OHCHR calls Ukrainian sailors captured by Russia POWs, urges Moscow to provide them with medical assistance, access to lawyers
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said Ukrainian sailors captured by the Russian Federation in the Kerch Strait could be considered prisoners of war (POWs) and urged Moscow to provide medical assistance and access to lawyers and consuls.
"OHCHR also notes that Ukrainian crew members apprehended by Russian authorities in the Kerch Strait on 25 November 2018 could be considered as prisoners of war and protected under the Third Geneva Convention. In any case, they shall enjoy the status of a prisoner of war until a competent tribunal determines otherwise," the OHCHR said in a report on the human rights situation in Ukraine from November 16, 2018 to February 15, 2019.
The UN also called on the Russian Federation to provide humane treatment to members of the crews of Ukrainian ships, proper medical assistance to the above-mentioned persons and unrestricted access for Ukrainian consular officials and lawyers to them.
In addition, the OHCHR noted that, as of February 15, 2019, Russian authorities refuse to apply international humanitarian law to the incident and grant the status of prisoners of war to detained crew members.