Dokumentation: Die Lage der Menschenrechte in der Ukraine
Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine (OHCHR, 15 June 2014)
I. Executive Summary
- The present report is based on findings of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) covering the period of 7 May – 7 June 2014. It follows two reports on the human rights situation in Ukraine released by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on 15 April and 16 May 2014.
- During the reporting period, the human rights situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions has continued to deteriorate. The 11 March "referendum" on "self-rule" held by the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People’s Republic" and "Luhansk People’s Republic", albeit without effect under international law, was seen by their representatives as the first step to the creation of a "Novorossia". In addition, armed groups have continued to physically occupy most of the key public and administrative buildings in many cities and towns of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and have declared virtual "independence", however, the provision of administrative services to the local population remains with the State.
- The presence of armed people and weapons in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk has increased. Representatives of the "Donetsk People’s Republic" have recognised the presence within their armed groups of citizens of the Russian Federation, including from Chechnya and other republics of the North Caucasus. In the period following the elections, the HRMMU observed armed men on trucks and armoured vehicles moving around downtown Donetsk in daylight.
- The escalation in criminal activity resulting in human rights abuses is no longer limited to targeting journalists, elected representatives, local politicians, civil servants and civil society activists. Abductions, detentions, acts of ill-treatment and torture, and killings by armed groups are now affecting the broader population of the two eastern regions, which are now marked by an atmosphere of intimidation and consequent fear. Armed groups must be urged to stop their illegal activities and lay down their arms.
- There has also been more regular and intense fighting as the Government has been trying to restore peace and security over the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk through security operations involving its armed forces. Local residents of areas affected by the fighting are increasingly being caught in the cross-fire between the Ukrainian military and armed groups, with a growing number of residents killed and wounded, and damage to property. The HRMMU is concerned at the increasing number of reports of enforced disappearances as a result of the security operations. The Government must further use restraint of force, and ensure that its security operations are at all times in line with international standards.
- As a result of these developments, residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions live in a very insecure environment, coupled with social and economic hardships. Daily life is more and more of a challenge. The HRMMU is gravely concerned that the combination of the increased number of illegal acts by the armed groups, and the intensification of fighting between armed groups and Ukrainian forces is raising serious human rights concerns, including but not limited to, the fate of the general population, especially women and children, in the areas under the control of armed groups.
- As of 6 June, the departments of social protection in Ukraine’s regions had identified over 12,700 internally displaced persons (IDPs). However, the actual number of people who have fled the violence and fighting in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk is believed to be higher and increasing daily.
- Freedom of expression continues to be threatened, particularly in the eastern regions, where journalists face ongoing intimidation and threats to their physical security. Hate speech, particularly through social media, continue to fuel tensions and to deepen division between communities.
- In Crimea, the introduction of Russian Federation legislation, in contradiction with the United Nations General Assembly resolution 68/262 and applicable bodies of international law, hampers the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It has created a legislative limbo as, while Ukrainian legislation was supposed to remain in force until 1 January 2015, the legal institutions and framework are already required to comply with the provisions of legislation of the Russian Federation.
- Residents in Crimea known for their "Pro-Ukrainian" position are intimidated. The HRMMU is concerned that many may face increasing discrimination, particularly in the areas of education and employment. Leaders and activists of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people face prosecution and limitations on the enjoyment of their cultural rights. During the reporting period, the situation of all residents of Crimea has deteriorated with regard to their right to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, association, religion or belief.
- From 14 to 19 May, Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović travelled to Ukraine. During his visits to Kyiv, Donetsk and Odesa, he discussed the 16 May report with the Government, regional and local officials, the Ombudsperson and representatives of civil society, and the international community. The ASG highlighted the importance of prompt follow-up to the recommendations made in the OHCHR report as a means to de-escalate tensions, in particular ahead of the Presidential elections.
- The investigations under the Office of the Prosecutor General into the Maidan events continued. On 28 May, a Kyiv court sentenced two police officers who subjected a Maidan demonstrator to ill-treatment. On 15 May, relatives of those killed on Maidan, dissatisfied with the perceived slowness of the official investigation, created an initiative group to conduct their own investigation. The HRMMU remains in regular contact with the Office of the Prosecutor General and emphasizes the need for the investigation to be transparent, comprehensive and timely.
