Ukraine – human rights situation worsening

The latest report of the OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) describes an increasingly worsening humanitarian and human rights situation in Ukraine with a rather grim look into the future. The report deals with the time period from 1 November to 30 November 2014 regarding Crimea, Eastern Ukraine and the rest of Ukraine and can be looked up here.

The death toll in the conflict has according to the UN risen so far to at least 4,364. 10,064 have been left wounded. The real numbers are likely to be significantly higher. Over one million people have left the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine with 498,347 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine. The humanitarian situation of the remaining Civilians – especially elderly and children – is feared to worsen in winter, with lack of medical supplies, electricity, food, drinking water and energy for heating. The decision of the Ukrainian government to withdraw all state services including pensions payments from the areas not under government control are further worsening the conditions.

Various acts of violations of human rights, including murder, abduction, sexual abuse and torture have been committed by all conflict sides according to the report. The human rights situation in Crimea is also worse and opponents of the Russian annexation, especially ethnic Tatarians are continuing to be subject to discrimination.

Investigations on human rights violations such as the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas by government forces are proceeding only slowly or not at all. Following to the report it seems that openly showing unionist opinions in Eastern Ukraine and federalization thoughts in the government controlled area is a risk for own safety as armed groups in the East and government personnel in the West indiscriminately capture people.

As in most armed conflicts also the one in Ukraine shows that civilians pay the highest price with their lives being under constant threat by either side. And yet again it has to be stated that the longer the conflict is alive, the higher is the risk that it can get out of control. The conclusion of the report, the demand of immediate end of the fighting is only logical.

If you do not want to read the full report, it is recommended to read at least the executive summary starting at page 3.


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