UN reports breakdown of law and order in Ukraine

[JURIST] The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] on Wednesday issued a report [text, PDF; press release] on Ukraine that cites increasing evidence of abductions, detentions, torture and killings in the two eastern regions of the country where armed forces hold control. The report also cites a number of worrying trends emerging in Crimea. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] urged the armed groups to "stop taking themselves, and the people living in their regions, down this dead end, which is leading simply to misery, destruction, displacement and economic deprivation [because] all they have achieved is a climate of insecurity and fear which is having a hugely detrimental impact on many thousands of people." The 58-page report covers the one-month period from May 7 to June 7, and it marks the third report produced by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission Unit (HRMMU) [UN Security Council announcement], since it was deployed by Pillay in March. According to the report and confirmed by NGO's in the region, the armed groups have seized administrative buildings and obtained access to the personal data of pro-Ukranian activists that have participated in rallies, which has led to threats of violence and an increase in the number of potential refugees. But refugees are waiting for some legal order to return before fleeing the eastern regions as a number of civilians have been killed in violent clashes between the Ukrainian military and armed groups. In addition, freedom of expression continues to be threatened in Ukraine, as journalists have faced intimidation and threats to their physical security. Similarly, pro-Ukrainian residents in Crimea [JURIST backgrounder] have faced intimidation and there is heightened concern that citizens may face discrimination for a number of years, particularly in the areas of education and employment.

The ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] in Ukraine [JURIST news archive] has reinvigorated fears of Cold War Era politics and increased tensions between Russia and the West. In May the HRMMU issued its second report [JURIST report] covering the period from April 2 to May 6, which found alarming deterioration of human rights in the country. Earlier in May, Pillay expressed grave concern [JURIST report] over the escalating unrest in Ukraine that has brought increasing destruction and death to the region. In April the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website, in English] opened an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes in the Ukraine.

 

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