Ukraine: Hostilities decrease but human rights concerns remain

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A hospital in Sloviansk, Ukraine, which was destroyed by shelling. File Photo: UNICEF Ukraine/Pavel Zmey

Despite a "significant reduction" in hostilities in eastern Ukraine over the past months, serious human rights concerns persist, including continuing impunity, torture and the absence of the rule of law.

That's according to a UN human rights report launched on Wednesday which says that although the fighting has slowed down since August, the situation is still volatile.

The report reveals that conflict between government forces and separatist rebels has killed more than 9,000 people since April 2014.

Dianne Penn reports.

The report credits the decrease in hostilities to a so-called "ceasefire within the ceasefire" of 26 August.

However, it says the situation is "highly flammable" due to an inflow of ammunition, weaponry and fighters from the Russian Federation to territories controlled by the armed groups.

The report also reveals serious human rights abuses against people in areas controlled by the self-proclaimed "Donetsk people's republic" and "Luhansk people's republic."

Violations include killings, torture, ill-treatment, illegal detention and forced labour, and lack of freedom of movement, assembly and expression.

Meanwhile, the situation for some 800,000 people living along both sides of the contact line has been "particularly difficult," according to the report.

The UN Human Rights High Commissioner has reminded all parties to the conflict that they can be held criminally accountable for human rights abuses.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'03"


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