UN human rights team deployed to Ukraine to monitor violationsListen /
The United Nations is deploying a human rights monitoring team throughout Ukraine to help establish the facts surrounding human rights violations, including in Crimea, and de-escalate tensions in the country.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović who is currently in Ukraine says there was a need to have an objective and independent establishment of the facts and circumstances surrounding human rights violations in the country.
Addressing a news conference in Kiev, Mr. Šimonović said there were conflicting reports regarding human rights violations in Ukraine and which could be manipulated for political ends, including incitement to hatred if the truth is not established.
He said chronic human rights violations were among the major reasons for the unrest in Ukraine in recent months.
Mr Šimonović expressed deep concern over the excessive use of force, extra-judicial killings, including by snipers, torture, disappearances and arbitrary detentions, during recent protests in Kiev and elsewhere in the country.
He added that independent, impartial and thorough investigations must be undertaken and perpetrators of human rights violations promptly brought to justice, regardless of their background, status or affiliation.
Mr Šimonović and the UN Human Rights Office staff were unable to visit Crimea on thursday as the authorities there stated that they could not receive the mission nor ensure its security.
He however said the lack of access does not prevent the UN team from assessing the human rights situation in Crimea.
At the request of the UN Secretary-General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr Šimonović has extended his mission and will remain in Ukraine until Tuesday, 18 March.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.