical groups.
We expect the monitoring mission to take action to prevent the limitation of freedom of expression and pressure on the media in Ukraine over so-called pro-Russian rhetoric, as well as to counter the forcible restriction of the Russian-language information space.
At the same time, we have to say that a significant part of the report is politicised. Many sections of this document are an attempt to shield the Kiev authorities and soft-pedal the crimes they commit against their own people. We would also like to point out that the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol are Russian territory, and the attempt to include the human rights situation in this Russian region in a UN report on Ukraine is absolutely senseless.
We are convinced that a priority for the UN and the human rights community is to get Kiev to strictly observe its international human rights obligations and norms of international humanitarian law, as well as to faithfully comply with the Minsk Agreements to achieve lasting peace in the country.