As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
32nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
June 29, 2016
Thank you Mr. President, and thank you Mr. Simonovic for your update.
The United States welcomes the latest report from the High Commissioner’s Office on the situation in Ukraine and expresses our full support for its continued monitoring and reporting throughout Ukraine, including Crimea. Before commenting on the discouraging developments recorded in the report, it is important to remind ourselves of the root cause of this crisis: Russia’s aggression and violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which began with its occupation of Crimea more than two years ago.
As noted by the monitoring mission, the worst abuses taking place in eastern Ukraine are happening in separatist-controlled areas. Violence by armed groups and reports of torture in detention facilities, wherever they take place, are grave and deeply troubling. We call upon Russia to urge the separatists to provide OHCHR immediate access to these areas, including to detention facilities. Ukraine must also ensure a prompt, thorough, and transparent investigation into the alleged incidents of abuses perpetrated by its forces and the appropriate prosecution of those responsible.
In addition, the United States expresses serious concerns over the degrading situation in Russian occupied-Crimea and calls for the immediate access of the human rights monitoring mission to that occupied peninsula.
We condemn recent Russian actions targeting the Crimean Tatar population, including the harassment of independent journalists, the arbitrary arrests and disappearances of civilians, and the banning of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis.
Mr. Simonovic, what more can be done to show the world more clearly the abuses of human rights taking place in Crimea and eastern Ukraine? And what further steps does the monitoring mission plan to take to document the abuses against the Crimean Tartar population?