Since April 2014 until the 9th of June 2019, at least 3332 civilians were killed, and more than 7 thousand were injured as a result of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, according to the new report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, presented at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The report covers the period between 16th of February – 15th of May 2019.
Situation in Eastern Ukraine
“This year from the 1st of January to the 9th of June, we have recorded 70 civilian casualties – 12 deaths and 58 injuries. These are the lowest figures for the entire conflict period,” noted Fiona Frazer, Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. 12 civilian casualties were recorded in the first 9 days of June. This is equal to the total figure for May.
Ukrainian government should provide compensation for the relatives of people killed in conflict-related accidents, as well as compensations for injuries and for the loss of property, says the Mission’s report. “Current provisions of the law do not guarantee all civilian victims equal right to compensation. To avoid discrimination, a comprehensive state policy for compensation for conflict-related losses needs to be established”, Fiona Frazer noted.
Crossing of the contact line and obtaining pensions are two major problems for civilians, in addition to combat-related threats.
“The parties have to agree on the repairs of the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska, the only crossing point for the entire Luhansk region. There is need for additional entry-exit checkpoints, so that the one million people crossing the contact line every month can do it quicker safer and with more respect to their dignity,” said Fiona Frazer. During the reporting period, at least 8 men and one woman died because of health complications when crossing the contact line.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission calls the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine to delink the right to pension from IDP (internally displaced person) registration in order to ensure equal access to pension, as well as implement court decisions that are ruled in favor of pensioners restoring their right to pension.
Over last 5 years, the Mission has documented over 500 individual cases of the use of torture and ill-treatment on both sides of the contact line. Currently the number of cases is much lower than in 2014-2016, but they still occur. The Mission calls to ensure effective investigation of such cases. In most cases, it is not done.
“We are aware of at least 51 detention facilities where hundreds of people were subjected to arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment. We continue to have unimpeded access to official places of detention in Government-controlled territory in line with international standards. In territory controlled by self-proclaimed “LPR” and “DPR”, neither we nor any other international monitors have regular, unimpeded and confidential access to places of detention. Such access must be provided in line with international standards,” Fiona Fraser emphasized.
She added that those in control of the self-proclaimed “LPR” and “DPR” are responsible and should be held accountable for human rights violations committed there.
The report reiterates that the Russian Federation continues to violate international humanitarian law by imposing in the occupied Crimea its legislation and Russian citizenship for all people living there, undertaking pressure on the disloyal and transferring prisoners to its territory. The Russian Federation continues to deny the UN Monitoring Mission access to the peninsula, disregarding the UN General Assembly Resolution.
“We call on the Russian Federation as the occupying power in Crimea to uphold its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. It means among other steps to not enforce its legislation in Crimea, to ensure human treatment of all detainees, to allow freedom of religion to all groups,” Fiona Frazer emphasized.
The Mission calls on the Russian Federation to implement the order of the International Court of Justice, according to which the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people should be lifted, as well as the order of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea to immediately release 24 Ukrainian crew members of naval vessels, seized in November last year near the Kerch Straight.
The Mission welcomes the establishment of the Commission on missing persons that will coordinate the efforts of the Government to clarify the fate and whereabouts of individuals who are missing due to the armed conflict.
The report mentions lack of progress in investigation of killings which took place during the Revolution of Dignity and in Odesa on May 2nd 2014, as well as attacks on activists, journalists and peaceful assemblies. Fiona Frazer called to ensure accountability for all human rights violations.
According to the Mission, the presidential elections in Ukraine were peaceful, competitive and largely inclusive. “I encourage the President of Ukraine to support a culture of accountability and respect for the rule of law. More needs to be done to combat pressure on judges, to reform the Prosecutor General’s Office, to ensure adequate resources for the State Bureau of Investigation,” Fiona Frazer noted.