Navi Pillay: “Human rights situation in east Ukraine is alarming”

CENEVRE (CIHAN)- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Friday that a new UN report produced by her 34-strong monitoring team in Ukraine shows “an alarming deterioration in the human rights situation in the east of the country, as well as serious problems emerging in Crimea, especially in relation to the Crimean Tatars.”

She called on “those with influence on the armed groups responsible for much of the violence in eastern Ukraine to do their utmost to rein in these men who seem bent on tearing the country apart.”

The 36-page report is the second to be produced by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, based in five Ukrainian cities, since it was deployed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights in March. It covers the period from 2 April to 6 May.

The report makes a number of observations and recommendations relating to the programme of legal reforms under way in the country, including expressing concerns about the “Law on the restoration of the credibility of the judiciary in Ukraine” which entered into force on 10 May.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Gianni Magazzeni, Chief of the Americas, Europe, and Central Asia Branch at the OHCHR said “We’re talking about numerous specific examples of targeted killings, torture and beatings, abductions, intimidation and some cases of sexual harassment.”

The report also notes cases when the State Security Service and army units operating in the east have been accused of killing individuals and of being responsible for forced disappearances. “Security and law enforcement operations must be in line with international standards and guarantee the protection of all individuals at all times,” the report says, adding that “Law enforcement bodies must ensure that all detainees are registered and afforded legal review of the grounds of their detention.”

The report draws particular attention to the deteriorating climate facing the media in eastern Ukraine. “Journalists, bloggers and other media personnel either based in the region, or visiting, are facing increasing threats and acts of intimidation, including abduction and unlawful detention by armed groups,” the report states, noting allegations that “at the check-points of Slovyansk, there are lists of journalists and others that the armed group is seeking, with photographs and personal data.”

The High Commissioner urged all Ukrainian political leaders to avoid any actions that would further inflame the situation, noting that the country’s population should be allowed to vote on their future in a peaceful and secure environment during the elections scheduled for 25 May.

SOURCE: CIHAN

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