With 33 votes in favor, two against and twelve abstentions, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on Thursday according to which it will increase the scrutiny of the “deterioration of the situation of fundamental guarantees in Ukraine derived from Russian aggression” .
The document calls for the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine to investigate “thoroughly and independently” the events that occurred in the areas of the Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Sumy regions at the end of February and in March 2022, including a of genre.
It also requests that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights present an oral update to the Council on the dire humanitarian and human rights situation in the port city of Mariupol.
The number of complaints likely to be war crimes grows
Before the vote, Michelle Bachelet informed the Council that her Office continues to verify the allegations of violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law in Ukraine, many of which may amount to war crimes.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reiterated that the vast majority of victims continue to be caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, such as heavy artillery shelling.
“To date, more than a thousand civilian bodies have been recovered in the Kyiv region alone. Some of these people died in hostilities, others appear to have been summarily executed,” he explained, and indicated that others died due to the deterioration in their health caused by the hostilities and the lack of medical care.
He also stated that in the village of Yahidne, in the northern region of Chernihiv, 360 residents, including 74 children and five people with disabilities, were forced by the Russian armed forces to stay for 28 days in the basement of a school that they used as base.
“The basement was extremely crowded. People had to sit for days without being able to lie down. There were no sanitary facilities, water or ventilation. Ten elderly people died.”
Similarly, he reported some 300 illegal killings with elements pointing to summary executions in northern kyiv.
“These killings of civilians often appear to be intentional, carried out by snipers and soldiers. Civilians were killed when they crossed the road or left their shelters to look for food and water. Others were killed as they fled in their vehicles,” she detailed.
Mariupol, a shattered city
Regarding the port city of Mariupol, he indicated that its inhabitants “have suffered unimaginable horrors” since the beginning of the Russian offensive and expressed his dismay “at the magnitude of the destruction and the numerous violations of international human rights law and international law. humanitarian international.
“A once flourishing city is in ruins. We estimate that the civilian death toll in Mariupol is in the thousands, and only in time will the true scale of the atrocities, casualties and damage be known,” he summarized.
He located the current hostilities in the industrial zone of the Azovstal steel plant and pointed out that the residential areas of the city are mainly occupied by the Russian armed forces and affiliated groups.
Bachelet’s Office is also investigating complaints of sexual violence, of which it has verified a dozen throughout the country, and continues to document cases of enforced disappearances, which it numbered at 204 since February 24 (169 men, 34 women, one child).
The impact of war on children’s education
Meanwhile, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Joyce Msuya, and the Executive Director of UNICEF Programs, Omar Abdi, gave reports on the situation of children and their education in Ukraine, at a Security Council session on the topic requested by the representations of Mexico and France.
In her speech, Joyce Msuya reported that the intensity of the fighting causes immense suffering to the entire population, although she stated that the women and children are paying the highest price of the conflict.
“Recent reports about the bombing of a Luhansk school, where women and children were seeking shelter from the fighting, are abhorrent and they must be condemned. Hostilities in populated areas are extremely destructive,” Msuya stressed.
The deputy head of Humanitarian Affairs also referred to the presence of mines and unexploded explosive devices, which make it difficult to distribute vital aid to the population in need, and asked that make demining a priorityespecially in eastern Ukraine, an area that even before the war was one of the most contaminated in the world with these weapons.
“I urge the parties to the conflict to remove any barriers to the movement of humanitarian personnel to ensure the continued delivery of life-saving assistance throughout Ukraine,” he said.
Regarding the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol, Msuya said that it is a ray of hope and recognized the goodwill of the parties to make it possible, noting that this showed “a common ground to build on”.
The horrors of war plague children
In his turn at the microphone, the head of UNICEF Programs warned that every day that passes more Ukrainian children are exposed to the horrors of war and explained that just last month, his office verified the murder of a hundred little ones. “But we think the real numbers are considerably higher,” she said.
Omar Abdi lamented that more children have been injured and confronted serious violations of their rightsplus millions have been displaced.
“The schools continue to be attacked and used for military purposes and water and sanitation infrastructure is affected. The war in Ukraine, like all wars, is a crisis of protection and rights of children,” she pointed out.
To highlight the effects on education, he explained that the school year stopped when war broke outAy said that as of last week, at least 15 of the 89 UNICEF-supported schools in eastern Ukraine had been damaged or destroyed since the start of the conflagration.
Abdi argued that schools are a lifebuoy for childrenespecially in conflict situations, since they offer a safe space and establish routines that protect them and provide an appearance of normalcy.
In addition, schools are places for information on the risks of deadly explosive devices and serve as a connector for essential health and psychosocial services, he argued.
War harms all the world’s vulnerable children
Abi also highlighted the impact that the war in Ukraine has had on the world’s most vulnerable children given that Food and fuel prices hit record highs historical.
“Children already affected by conflict and climate crises around the world, from Afghanistan to Yemen to the Horn of Africa, now they are paying a deadly price for another war away from their gates. The repercussions of the war in Ukraine will continue to affect the whole world, ”she warned, urging an end to the conflagration for the benefit of the future of children.