UN: Pro-Russian separatists, Ukrainian forces violating human rights
Reuters reports that both pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian Government forces are violating human rights during the current conflict in eastern Ukraine. According to a UN report, kidnapping, murder and torture are taking place there.
Since the start of the fighting in mid-April, the conflict has claimed at least 2 200 victims, with an average of 36 people per day being killed. "Armed groups are continuing to commit executions, ill-treatment, kidnappings, killings, murders, physical and psychological torture and other serious human rights violations," the report says, adding that the violence is "disproportionately targeting civilians".
The report by a 34-member UN monitoring mission evaluates the period between 16 July and 17 August and says rebels have probably abducted at least 468 people. "The Ukrainian Army has reported shots fired from [Russian] territory... and the illegal use of land mines on Ukrainian territory," the observers wrote.
The report also says the separatists are "professionally trained" and receive "constant supplies" of sophisticated ammunition and arms that can shoot down airplanes and helicopters. The Ukrainian Army and Special Forces answering to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry are said to be violating human rights.
Those violations include arbitrary detentions and torture. Government forces are obligated to ensure the unrestricted provision of humanitarian aid essential to the survival of local residents, the report says.
The UN observers say the humanitarian situation deteriorated after the Ukrainian Army shored up its blockade of rebel bastions in Donetsk, Horlivce and Luhansk; as of 26 July the death toll for the conflict was 1 129, and as of 10 August it was 2 086. They also warn that in Crimea, which Russia annexed in March, "discrimination and persecution of Crimean Tatars, Ukrainian citizens and other minorities continues."
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