UN: At Least 3,660 People Killed in Ukraine Conflict since April
From mid-April to 6 October, at least 3,660 people were killed and 8,756 wounded in eastern Ukraine, the UN Human Rights Office said in a report, Wednesday.
Despite the fragile ceasefire over the past month in the east of Ukraine, the protracted conflict continues to kill and wound civilians, and deprive the more than five million residents in areas directly affected by the violence of their basic human rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Wednesday as he released the latest report on the human rights situation in the country.
The UN statement notes in particular that, despite the ceasefire, “in some areas artillery, tank and small arms exchanges have continued on an almost daily basis, such as in Donetsk airport, in the Debaltseve area in Donetsk region, and in the town of Shchastya in Lugansk region.”
Since the ceasefire began, between 6 September and 6 October, at least 331 fatalities were recorded, the report reads.
“While the ceasefire is a very welcome step towards ending the fighting in eastern Ukraine, I call on all parties to genuinely respect and uphold it, and to halt the attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure once and for all,” High Commissioner Zeid said.
Nearly 40,000 small and medium businesses in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions have ceased activity due to the fighting, leaving thousands without income.
The 37-page report, which covers the events from August 18 to September 16, said, “During the reporting period, international humanitarian law, including the principles of military necessity, distinction, proportionality and precaution continued to be violated by armed groups and some units and volunteer battalions under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces.”
Particularly, the report said fighters of volunteer battalions such as Aidar, Dniepir-1, Kiev-1 and Kiev-2, could be involved in such crimes as kidnapping, abuse, illegal detention, murders and panel game, Itar-Tass informs.
“Armed groups continued to terrorize the population in areas under their control, pursuing killings, abductions, torture, ill-treatment and other serious human rights abuses, including destruction of housing and seizure of property. There have also been continued allegations of human rights violations committed by some volunteer battalions under Government control,” the report said.
High Commissioner Zeid stressed that all violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law must be scrupulously investigated and prosecuted, including the indiscriminate shelling of civilians, killings, allegations of sexual violence, the illegal seizure of property and the ill-treatment of detainees. Zeid expressed deep concern about the lack of rule of law in the areas held by the armed groups.
“This is a call for justice, not retribution. All parties must ensure that there are no reprisals for perceived collaboration or affiliation with an opposing camp,” the High Commissioner said.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine was created in March to collect information on possible human rights violations. The mission consists of 35 staff members working in such cities as Kiev, Lviv, Odessa, Donetsk and Kharkiv, Itar-Tass notes.
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