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United Nations Human Rights Council 35th Session (6-23 June 2017)

Interactive Dialogue on High Commissioner Oral Update on Ukraine

Statement by Ireland

21 June 2017 

Ireland aligns itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union and adds the following.

Mr President,

Ireland wishes to express its thanks for this latest update on the human rights situation in Ukraine and for the invaluable work of the OHCHR and the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

Ireland is deeply concerned by the current volatile security situation in eastern Ukraine. The civilian population continues to be placed in unacceptable danger, whether from periodic upsurges in violence or the use of residential and civilian property for military purposes, in breach of international humanitarian law. We continue to see damage to civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and water treatment facilities, which are sometimes deliberately targeted. Regrettably, as the report points out, there is little evidence of any serious intention to implement the Minsk Agreements at present.

The report also records alarming new accounts of summary executions, arbitrary deprivation of liberty, and torture / ill treatment on both sides of the contact line.

The requirement for internally displaced persons to renew their bank registration in areas controlled by the Ukrainian government in order to access social security payments has placed a vulnerable population at increased risk when having to cross the contact line, and has further restricted their enjoyment of social and economic rights.

The risks posed by mines were tragically highlighted by the death of OSCE monitor Joseph Stone in April. Ireland deplores any and all threats to international monitors and restrictions on their freedom of movement. International human rights monitors must have full, free, and unhindered access to non-government controlled areas of eastern Ukraine as well as illegally annexed Crimea, where basic human rights continue to be breached by the authorities.

The ongoing targeting of the Crimean Tatar minority is unacceptable, as is the retroactive application of Russian law on the annexed peninsula.

Mr. High Commissioner,

The report concludes that these trends paint a bleak picture for future reconciliation and development in Ukraine. Ireland would welcome your assessment of the most urgent steps required to promote basic human rights and bring a renewed sense of hope to those most affected.