UN warns of serious human rights violations in eastern Ukraine

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Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines plane in eastern Ukraine may constitute a war crime, according to the UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay.

She said the 17 July incident was a violation of international law, and called for prompt, through, independent and impartial investigations.

In a report detailing human rights violations is eastern Ukraine, the High Commissioner says there is a total breakdown of law and order in the region with armed groups inflicting a reign of fear and terror over the civilian population.

The report says over 1,100 people have been killed and more than 3,400 wounded in eastern Ukraine since mid-April.

It says armed groups were involved in abductions, detention, torture and execution in order to intimidate and to exercise their power over the civilian population.

Gianni Magazzeni from the UN Human Rights Office says there is a proliferation of sophisticated weapons into the region adding that both government and armed groups were using heavy weaponry including artillery, tanks, rockets and missiles in civilian areas.

“More needs to be done to protect the lives of innocent people and bring perpetrators to account. The report describes the rapid escalation of hostilities that has occurred in the Donetsk and Luhasnk region of Ukraine especially since the end of the ceasefire on 30 June. The report also notes the professionalization of the armed groups with increasingly well organised and well equipped military, led both politically and militarily by citizens of the Russian Federation. We are noticing instances of hate speech in the social media especially. Our monitors have reported that journalists in Luhansk have been threatened, some of the licences withdrawn or they have seen their equipment destroyed.”

The report says over 100,00 people have been displaced from their homes in eastern Ukraine.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1.56″

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