OHCHR / UKRAINE BACHELET HRC

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12-May-2022 00:04:46
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said at the Human Rights Council’s special session on Ukraine that her Office continues to verify allegations of violations of international human rights law and of international humanitarian law, many of which may amount to war crimes. UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / UKRAINE BACHELET HRC
TRT: 4:46
SOURCE: UNTV
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 12 MAY 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, exterior Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, room 20 Palais des Nations
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“My Office continues to verify allegations of violations of international human rights law and of international humanitarian law, many of which may amount to war crimes. Since the fourth day of the Russian Federation’s armed attack in Ukraine, my Office has been publishing daily updates on civilian casualties. We have consistently stressed that actual figures are likely considerably higher, as our figures only refer to those cases that we have been able to verify. In areas of intense hostilities – notably, Mariupol – it has been difficult for my staff to gain access and obtain and corroborate information,” said the High Commissioner.
4. Med shot, camera crew room 20 Palais des Nations
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The pattern of causes of civilian casualties that my Office has been recording in Ukraine has not significantly changed since the last time I briefed this body. The vast majority continue to be caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, such as shelling from heavy artillery, including multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes. According to our information, while such incidents can be attributed to both parties to the conflict, most of these casualties appear attributable to the Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups."
6. Wide shot, room 20 Palais des Nations
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“My team heard first-hand accounts of relatives, neighbors and friends being killed, injured, detained and disappeared. This was the second OHCHR visit to these regions, and it pains me to imagine how many visits will be needed to document only a fraction of the egregious human rights violations that have occurred there.”
8. Med shot, room 20 Palais des Nations
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The scale of unlawful killings, including indicia of summary executions in areas to the north of Kyiv is shocking. While we have information about 300 such killings, the figures will continue to increase as new evidence becomes available. These killings of civilians often appeared to be intentional, carried out by snipers and soldiers. Civilians were killed when crossing the road or leaving their shelters to seek food and water. Others were killed as they fled in their vehicles. Unarmed local men were killed because Russian soldiers suspected them of supporting Ukrainian forces or otherwise being a potential threat, and some were tortured before being killed. In the village of Katiuzhanka, Kyiv region, a young couple, their 14-year old daughter and a grandfather were shot by Russian soldiers while trying to drive to their house. The parents were killed, while the child received two gunshot wounds.”
10. Med shot, room 20 Palais des Nations
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“We estimate the civilian death toll in Mariupol to lie in the thousands, while only with time will the true scale of casualties and damage become clear. Active hostilities are now focused on the Azovstal industrial area, with residential areas of the city now largely occupied by the Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups. This raises human rights concerns of a different nature than those arising in areas of active hostilities.”
12. Med shot, room 20 Palais des Nations
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“My office is looking into allegations of sexual violence and has verified a dozen cases across the country. I am concerned by allegations of sexual violence that have emerged from areas in the Kyiv region that were formerly under the control of Russian armed forces. There were instances of rape and murder of victims or their relatives. Survivors are often unwilling to be interviewed because of fear and stigma. Women and girls are the most frequently cited victims; however, reports of men and boys being affected are starting to emerge.”
14. Med shot, room 20 Palais des Nations
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The only way to bring a stop to further violations is to end the hostilities. That must remain the primary objective. However, while hostilities continue and for as long as they last, all parties must give clear instructions to their combatants to protect civilians and persons hors de combat, as well as to distinguish between civilian and military objects.”
17. Med shot, room 20 Palais des Nations
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Those in command of armed forces must make it clear to their members that anyone found to have been involved in such violations will be prosecuted and held accountable.”

STORYLINE:

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said at the Human Rights Council’s special session on Ukraine that her Office continues to verify allegations of violations of international human rights law and of international humanitarian law, many of which may amount to war crimes.

Addressing the Council on Thursday (11 May). she said that, since the fourth day of the Russian Federation’s armed attack in Ukraine, her Office has been publishing daily updates on civilian casualties, but actual figures are likely considerably higher.

“The pattern of causes of civilian casualties that my Office has been recording in Ukraine has not significantly changed since the last time I briefed this body. The vast majority continue to be caused by the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas, such as shelling from heavy artillery, including multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.

