Daria Morozova comments on Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman News

Having analysed the 23rd Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Ukraine from 16 May to 15 August 2018, I would like to thank the UN team for the work done.

The Report documented outstanding cases of violations committed by Ukrainian authorities which our party has repeatedly drawn attention to.

The statistics of shelling shown by the OHCHR with a specification of the number of attacks per each side of the conflict proves that it is Ukraine which is responsible for the majority of ceasefire violations.

Nevertheless, based on the examples presented, it is not always clear whether one side or another is responsible for a violation.

For instance, it was not specified that shelling against Donetsk Filter Station comes from the territory controlled by Kiev. This fact, however, had been documented by the OSCE.

OHCHR specifies that SSU took control over the Chyhari settlement situated in “no man’s land”. As a result, security situation, humanitarian and human rights situation have significantly deteriorated there (para 33).

We are grateful that our numerous statements in that regard have been heard.

Also, authors of the Report have paid particular attention to violation of citizens’ rights to social security and social protection.

OHCHR specifies that the Ukrainian government continued to terminate

pension payments during the first half of the reporting period (para 37).

In addition, a negative assessment was given to transport blockade imposed by Ukraine that significantly complicates the movement of citizens.

In particular, six deaths while crossing checkpoints have been documented (para 42).

During the reporting period, 10 human rights violations have been documented by the OHCHR in Ukraine, such as unlawful or arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment, threats to personal integrity, which the Ukrainian side bears responsibility for (para 44).

Emphasis in the Report was placed on arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and abduction committed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Security Service of Ukraine (para 47-48).

It was noted that from March to September of this year OHCHR representatives we not allowed to some of the detainees, which cast doubt on the openness of Ukraine to international organizations (para 45).

In paragraph 49 of the Report, concern is expressed over the lack of effective investigation of human rights violations associated with the conflict.

Thus, despite the high-profile nature of the matter and public rhetoric, people responsible for murders during Maidan protests, Odessa tragedy and other crimes are not held to account.

That being said, the OSCHR documented a number of violations in the course of judicial proceedings in criminal cases related to the conflict, namely the right to a fair trial, the right to procedural and judicial guarantees in the territory controlled by Ukraine (para 60).

For instance, Yulia Prosolova has been under moral and physical pressure since she was apprehended.

The fact that she refused from a lawyer hired by her mother once again testifies to the use of illegal methods of influence, violation of the rights to a fair trial and to an effective remedy.

The case of Yulia Prosolova does not remain unaddressed.

Paragraph 63 of the Report notes that there are violations by Ukraine in the field of justice, in particular, in absentia proceedings, which are not in line with international human rights standards.

This also applies to procedural actions carried out in respect of persons previously released on the exchange.

Additionally, the OHCHR documented three incidents when radical groups such as C14 attacked or intimidated defence lawyers (para 65), which demonstrates a desperately low level of rule of law in Ukraine.

This is a matter of concern for the international community.

We welcome that all these facts have been reflected in the Report.

It should be mentioned, however, that those human rights violations by the Ukrainian side are not exhaustive.

Taking forward the joint work, a protocol on areas of disagreement based on the analysis of the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has been sent to the Head of the UN Monitoring Mission.

We hope for a productive collaboration with the OHCHR in the cause of worldwide unbiased coverage of the conflict in the territory of Donbass with the view to improving the realization and protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms.