One year after Russia’s invasion, the UN rights chief regrets the number of deaths in Ukraine

Date:

the UN rights chief regrets the number of deaths in Ukraine

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Wednesday, February 22, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Human cost the most recent data from the UN human rights office (OHCHR) show that since the Russian incursion on February 24, 2018, at least 8,000 non-combatants have been proven dead and almost 13,300 injured.

  • The HRMMU team also reported 632 civilian casualties, 219 killed and 413 injured, brought on by mines and explosive remnants of war over the past year.

  • Focus shifting to abuse when asked to describe the kinds of human rights violations discovered in Ukraine, chief monitor Matilda Bogner stated that more than 100 cases of sexual violence associated with armed conflict and hundreds of instances of forced disappearances and arbitrary detention had so far been documented.

  • Damage to children’s lives over a year into the fighting, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a dire warning, stating that “not a single aspect of children’s lives” had been spared.

  • According to UNICEF, the number of children living in poverty has virtually doubled, from 43% to 82%.

Director of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), Matilda Bogner, told media in Geneva that the number of civilian fatalities in the southern city of Mariupol, which was under Russian missile bombardment and siege, had been exceptionally high.

“My colleagues spoke with a former prisoner of war who was from Mariupol and was made to gather the remains from the city streets. He informed us that one truck of bodies was the daily cap that Russian soldiers had to meet. And because of this, he stated that achieving the quota in Mariupol was not at all problematic.

Human cost

The most recent data from the UN human rights office (OHCHR) show that since the Russian incursion on February 24, 2018, at least 8,000 non-combatants have been proven dead and almost 13,300 injured. The OHCHR staff has repeatedly emphasised this point and believes that the real number is likely far higher.

Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, lamented the human cost of the conflict in a statement, saying that every day that international human rights and humanitarian law are violated, “it becomes harder and harder to find a way forward through mounting suffering and destruction, towards peace.”

According to Mr. Türk, civilians have been killed “in their houses and while merely trying to meet their basic necessities, such as gathering water and purchasing food.” They were Olha, age 67, who was murdered in a missile strike only yards from her apartment in Kharkiv the day the conflictstarted as she was going to get milk.

Serhii, a man in his 60s, held back tears as he told human rights monitors how he witnessed his 6-year-old granddaughter lose a limb in an artillery bombardment when his house in a village close to Kherson got a direct hit on 2 April 2022, according to the UN rights chief.

Size of the pain

Mr. Türk went on to list the hardships that include electricity and water shortages and the fact that nearly 18 million people are in excruciating need of humanitarian assistance, with 14 million people having been displaced from their homes. He said these stories conceal the true extent of the suffering in Ukraine.

Men made up 61.1% of reported civilian casualties, while women made up 39.9%, according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU). 954 children were hurt, and at least 487 died.

The rights monitors also discovered that explosive weapons having “wide area effects,” such as artilleryshells, cruise and ballistic missiles, and airstrikes, were responsible for more than 90% of civilian fatalities. The majority happened in inhabited regions.

The HRMMU team also reported 632 civilian casualties, 219 killed and 413 injured, brought on by mines and explosive remnants of war over the course of the past year. Their work also includes recording egregious human rights legislation violations, such as sexual violence, torture, and summary executions.

Focus shifting to abuse

When asked to describe the kinds of human rights violations discovered in Ukraine, chief monitor Matilda Bogner stated that more than 100 cases of sexual violence associated with armed conflict and hundreds of instances of forced disappearances and arbitrary detention had been documented.

The woman explained these are merely the instances we have been able to record. “The actual scope of these issues is still not fully recognised, but our data indicate numerous infractions. In terms of demonstrating the patterns of violations occurring, the data we gather is helpful for international prosecutions.

Unsettling evidence regarding violations in Kherson, where locals alleged Russian forces’ torture and mistreatment of them up to their withdrawal in November, is still coming in.

“It’s a region occupied by Russia, and during that time, they targeted local government officials, activists, human rights defenders, and those who held pro-Ukrainian beliefs,” Ms. Bogner said. “They were holding them and occasionally forcibly removing them. Some of those persons have come back, others have not and continue to be jailed, while others have vanished. Unfortunately, some of them have now been discovered deceased.

The UN rights observer noted “substantial” civilian casualties in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas. “If you look at explosive weapons, then those who were in occupied territories account for 15% of total casualties, and the majority of those were in Donbas. We have meticulously tracked the casualties, both alive and dead, on the opposing side of the front line.

An 8-year-old girl poses in front of a building in Irpin, Ukraine where her mother and sister share a small room.

In front of a building in Irpin, Ukraine, where her mother and sister share a small room, an 8-year-old girl poses.

Damage to children’s lives

Over a year into the fighting, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) issued a dire warning, stating that “not a single aspect of children’s lives” had been spared.”

“Children in Ukraine have been through a year of tragedy,” said Catherine Russell, executive director of UNICEF. “Millions of kids are going to bed cold and afraid and waking up hopeful this horrific war would cease. Children have been hurt and died, and many have lost their homes, schools, playgrounds, parents, and siblings. Such agony ought never to be endured by a youngster.

According to UNICEF, the number of children living in poverty has virtually doubled, from 43% to 82%. The situation is particularly dire for the 5.9 million individuals currently displaced within Ukraine.

The UN agency added, “The war also has a terrible effect on children’s mental health and well-being.” According to estimates, 1.5 million youngsters are susceptible to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other issues, which could have long-term consequences.

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