OHCHR / BACHELET UKRAINE HUMAN RIGHTS

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30-Mar-2022 00:03:39
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on the Russian Federation to “heed the clear and strong calls of the General Assembly and of this Council, and immediately act to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.” UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / BACHELET UKRAINE HUMAN RIGHTS
TRT: 03:54
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS
DATELINE: 30 MARCH 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 

SHOTLIST:

1.Wide shot, exterior, Palais des Nations
2.Wide shot, Room 20
3.Med shot, Bachelet on podium
4.SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“For more than one month now, the entire population of Ukraine has been enduring a living nightmare. The lives of millions of people are in upheaval as they are forced to flee their homes or hide in basements and bomb shelters as their cities are pummeled and destroyed.”
5. Wide shot, Room 20
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The hostilities must stop, without delay. Today, I call on the Russian Federation to heed the clear and strong calls of the General Assembly and of this Council, and immediately act to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.”
7. Wide shot, Room 20
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The persistent use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas is of immense concern. These weapons include missiles, heavy artillery shells and rockets, and airstrikes, causing massive destruction of and damage to civilian objects. In addition, my Office has received credible allegations that Russian armed forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times. We are also investigating allegations that Ukrainian armed forces have used such weapons.”
9. Wide shot, Room 20
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: “Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited under international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes. The massive destruction of civilian objects and the high number of civilian casualties strongly indicate that the fundamental principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution have not been sufficiently adhered to.”
11. Wide shot, Room 20
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Civilians are enduring immeasurable suffering, and the humanitarian crisis is critical. In many areas across the country, people urgently need medical supplies, food, water, shelter and basic household items. Above all, they need the bombs to cease, and the weapons to fall silent.”
13. Wide shot, Room 20
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“In the besieged city of Mariupol, people are living in sheer terror. The situation is worsening by the day, with constant shelling, fighting in the streets and people struggling to survive with the bare minimum of life’s necessities including food, water and medical supplies.”
15. Wide shot, Room 20
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“We are looking into allegations that some Mariupol residents have been forcibly evacuated, either to territory controlled by Russian-affiliated armed groups or to the Russian Federation.”
17. Wide shot, Room 20
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“I underscore that independent, objective reporting of the facts on the ground is absolutely vital to counter the harmful spread of misinformation and propaganda.”
19. Wide shot, Room 20
20. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Every day, my colleagues are listening to the heartbreaking stories of Ukrainians whose lives have been shattered by these brutal attacks. Just last week, they asked a simple question to a displaced man from a town in eastern Ukraine – ‘where are you from?’ His reply: ‘I am from Izium, a city that no longer exists.’ The terror and agony of the Ukrainian people is palpable and is being felt around the world. They want the war to stop, and to return to peace, safety and human dignity. It is long past time to heed their call.”

STORYLINE:

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called on the Russian Federation to “heed the clear and strong calls of the General Assembly and of this Council, and immediately act to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory.”

The UN human rights chief today (30 Mar) updated the Human Rights Council on the human rights and humanitarian crisis that has unfolded since the Russian armed attack began on 24 February.

“For more than one month now, the entire population of Ukraine has been enduring a living nightmare. The lives of millions of people are in upheaval as they are forced to flee their homes or hide in basements and bomb shelters as their cities are pummeled and destroyed,” Bachelet said.

In the five weeks since the conflict began, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has recorded at least 1,189 deaths of civilian men, women and children and at least 1,901 injuries. The UN Human Rights office realizes the actual figures are likely far higher. In many places of intensive hostilities, such as Mariupol and Volnovakha, it is very challenging to obtain a comprehensive picture.

The High Commissioner stated, “The persistent use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas is of immense concern. These weapons include missiles, heavy artillery shells and rockets, and airstrikes, causing massive destruction of and damage to civilian objects. In addition, my Office has received credible allegations that Russian armed forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times. We are also investigating allegations that Ukrainian armed forces have used such weapons.”

Homes and administrative buildings, hospitals and schools, water stations and electricity systems have not been spared. To date OHCHR has verified 77 incidents in which medical facilities were damaged to various degrees, including 50 hospitals, seven psycho-neurological facilities and 20 other medical facilities. Overall, 55 medical establishments were damaged, 10 destroyed, and two were looted. Actual numbers are again likely to be considerably higher, and reports of additional incidents are being corroborated by the Human Rights Monitoring Mission.

“Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited under international humanitarian law and may amount to war crimes. The massive destruction of civilian objects and the high number of civilian casualties strongly indicate that the fundamental principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution have not been sufficiently adhered to,” Bachelet said.

The High Commissioner added, “Civilians are enduring immeasurable suffering, and the humanitarian crisis is critical. In many areas across the country, people urgently need medical supplies, food, water, shelter and basic household items. Above all, they need the bombs to cease, and the weapons to fall silent.”

In several besieged cities, the UN Human Rights Office has noted a significant increase in mortality rates among civilians that can be attributed to disrupted medical care coupled with conflict-related deprivation and stress.

People with disabilities and older people face a particularly appalling humanitarian situation. Long-term care facilities are suffering a lack of food, heating, electricity, water and medication. Many residents who have chronic health conditions rely on others for care and are struggling to access bomb shelters or safe areas. At least one facility for bedridden patients and other people with disabilities, mostly older people, came under fire while its residents were inside, with dozens of alleged casualties.

The UN Human Rights office in Ukraine is working to establish the fate and whereabouts of survivors. Moreover, displaced people with disabilities, now staying at poorly equipped temporary facilities, often lack access to health care and rehabilitation services.

Since the beginning of the invasion, Russian armed forces have carried out attacks and military strikes on and near large cities, including Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Sievierodonetsk, Sumy, and Mariupol, and the capital, Kyiv.

“In the besieged city of Mariupol, people are living in sheer terror. The situation is worsening by the day, with constant shelling, fighting in the streets and people struggling to survive with the bare minimum of life’s necessities including food, water and medical supplies,” Bachelet said.

She added, “We are looking into allegations that some Mariupol residents have been forcibly evacuated, either to territory controlled by Russian-affiliated armed groups or to the Russian Federation.”

“Across Ukraine, the rights to life, liberty and security are under attack,” the High Commissioner stated. “Detention of civilians who are vocal about their pro-Ukrainian views in territories under control of Russian forces has become widespread.”

The UN Human Rights office has also received allegations of killings of two civilians considered to be affiliated with Russian armed forces or supporting pro-Russian views. There are reports of up to 350 conflict-related detentions by Ukrainian law enforcement officers including four cases where the individuals’ relatives received no information regarding their formal arrest, place of detention or their fate. Furthermore, Bachelet said she was very concerned by the abundance of videos available through open sources depicting interrogations of prisoners of war that have been taken by both Ukrainian and Russian forces.

They have also received some allegations of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, and have been working to corroborate them.

Additionally, freedom of expression is under threat. Every day, many journalists are courageously fighting a crucial battle against mounting misinformation and propaganda, often putting their own lives at great risk. Seven journalists and media workers have been killed since hostilities began, and another 15 have come under armed attack, nine of whom were injured. The UN Human Rights Office has also documented the arbitrary detention and the possible enforced disappearance of 22 journalists and civil society activists who have been vocal against the invasion in Kyiv, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions.

“I underscore that independent, objective reporting of the facts on the ground is absolutely vital to counter the harmful spread of misinformation and propaganda,” Bachelet said.

The devastating consequences of this war are being felt far outside Ukraine’s borders. Nearly a quarter of Ukraine’s population have been forced to flee - over 4 million people have fled the country since the attack began, and an estimated 6.5 million are internally displaced.

It is encouraging to see the outpouring of support offered to refugees by Ukraine’s neighbours and other countries around the world. I reiterate that it is essential to extend such welcome to all who have fled, without discrimination. I also urge destination countries to provide particular protection to women and children, many of whom face risks of human trafficking, including sexual and labour exploitation.

Additionally, a rise in Russophobia has been observed in a number of countries. The UN Human Rights Office continues to monitor this closely.

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine will continue its vital monitoring role. Despite the very difficult security context, staff in various parts of the country continue to document civilian casualties, the impact of hostilities and violations of human rights.

“Every day, my colleagues are listening to the heartbreaking stories of Ukrainians whose lives have been shattered by these brutal attacks. Just last week, they asked a simple question to a displaced man from a town in eastern Ukraine – “where are you from?” His reply: “I am from Izium, a city that no longer exists. The terror and agony of the Ukrainian people is palpable and is being felt around the world. They want the war to stop, and to return to peace, safety and human dignity. It is long past time to heed their call,” Bachelet said in conclusion.
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