Ukraine civilians face ongoing rights violations

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The UN report highlighted how both sides in the conflict have failed to put civilians’ safety first. Photo: UNHCR

The unresolved conflict in Ukraine continues to claim civilian lives and leave thousands of people at risk from a host of rights violations, the UN warned on Thursday.

In a new report into the insurgency which began in 2014, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) cites that communities on the front line in the east of the country are still at risk from fighting, mines and unexploded munitions.

The UN dossier also details the ongoing alleged prosecution of Crimean Tatars and members of groups banned in the Russian Federation.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The message from the UN Human Rights Office report is clear: failure to resolve Ukraine's more than two-year conflict continues to have a devastating effect on civilians.

In the contested eastern regions bordering the Russian Federation, communities face the daily challenge of staying alive amid fighting going on around them.

Citing damage to schools, medical facilities and nurseries, the report's authors say it is of "deep concern" that both the government and armed opposition groups are not doing enough to keep non-combatants out of harm's way.

The ongoing violence comes despite attempts to get both sides to implement a peace accord agreed in September 2014.

Every day, 25,000 men, women and children make the arduous journey across the contact line in Donetsk and Luhansk to see their families.

They cross the three kilometre zone on foot, in freezing conditions and often after long delays at checkpoints, where some have claimed that they were victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

Accounts of abuse and "ongoing sanctions" have also been recorded in the southern Autonomous Republic of Crimea, whose status is not recognized by the UN.

According to the report's authors, Crimean Tatars face ongoing persecution, and there's also concern that detainees are being sent to penitentiary facilities in the Russian Federation.

To date, OHCHR estimates the death toll at more than 9,700 people; this includes 2,000 civilians.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’20″ 

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