UN releases report on human rights and security in eastern Ukraine
The United Nations has said that during January and early February 2015 the security and human rights situation in eastern Ukraine dramatically deteriorated.
After a relative lull in December, the security and human rights situation in eastern Ukraine "dramatically deteriorated" in January and early February, reads the ninth report issued by the UN Human Rights Mission in Ukraine.
The report was presented by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in Geneva on Monday.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has said the latest human rights monitoring report on the situation in Ukraine paints a picture of "merciless devastation of civilian lives and infrastructure.
"Women, children, the elderly and vulnerable groups have been particularly badly affected," he said.
Heavy civilian casualties from indiscriminate shelling of residential areas have occurred in both government-controlled areas, such as Avdiyika, Debaltseve, Popasna, Schastia and Stanytsia Luhanska, as well as cities controlled by illegal armed groups, including Donetsk and Horlivka, the report said.
"The human rights situation in Ukraine remains grave," the High Commissioner said, adding that recent challenges include a series of terrorist attacks in Kharkiv and Odesa, along with fears of another attack on Mariupol, where 31 people died on January 24.
"It is critically important for all sides to act according to the Minsk II Agreements and cease indiscriminate shelling and other military actions that result in the dreadful conditions civilians must live in – that is q violation of International Humanitarian Law and human rights," reads the report.
Although driven by security concerns, travel restrictions imposed by the Government on January 21 on movement in and out of areas where security operations are taking place have created new difficulties for civilians who are already living extremely precariously, according to the report.
"Yet the assumption that those who remain in territory controlled by armed groups do so by choice is both worrying and misguided. Many people stay because they fear for their lives if they try to move. Many others stay to protect children, other family members, or their property. And some are forced to stay against their will, or are simply physically unable to leave," Al Hussein said.