According to our information, while such incidents can be attributed to both parties to the conflict, most of these casualties appear attributable to the Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups," Bachelet added.

Last week, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine visited 14 towns and villages in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions which, until the end of March, were controlled by Russian armed forces.

“My team heard first-hand accounts of relatives, neighbors and friends being killed, injured, detained and disappeared. This was the second OHCHR visit to these regions, and it pains me to imagine how many visits will be needed to document only a fraction of the egregious human rights violations that have occurred there,” she said.

To date, over 1,000 civilian bodies have been recovered in the Kyiv region alone. Some of these people were killed in hostilities, others appear to have been summarily executed. Others still have died because of stress to their health caused by hostilities and the lack of medical aid. They have spent weeks in basements being threatened by Russian soldiers with abuse or death if they tried to leave, thereby placing these individuals at severe risk from the hostilities. In the village of Yahidne in Chernihiv region, 360 residents, including 74 children and five persons with disabilities, were forced by Russian armed forces to stay for 28 days in the basement of a school that they were using as their base. The basement was extremely overcrowded. People had to sit for days without an opportunity to lie down. There were no toilet facilities, water or ventilation. Ten older people died.

“The scale of unlawful killings, including indicia of summary executions in areas to the north of Kyiv is shocking. While we have information about 300 such killings, the figures will continue to increase as new evidence becomes available. These killings of civilians often appeared to be intentional, carried out by snipers and soldiers. Civilians were killed when crossing the road or leaving their shelters to seek food and water. Others were killed as they fled in their vehicles. Unarmed local men were killed because Russian soldiers suspected them of supporting Ukrainian forces or otherwise being a potential threat, and some were tortured before being killed. In the village of Katiuzhanka, Kyiv region, a young couple, their 14-year old daughter and a grandfather were shot by Russian soldiers while trying to drive to their house. The parents were killed, while the child received two gunshot wounds,” the High Commissioner stated.

The city of Mariupol and its residents have suffered unimaginable horrors since the Russian Federation’s armed attack started.

“We estimate the civilian death toll in Mariupol to lie in the thousands, while only with time will the true scale of casualties and damage become clear. Active hostilities are now focused on the Azovstal industrial area, with residential areas of the city now largely occupied by the Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups. This raises human rights concerns of a different nature than those arising in areas of active hostilities,” she added.

“My office is looking into allegations of sexual violence and has verified a dozen cases across the country. I am concerned by allegations of sexual violence that have emerged from areas in the Kyiv region that were formerly under the control of Russian armed forces. There were instances of rape and murder of victims or their relatives. Survivors are often unwilling to be interviewed because of fear and stigma. Women and girls are the most frequently cited victims; however, reports of men and boys being affected are starting to emerge,” she said.

The Mission also spoke to people who are searching for their relatives and friends. It has documented some cases of Russian armed forces having detained civilians, mostly young men, and then transferred them to Belarus and then Russia, where they have been held in pre-trial detention centres. Overall, since 24 February, the mission have documented 204 cases of enforced disappearance (169 men, 34 women, 1 boy), the overwhelming majority of them by Russian armed forces and affiliated armed groups.

The Un Human rights mission has also documented ten cases of possible enforced disappearances of people considered to be pro-Russian in Government controlled territory which appear to have been committed by Ukrainian law enforcement officials. Seven of those victims have since been reportedly released. The UN human rights Monitoring Mission is also following cases of conflict-related detainees in Government-controlled areas that raise fair trial concerns.

“The only way to bring a stop to further violations is to end the hostilities. That must remain the primary objective. However, while hostilities continue and for as long as they last, all parties must give clear instructions to their combatants to protect civilians and persons hors de combat, as well as to distinguish between civilian and military objects,” Bachelet added.

“Those in command of armed forces must make it clear to their members that anyone found to have been involved in such violations will be prosecuted and held accountable,” she said.

In conclusion, the High Commissioner urged both parties to the conflict to fully respect their obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including to investigate all allegations of violations, and above all to commit to protecting every civilian woman, man and child and those hors de combat.
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