HomeUnited NationsUkrainians suffer Russia-imposed ‘violence, intimidation, and coercion’

Ukrainians suffer Russia-imposed ‘violence, intimidation, and coercion’

After Ukraine reclaimed territories previously held by Russia, many of these violations ceased. However, some residents deemed to be collaborators have suffered a backlash, he continued. “The imposition of the Russian Federation’s legal and administrative systems has resulted in people in Crimea being charged and convicted, sometimes retroactively, for acts that are not crimes under Ukrainian law,” Mr. Turk said.

Ten years of occupation in Crimea

He also noted the conscription of men in Crimea, forced to fight against their own country.  “History has shown us that the legacy of occupation is painful, complex and long-lasting,” he added, encouraging Ukraine to adopt a comprehensive approach to accountability, based on broad and inclusive consultations. “They have actively encouraged people to inform on one another, breeding fear and distrust between neighbors and friends,” he added.“It is time to put an end to this war and occupation and to commence healing the deep wounds and painful divisions they have caused,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights underscored.

Generalized impunity

More than 10,500 civilians have been killed, more than 20,000 injured over the past two years of “immense suffering, bloodshed, loss and grief”, the UN rights chief reminded, noting that actual figures are likely to be “significantly higher”.  Holding Russian citizenship is increasingly necessary to access vital services, social security, and employment, Volker Türk noted, saying also that people in the occupied territory were pressured to vote in Russian elections.He highlighted the plight of prisoners of war and Russia’s ongoing abuses: “My Office has recorded allegations of the executions of at least 32 captured Ukrainian PoWs in twelve separate incidents”.In an atmosphere of “generalized impunity” those actions have created “a pervasive climate of fear, which has allowed the Russian Federation to solidify its control”.“Russian occupying authorities have quashed peaceful protests, restricted free expression, imposed strict controls over residents’ movements, and pillaged homes and businesses”, he said.Targeting of individuals deemed “pro-Ukrainian” and posing security risks have expanded while Russia has closed down Ukrainian internet providers, mobile networks, TV, and radio, rerouting communications through Russian networks.[embedded content]

Collaborators facing reprisals

The rights violations began 10 years ago with the occupation of Crimea by Russian forces, he reminded citing a recent report by the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR).Others have been convicted for actions permissible under international humanitarian law when compelled by an occupying power. Additionally, instances of torture, arbitrary detention, and infringements on fair trial rights were documented by OHCHR against some accused of collaboration.Russian armed forces, the Human Rights Commissioner said, have committed widespread violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including unlawful killings, torture, enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detention in occupied areas.

‘Commence healing’

Some have been prosecuted for performing routine tasks in their communities during the occupation, often under pressure or coercion, said Mr. Türk. Over two years since the invasion began, “harrowing stories of human suffering” unfold in the country every day, High Commissioner Türk told the UN Human Rights Council via a video statement, expressing concern that “the world has grown numb to this crisis”.“The tragedy in Ukraine has gone on for too long. I call – again – on the Russian Federation to cease its armed attack,” Mr. Türk said, imploring the Russian authorities to take immediate action to conduct investigations into each allegation of execution of PoWs, and to take steps to end their torture and ill-treatment. 

HRC55 | UN human rights chief Volker Türk reports “harrowing human suffering” in Ukraine The occupation has expanded to parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions since the February 2022 invasion.


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