Statement in Spanish by UN Watch
Item 10 – High Commissioner’s oral update on Ukraine
31st Human Rights Council, March 22 2016
Delivered by Ezequiel Podjarny
Read the translation of the video below
UN Watch thanks the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights for his oral update on Ukraine, as well as for the work of the Office of the High Commissioner in providing detailed and extensive reports on the situation in that country.
UN Watch welcomes the improvements noted in the report regarding the decrease in hostilities. However, we remain extremely concerned about the human rights situation in the Crimean Peninsula and other areas affected by the conflict. We propose three recommendations for immediate adoption:
Firstly, UN Watch endorses the recommendation of the High Commissioner for all parties to adhere to the Minsk Agreements. We believe that they represent the best chance for a peaceful political solution. All actors must contribute to the rebuilding process and the reinstatement of the rule of law and democratic institutions.
Secondly, and in the same spirit, we consider it urgent that the Russian-backed armed groups and the illegal de facto Russian authorities in Crimea allow local and international Civil Society organizations to conduct their activities without facing the restrictions mentioned in the report. Only then will there be adequate humanitarian assistance and the monitoring required to ensure accountability for human rights violations.
Thirdly, UN Watch urges an end to the ongoing persecution of Crimean Tatars on the basis of ethnicity reported by the High Commissioner. The designation of the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, the Mejlis, as an extremist organization and the restrictions applied to the freedom of expression of Tatars as well as other minorities is evidence of the increasingly discriminatory system that de facto authorities have set up in Crimea.
Mr. President, we would like to ask the Assistant Secretary-General how the international community can help ensure that Russian-backed armed groups and de facto authorities uphold their responsibility to respect human rights in the territories under their control.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Read the response given by the Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights to the question raised by UN Watch
Finally, UN Watch addressed again what can be done in sense of accountability, especially in armed group-controlled areas. I think I have already addressed this question.
There is limited possibility to effect implementation of justice in armed group controlled areas. I can just tell you that I have personally raised with top leadership of armed group controlled area the issue of their command responsibility under international humanitarian law, that they prevent violations and if they occur to punish them, otherwise they can be held responsible themselves.