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Update by the OHCHR Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine
September 27, 2016

Item 10: Oral Update on Ukraine
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

Thank you Mr. Vice President,

The United States thanks the OHCHR Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) for their continued robust reporting on the situation in Ukraine.  We commend the government of Ukraine for its full cooperation with OHCHR since the establishment of its mission.  We are alarmed by continued widespread abuses of human rights, especially by Russian occupation authorities in Crimea and by combined Russian-separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.  The degradation of the situation in these areas remains the key driver of the underreported internally displaced persons crisis that is impacting Ukraine.

In eastern Ukraine, we are concerned that the September 1 “school year” ceasefire is increasingly under threat.  Despite the ceasefire, combined Russian-separatist forces continue to launch attacks on Ukrainian positions and cynically block access to international humanitarian organizations.  On September 12 alone, Ukraine suffered three service members killed, 15 wounded, and another missing in action.  We again reiterate that Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine is the root cause of the desperate humanitarian and human rights situation in eastern Ukraine.  We call upon Russia and the separatists to implement the Minsk agreements fully; this is the only way to restore peace in eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s intervention in Ukraine is not, unfortunately, limited to the east.  In occupied Crimea, Russia continues to crack down on independent voices, including Tatar leaders and activists.  Russia’s actions include enforced disappearances and the arbitrary detention and politically motivated prosecution of journalists, activists, and opponents of the occupation, some of whom have faced the use of forced psychiatric detention reminiscent of Soviet-era practices.  We call on Russia to dismiss all charges against Crimean Tartar leader Umerov and immediately release all Ukrainians held in Crimea or in Russia under political pretexts.  And Russia must end its occupation and return Crimea to Ukraine.

Thank you.