Atrocities in Ukraine focus of Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva

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During this session, the Council voted to strengthen the examination of the “deterioration of the human rights situation in Ukraine following the Russian aggression”, in view of the events in Mariupol and in several other cities . The text was adopted by 33 votes in favour, 2 votes against and 12 abstentions, out of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council.

As a growing number of reports and testimonies point to possible war crimes in Ukraine, particularly in areas controlled until recently by Russian forces, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights , Michelle Bachelet, said the pattern of abuse continued to be caused “by the use of long-range explosive weapons” in populated areas, such as heavy artillery fire, including systems multiple rocket launchers, and air and missile strikes”.

Russian forces are probably responsible for most of the civilian casualties, but also Ukrainian troops – albeit to a much lesser extent – the UN human rights chief said in a video message.

live in fear

Highlighting the latest harrowing findings by UN investigators in the Kyiv and Cherniviv regions, Bachelet said 1,000 civilian bodies had been found in the Kyiv region alone. Some had been killed during the hostilities, but others appeared to have been summarily executed.

“These killings of civilians often appeared to be intentional, carried out by snipers and soldiers. Civilians were killed crossing the road or leaving their shelters to look for food and water. Others were killed as they fled in their vehicles,” Bachelet said.

“In the village of Katiuzhanka, Kyiv region, a young couple, their 14-year-old daughter and a grandfather were shot dead by Russian soldiers as they tried to drive home. The parents were killed, while the child received two gunshot wounds,” she added.

Still others died due to stress on their health caused by the hostilities and the lack of medical aid, the High Commissioner continued, describing how people had been forced to spend weeks in basements because They were threatened by Russian soldiers with ‘abuse or death’ if they tried to leave.

Discriminatory treatment of people of African descent

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, independent UN-appointed human rights experts have highlighted deep concerns about violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, including the Charter of the United Nations.

This notably includes an alert on the apparent mistreatment of some of the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers and foreign nationals in Ukraine.

“Colleagues have also noted with deep concern reports that people of African descent and racial and ethnic minorities are being subjected to discriminatory treatment as they flee Ukraine,” the Coordinating Committee Chair said. special procedures, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, insisting that “the lives of all the inhabitants of Ukraine are in danger, including ethnic, national, linguistic and religious minorities”.

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