Friday, May 23, 2014

An Overlooked Damning UN Report on Human Rights Violations in Ukraine

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued its report on the human rights situation in Ukraine on May 15, 2014. Written in the bland blame-no-particular-side style of the United Nations, it nevertheless reads as an indictment of Russia’s “illegal” annexation of Crimea, of the human rights abuses ongoing in Crimea, and of the illegal destabilization activities in east Ukraine supported by Russia.

The report recognizes that Ukraine has taken the steps called for by the Geneva Agreement of April 17 with respect to constitutional changes, decentralization, and amnesties.

The report comes down hard on armed groups that illegally seize and occupy public and administrative buildings and proclaim “self declared” regions and commit human rights abuses, such as abductions, harassment, unlawful detentions, in particular of journalists.

The report notes warns: “In eastern Ukraine, freedom of expression is under particular attack through the harassment of, and threats to, journalists and media outlets. The increasing prevalence of hate speech is further fuelling tensions. Both these factors are deepening divisions between communities and exacerbating the crisis. All parties must take immediate steps to avoid incitement and radicalization.” (I don’t know of threats to journalists, kidnappings, and harassment of journalists by the Ukrainian side, so the report must refer to Russia’s agents).

The UN report also calls for investigations of the tragic loss of life in Odessa (which Ukraine has already agreed to) and the loss of life during the Maidan demonstrations.

The report calls for transparent, fair, and democratic presidential election on May 25 but reports arbitrary restrictions, conflicts and incidents, which impacts and curtails their ability to campaign with voters.

Although a clear indictment of Putin’s Russia and its proxies, skeptics can argue that no one pays particular attention to the pronouncements of the United Nations. I would beg to differ. The United Nations is an important instrument of Putin’s power and authority. He uses his veto power on the Security Council to veto important votes that he deems are contrary to his interests (such as the condemnation of the Crimean annexation).

Whereas we might not take the United Nations that seriously, Putin must.  It is a shame that this report has received so little attention in the media.


  1. The West has failed Ukraine. The UN has proven to be late and useless as usual. They are reporting "cosmetics" while a respectable organization is expected to target core issues - if only to justify its name and salaries. No wonder nobody wants to waste their time reading this b***s**t. Facebook and youtube are doing a better job for free.

  2. The report says that Crimea is an autonomous republic and has the same colour of Ukraine in the map.