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Russian military presence reported in latest UN report


Over 4, 300 people were killed between mid-April and Nov 18 in eastern Ukraine, with almost one thousand wounded.  The UN Human Rights Office which has just published its seventh Report on the Human Rights Situation in Ukraine says that 957 deaths have been recorded since the ‘ceasefire’ supposedly came into force [from Sept 6 to Nov 18] though it stresses that some of the 838 men and 119 women may have been killed earlier, with the deaths only recorded later.

According to Ukraine’s State Emergency Service, as of Nov 19 there were 466, 829 internally displaced people [IDP] as against 275, 489 on Sept 18.  This figure almost certainly includes those forced to leave their homes in the Crimea.

The report finds serious human rights violations, and says that civilians are continuing to be killed, unlawfully detained, tortured and disappeared in eastern Ukraine.

According to the report: “The situation in the conflict-affected area is becoming increasingly entrenched, with the total breakdown of law and order and the emergence of parallel governance systems in the territories under the control of the [self-proclaimed] ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ and the [self-proclaimed] ‘Luhansk people’s republic’.”

“The continuing presence of a large amount of sophisticated weaponry, as well as foreign fighters that include servicemen from the Russian Federation, directly affects the human rights situation in the east of Ukraine”. 

It notes that secret and illegal places of detention continue to be in operation, with individuals detained incommunicado and allegations of torture and ill-treatment. Thousands of individuals remain missing.

There were also worrying accounts of the conduct of prisoner exchange processes, including reports that individuals were actually deprived of their liberty for the purpose of the exchange, the report says.

The report notes that there is danger that the treatment of nearly 60 thousand HIV-positive and about 11, 600 multi-drug resistant tuberculosis patients in all regions could be interrupted because tenders have not been completed to ensure that life-saving medicine is purchased.  This could threaten the lives of more than 70 thousand patients and also lead to the uncontrolled spread of epidemics.

The report also focuses on increasing rights violations especially for vulnerable minority and indigenous groups, and most notably for the Crimean Tatars.

It does welcome certain ‘key laws’ passed by parliament, including legislation on IDPs [only signed on Nov 19!]; on corruption and reform of the Prosecutor’s Office.

The report can be found here:

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