Situation in eastern Ukraine remains “volatile” after 2 years of conflict: UN report

Some 9,371 people have been killed and 21,532 others injured in eastern Ukraine since the conflict began in mid-April 2014, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday.

Citing a new report by its local office in Ukraine, the UN human rights agency said that after two years of conflict, the situation in eastern Ukraine remained “volatile” and continued to have a severe impact on human rights.

“Without additional efforts and creative solutions to implement the Minsk agreement, it could well develop into a protracted conflict that would be harmful to human rights for many years to come,” UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, Ivan Simonovic, noted after a seven-day visit to Ukraine.

According to the latest report, the 14th in a series produced by the UN human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine, civilians living close to the contact line and in territories under the control of armed groups are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations and abuses. Over 20,000 people try to cross the contact line each day.

On April 27 of this year, four civilians were killed and eight others injured by shelling while waiting at a checkpoint in armed group-controlled territory on the road between Mariupol and Donetsk city.

The 2.7 million people living in armed group-controlled areas are also suffering from the severe curtailing of their freedom of expression, assembly and association, and are faced with tough living conditions, the UN report said.

The new UN report also documents persistent patterns of human rights violations in eastern Ukraine, such as enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture and ill treatment, both in the territories controlled by the armed groups and those controlled by the government.

“After two years of conflict, the human rights picture in eastern Ukraine remains extremely grim,” Simonovic said, adding that only the full implementation of the Minsk agreement would allow for the respect of everyone’s human rights, as well as the chance to lead a normal life and earn a decent living.

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