The UN Human Rights Council heard connected Wednesday that cardinal freedoms successful Ukraine person been squeezed successful Government-controlled areas, arsenic good arsenic crossed the interaction enactment successful eastbound territories, held by chiefly pro-Russian separatists. 

Addressing the Council successful Geneva amid steadily expanding planetary tensions implicit Ukraine, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif, said that akin violations continued to beryllium documented successful the Crimea, which she described arsenic having been “temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation” since 2014.   

Ms. Nashif noted that the UN rights office, OHCHR, had documented 29 incidents targeting journalists, media professionals, bloggers and individuals who had been captious of the Government “or mainstream narratives”, betwixt November 2019 and October 2021. 

“Of peculiar interest is the deficiency of accountability for threats and unit targeting quality rights defenders, media workers, and individuals who explicit opinions online oregon effort to enactment successful policy-making,” said Ms. Nashif, who added that those targeted had covered topics specified arsenic corruption and the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Impunity fuels further attacks, contributing to an situation of self-censorship, narrowing civic abstraction and curtailing pluralism,” the Deputy High Commissioner said, adding that the concern tended to “discourage information successful nationalist affairs and civic activism”. 

Eastern woes 

Turning to the eastbound of the state and the self-proclaimed “republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk, Ms Al-Nashif said that akin rights and basal freedoms “have been severely restricted since the equipped groups took power successful 2014”. 

This had led to “an erosion of abstraction for escaped look and autarkic activism”, the Deputy High Commissioner insisted, noting that the de facto authorities successful each “republic” had amended authorities to curb disapproval posted online “and to restrict information successful nationalist affairs”. 

Luhansk and Donetsk authorities had besides “arbitrarily detained, oregon threatened to detain, societal media users for expressing their views online, and individuals who participated successful peaceful assemblies captious of decision-making successful the territory”, she continued. 

Those articulating “pro-Ukrainian views” oregon opinions person continued to beryllium a target, the Deputy High Commissioner said. “In November 2019, an entrepreneur was detained successful the self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ for publically expressing his pro-Ukrainian views. He was held incommunicado for 3 days, and aboriginal sentenced to 13.5 years successful prison.” 

Other activists who look peculiar dangers see women quality rights defenders who enactment home unit survivors, Ms. Al-Nashif continued. 

Crimea curbs 

Similar restrictions connected state of look person continued successful the Crimea, the Deputy High Commissioner said, peculiarly those “targeting opinions captious of Russian Federation policies and practices connected the peninsula. Journalists who expressed dissenting oregon captious views were subjected to surveillance, transgression prosecution, arrests, prohibition of introduction into Crimea and deportation from Crimea.”  

Among Member States’ concerns astatine the Council, the European Union delegation called for entree to the full of Ukraine, portion Belarus warned that betwixt 4 and 10 cardinal radical had fled the state amid expanding poverty. 

The United Kingdom urged Russia to extremity its “threatening and destabilizing behaviour” amid a subject build-up connected Ukraine’s borders, portion Russia noted with interest the closing down of Russian-language TV channels and the stigmatization of those moving for Russian-speaking media.