UN Records Increase in Ceasefire Violations in Donbas, Tortures in Crimea

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on Ukraine, showing an increase in the ceasefire violations in Donbas, as well as the number of civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects.

The document covers the period from 1 February to 31 July 2021.

In total, OHCHR recorded 62 civilian casualties: 15 killed (11 men, three boys and one girl) and 47 injured (30 men, 13 women, three boys and one girl), a 51% increase compared with the preceding six months.

From 31 July to 20 September, two more people were killed and 14 were injured as a result of hostilities in eastern Ukraine, according to the UN monitoring mission. The figures for August and September 2021 are the highest since June 2020, followed by the ceasefire declared in Donbas.

In addition, the document highlights the coronavirus-related restrictions imposed, in particular by Russian-backed militants. During the reporting period, the number of crossings through the checkpoints in Donbas decreased by 95%, forcing some people from the occupied territories to leave for Russia.

UN representatives expressed concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in the areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions currently occupied by Russia. This includes, in particular, the “decree” of the so-called “DPR,” which allows the expropriation of real estate, cases of arbitrary detention and torture.

The report also touches upon the situation in Crimea occupied by Russia. The monitoring mission notes that Russia continues to restrict freedom of peaceful assembly. There are documented cases of torture and ill-treatment by FSB officers and violations of the right to a fair trial. The mission condemns the recent detentions and searches of homes of Crimean Tatars.

As for the situation in Ukraine in general, the closure of MP Taras Kozak’s TV channels due to sanctions was called “not in line with international standards on the right to freedom of expression.”

The report notes that “law enforcement agencies provided adequate security measures” at the vast majority of assemblies, and that attacks against opposition political party Partiia Shariia have decreased. However, 22 cases of threats and attacks against media workers, human rights defenders, LGBT+ representatives or their supporters, and representatives of ethnic minorities were recorded.

Bohdan Marusyak

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