- With respect to the incidents that took place in Odesa on 2 May, it should be noted that six official investigations have been established. The main bodies undertaking such investigations are the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the State Security Service in Ukraine (SBU). It is with regret that the HRMMU reports a lack of cooperation from both governmental bodies, particularly at the central level with the HRMMU, which has been preventing the HRMMU from conducting a proper assessment of the progress made. The HRMMU reiterates the need for prompt and thorough investigations into the violent incidents on 2 May in Odesa. Some key questions must be addressed to ensure confidence in the investigation and to guarantee accountability, due process and to enable the communities to accept fully the results of such an investigation. Among those questions are the conduct of the police on 2 May: why it, and the fire brigade, either did not react, or were slow to react; what caused the fire in the Trade Union building; who are the perpetrators of the killings in the afternoon and the fire in the evening; and what measures are being taken to guarantee justice for the victims, and due process for the people detained in connection with these events. Furthermore, the Government must pay particular attention to ensure social media is not used for hate speech or incitement to hatred.
- A key development during the reporting period was the Presidential election held on 25 May 2014. There were 21 candidates officially on the ballot. On 3 June, the Central Election Commission (CEC) confirmed that Mr. Petro Poroshenko had won with 54.7% of the vote. In the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, attacks had taken place every day during the week preceding the elections and multiplied on election day, with violent obstruction of polling stations. The pattern of such attacks consisted of representatives of the "Donetsk People’s Republic" and the "Luhansk People’s Republic" and armed men entering the premises of the district election commissions, threatening staff and sometimes beating and/or abducting them, often taking away voters’ lists, computers and official documents. In some cases, the premises of these commissions were seized and blocked; others had to close either because they became inoperative, or for security reasons the staff were frightened to come back. Several attacks against district election commissions and polling stations were reported just prior to, and on, the election day, with armed men entering polling stations, forcing them to close and/or destroying or stealing ballot boxes. These illegal acts prevented many people living in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to exercise their right to vote.
- Residents of Crimea had to go to mainland Ukraine to vote. The HRMMU monitored the situation in the Kherson region, where most of the Crimean voters had registered, and spoke to representatives of the Crimean Tatars. As they crossed the administrative border by car to go to vote, representatives of "self-defence forces" reportedly recorded various personal details, including car license plates and passport numbers. The HRMMU was informed that many Crimean Tatars did not go to vote due to the cost of travelling, concerns about crossing the administrative border, and fear of reprisals by the authorities in Crimea.
- During the reporting period, the Government of Ukraine continued to implement the Geneva Statement. National roundtables on constitutional reform, decentralization, minority rights and the rule of law were held in Kyiv on 14 May, in Kharkiv on 17 May, and in Mykolaiv on 21 May. These meetings brought together former Presidents Kravchuk and Kuchma, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, political party leaders, members of the business community and other civil society organizations. In Kharkiv, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk declared that the Constitution should be amended in order to provide a special status for the Russian language and national minority languages.
- On 13 May, the Parliament adopted the Law "On amending some legislative acts in the area of state anti-corruption policy in connection with the implementation of the European Union (EU) Action Plan on the liberalisation of the visa regime for Ukraine". The Law provides for more stringent penalties for corruption offences committed by individuals or legal entities.
- On 20 May, Parliament adopted by resolution No. 4904 the Memorandum of Concord and Peace, which was drafted during the roundtable on national unity in Kharkiv on 17 May, and discussed on 21 May in Mykolaiv. Supported by 252 votes (all deputies except the Communist Party of Ukraine and Svoboda), the document foresees that the adoption of a constitutional reform package, including the decentralization of power and a special status for the Russian language; judicial and police reform, and the adoption of an amnesty law for anti-government protesters in the east who would accept giving up weapons, except for those who have committed serious crimes against life and physical integrity. The Parliament called on all to work together to protect, promote and build a democratic Ukraine, and the peaceful coexistence of all nationalities, religions and political convictions.
Im November 2013 begannen in Kiew die Massendemonstrationen für eine Annäherung der Ukraine an die EU. Dem "Euromajdan" folgten der völkerrechtlich umstrittene Anschluss der Krim an die Russische Föderation sowie die militärische Eskalation mit prorussischen Separatisten im Osten des Landes. Wie könnte es weitergehen? Weiter...