UN documents Russian rights abuses in Ukraine


The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission (UNHRMM) on Sept. 9 accused Russia of arbitrary detentions and forced disappearances in Ukrainian territory, and violating the basic human rights of Ukrainian war captives. The UNHRMM documented numerous cases of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war. Russian authorities have also prevented Ukrainian prisoners of war from contacting their relatives or sharing their locations or health conditions with loved ones.

Matilda Bogner, head of the UNHRMM, reported:

We documented that prisoners of war in the power of the Russian Federation and held by the Russian Federation’s armed forces have suffered torture and ill-treatment, and in some places of detention lack adequate food, water, healthcare and sanitation. UNHRMM also received information about a dire health situation in the penal colony in Olenivka, where many Ukrainian prisoners of war reportedly have been suffering from infectious diseases, including hepatitis A and tuberculosis.

Further, the UNHRMM documented deteriorating human rights conditions in the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula. Reports show that the Russian Federation has clamped down on freedom of expression by implementing vague and ill-defined statutes, penalizing real or perceived criticism of Russia, and prosecuting 89 individuals for such charges in Crimea alone.

The UNHRMM has been monitoring and documenting violations of human rights in Ukraine since 2014. Since the Russian invasion of this year, the UNHRMM has documented 14,059 civilian casualties in Ukraine, inlcuding 5,767 civilian deaths and 8,292 civilian injures. Further, the UNHRMM finds that at least 416 persons in Ukraine have been victim of arbitrary detention or forced disappearance. Of that figure, 16 civilians were found dead, and 166 civilians have been released.

The UNHRMM will release its full report on the impact of the Russian invasion on human rights in Ukraine on Sept. 27.

From Jurist, Sept. 10. Used with permission.

Note: The UN has also protested Russian plans to hold trials for Ukrainian war prisoners in contravention of international norms. Both the International Criminal Court and UN Human Rights Council have opened investigations into possible war crimes in Ukraine.

Seven nations, including the US, have now filed “declarations of intervention” in support of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) case of Ukraine v. Russian Federation, accusing Russia of genocide during its invasion of Ukraine. (Jurist)

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