The UK thanks the High Commissioner for her update and welcomes the report on the human rights situation in Ukraine including Crimea and Sevastopol. We welcome the Government’s recent adoption of a Human Rights Strategy, but regret that it will not apply throughout Ukraine.
It is appalling that eight years on since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia continues to ignore its obligations under international law: Crimea remains illegally annexed, and its Ukrainian population faces a dire human rights situation. Human rights violations and abuses are ongoing: arbitrary arrests and detentions; intimidation of lawyers; and torture and ill-treatment. Russia continues to restrict freedoms of expression, association and of religion or belief, and to conscript Ukrainian citizens.
Russia holds at least 115 Ukrainian political prisoners in Crimea and Russia. We call for their immediate release. We are shocked by reports of torture of Ukrainian journalist Yevsypenko.
We also deplore reports of incommunicado detention; torture and ill treatment of detainees; severe restrictions on freedom of movement; and forced conscription in Non-Government Controlled Areas of eastern Ukraine. COVID 19 is no basis for the extent of restrictions on freedom of movement. We again call on Russia to ensure unrestricted access for international monitoring organisations to Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
Madam High Commissioner,
How can the international community do more to support human rights defenders in eastern Ukraine and Crimea?