Over past six months, some 51% more civilians killed, wounded in Donbas than in previous six months – UN Mission
From February 1 to July 31, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 62 civilian deaths and injuries in eastern Ukraine, up 51% from the previous six months, according to a human rights report Human Rights in Ukraine, prepared by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
"The number of ceasefire violations in the conflict zone considerably increased resulting in increased civilian casualties and damage to civilian objects. From 1 February to 31 July, OHCHR recorded 62 civilian casualties: 15 killed and 47 injured. Some 51% increase compared with the preceding six months," Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Matilda Bogner at the presentation of the report in Kyiv on Thursday.
She said this trend continues as heavy fighting in August and early September resulted in 16 civilian casualties, with two killed and 14 injured. "This is the highest monthly data since June 2020," Bogner said.
The HRMMU head said that restrictions on freedom of movement due to coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to be a heavy burden for civilians who need to cross the contact line. "From February 1 to July 31, the number of crossings of the contact line in both directions decreased by 95% compared to the same period before the pandemic in 2019," she said.
Bogner said that during HRMMU visits to settlements on both sides of the contact line, residents expressed their frustration with access to water and sanitation, health care, lack of public services, public transport and passable roads.
Regarding the transitional bill, Bogner said while it contains some provisions that the HRMMU welcomes, she is concerned that it is structured around the definition of "transitional justice," which does not meet international standards and does not provide a victim-centered approach.
The 32nd HRMMU report on human rights in Ukraine covers six months of monitoring from February 1 to July 31, 2021. The report draws on observations from 92 field visits, some 12 visits to places of detention, some 82 court hearings and 75 assemblies, and 1,156 in-depth interviews with victims and witnesses of human rights violations and other stakeholders.