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Intervention by Estonia at the UN Human Rights Council 35th Session under Item 10 update about Ukraine

21.06.2017

UN Human Rights Council, 35th Session

 

Intervention by ESTONIA

 

Item 10: Interactive dialogue on the UN High Commissioner’s oral update on UKRAINE

Geneva, 21st June 2017

 

Mr. President,

Distinguished High Commissioner,

 

Estonia thanks the High Commissioner for his update on Ukraine. We fully align ourselves with statement made by the European Union (EU).

 

Estonia is deeply concerned about the human rights situation in the areas of eastern Ukraine, including those currently not controlled by the government.

Security comes first in any conflict resolution process. Instead, we see continuing fighting on the ground, and harassment, intimidation and interference of the work of international monitors by Russian Federation’s proxies. In April, we witnessed the tragic death of a member of an OSCE patrol. The recent, 18th report of the OHCHR Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) describes an increase in civilian casualties. It is clear that the humanitarian situation on the ground cannot improve before the hostilities stop. In this light, we continue to call on parties for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

 

Crimea has now been illegally annexed by the Russian Federation for more than three years. The HRMMU report describes the Crimean illegal authorities retroactively applying criminal law of the Russian Federation, disregarding fair trial guarantees and compelling Crimean residents to serve in the armed forces of the Russian Federation, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. We are highly concerned about the systematic human rights violations, in particular against Crimean Tatars, indigenous peoples of Crimea, and all of the Ukrainian citizens who oppose the illegal annexation. The Russian Federation, who has de facto control of Crimea, should immediately release all political prisoners and stop the persecution of journalists critical of the Russian authorities.

Concerned by the fact that access to non-government controlled areas is becoming increasingly limited, we also urge for unrestricted access for Ukrainian and international human rights actors to the whole territory of Ukraine, including the Human Rights Commissioner of the Ukrainian Parliament.

 

Finally, we welcome the reform process in Ukraine that has continued despite the conflict and encourage the government of Ukraine to work with its civil society in further efforts. In this light, we also welcome the initiative brought by Ukraine to this council under item 10, and call on all UN Member States to support it.

 

Thank you.

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