The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine presented the Report on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. It is the 36th periodic report, and this time it covers the period of February 1 – July 31, 2023. The report is based on 1,226 interviews with victims, witnesses, their families, lawyers, government representatives, and members of civil society.
According to Danielle Bell, the new head of the mission, at least 1,028 civilians were killed and 3,593 wounded as a result of hostilities during the specified period. This means that an average of six people died and twenty people were injured every day. People in the Ukraine-controlled territory were affected most (86%). The mission emphasizes the high probability that this was done as a result of the Russian Federation’s attacks.
“Explosive weapons with a large destructive radius caused more than 90% of casualties. She reminded that multiple rocket launchers must not be used in populated areas. Cluster munitions also caused dozens of casualties in the Ukrainian government-controlled territory. The attacks have also caused extensive destruction of critical civilian infrastructure. Since early July, at least 25 Russian attacks have damaged or destroyed grain export infrastructure. This had a negative impact on the existence of workers in the agricultural sector, as well as the rights of members of rural farming communities,” said Danielle Bell.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine continues recording cases of forced detention, large-scale torture and ill-treatment of civilians and prisoners of war by the Russian authorities.
“Since February last year, we have recorded the arbitrary detention of almost 1,000 people in the occupied territories. The testimonies of survivors describe incredible brutality. In some cases, the beating resulted in broken bones and knocked out teeth. Detainees were often tortured in different places of detention,” said the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
She also noted that some Russian prisoners of war had reported cases of torture and ill-treatment by representatives of the Ukrainian authorities shortly after their capture.
According to the speaker, the Report calls on the UN member states to demand that the Russian authorities provide access for independent observers to all places of detention and internment. In contrast to this situation, the Monitoring Mission has full access to Russian prisoners of war in Ukraine and is observing improvements in their treatment.
The UN mission has also monitored the situation in the occupied and liberated territories. Danielle Bell noted that in the occupied territory, people without Russian passports faced limited access to basic services – medical care, education and social assistance. In addition, they were subject to lengthy checks and risks of detention at checkpoints.
In the liberated territories, about 6,000 criminal cases have been opened against persons accused of collaborating with the occupation authorities.
“People we interviewed often said that they had agreed to work only after threats from the occupation authorities. They described an atmosphere of fear during the occupation, further intensified by the isolation from the Ukrainian government-controlled territory,” said the head of the mission.
The authors of the Report recommend that the existing laws on collaboration be carefully reviewed, be based on the provisions of international humanitarian law and take into account the realities of life under occupation.