A “dire” pattern of growing human rights violations is still in place, In Ukraine

Date:

A "dire" pattern of growing human rights violations is still in place

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary: The mission has registered 5,996 civilian deaths, including 382 children, and 8,848 injuries since the Russian invasion on February 24. HRMMU recorded reports of torture and cruel treatment of civilian detainees. Most elderly and disabled women have been adversely affected by hostilities, which have left them without access to healthcare, decent housing, heating, water, and electricity.

The report identifies several instances of “willful killings”, arbitrary detention, forced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, and conflict-related sexual abuse while highlighting a wide range of international human rights and humanitarian law violations.

Head of HRMMU Matilda Bogner stated that hostilities “continue to endanger the lives of civilians, leave them living in deplorable conditions, and undermine their rights to health, education, housing, food, and water”, in addition to killing and injuring civilians and destroying and damaging civilian infrastructure.

Numerous cases of abuse

The mission has registered 5,996 civilian deaths, including 382 children, and 8,848 injuries since the Russian invasion on February 24. It should be noted, however, that the actual numbers are likely far higher as complete information from fighting zones cannot be collected.

According to HRMMU, reports of torture and cruel treatment of civilian detainees were standard in areas under the control of Russian armed troops or linked armed groups, in addition to enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention.

According to Ms Bogner, “the ban of torture and the arbitrary deprivation of life is total and applies to all persons in war and non-conflict circumstances.” Victims and their families have a right to justice and the truth, and perpetrators must be held accountable for their actions.

Along with forced public stripping, forced nudity, unwanted sexual contact, sexual abuse, and threats of sexual violence, HRMMU also recorded incidences of rape, including one against a girl, sexual violence used as torture or cruel treatment against men, and one girl.

War prisoners

The investigation also revealed that Ukrainian POWs (Prisoners of War) experienced torture or other inhumane treatment.

The HRMMU chief described it as “a grave violation of international humanitarian law” that Russia must address. “Such mistreatment…appears to be systematic, not only upon their capture, but also following their transfer to places of internment both in territory of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation and in the Russian Federation itself,” he added.

In the meantime, Ukrainian military forces also tortured and mistreated some Russian POWs.

She continued, “Regardless of their affiliation, perpetrators need to be duly prosecuted,” saying that “investigations into all allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, and sexual violence, must be timely and effective.”

Shrinkage of public space

Most elderly and disabled women have been adversely affected by hostilities, which have left them without access to healthcare, decent housing, heating, water, and electricity.

Furthermore, some bloggers, media professionals, and journalists have been killed in regions governed by the Russian military or allied armed groups.

The report highlighted how media access and other forms of expression are constrained in occupied territories.

In areas controlled by the Russian Federation, Ms Bogner remarked, “We are concerned that the narrowing civic space and very restrictive environment dissuade individuals from reporting the human rights crimes they have seen or witnessed.”

Recommendations

To advance human rights in the nation, better protect civilians, and promote accountability, the study presented recommendations to governments and the international community, urging their fast adoption.

The HRMMU would “continue to chronicle and report the facts on the ground and offer a voice to victims,” Ms Bogner reaffirmed.

“We view this as a crucial component of our efforts to stop current infractions and hold people accountable for past violations.”

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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