Hostilities decrease in Ukraine, but people "continue to die"

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Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

Although hostilities in Ukraine have decreased considerably in recent months, people "continue to die" in the country.

That's according to a top UN human rights official, who said that explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices continue to hurt and kill people in Ukraine.

Veronica Reeves has the story.

In a briefing to the Security Council on Friday, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic said the last several months had been marked by a dramatic decline in hostilities in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, Mr Simonovic lamented, civilians remained in harm's way.

"People, however, continue to die; increasingly from explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices.  The share of civilian causalities including (deaths and injuries) caused by explosive remnants and improvised explosive devices in recent months stands at about 80 per cent."

Mr Simonovic said there was an urgent need for extensive mine action activities, including mapping and mine-risk education initiatives.

He went on to warn that the current relative calm could be part of a repeating pattern seen previously in eastern Ukraine of decreasing and then increasing hostilities. 

Since April 2014, more than 9,100 people have died in the region due to the conflict, although Mr Simonovic called that a "conservative" estimate.

Veronica Reeves, United Nations.

Duration: 1'06"

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