Statement of the United States of America
as delivered by William J. Mozdzierz
Human Rights Council 34th session
Geneva, March 22, 2017
Thank you Mr. Vice President.
The United States thanks the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. We commend the Ukrainian government for its cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner. We condemn the widespread abuses of human rights by Russian occupation authorities in Crimea and combined Russian-separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.
Just over three years ago, thousands of Ukrainians came together on the Maidan, Kyiv’s central square, to demand that their voices be heard. Braving subzero temperatures and violence by security forces, these Ukrainians peacefully called on their government to recognize their choice to join Europe. Ukraine has made remarkable progress since then, but much work remains to be done to fulfill the promise of the Maidan. Ukraine’s leaders must strengthen efforts to fight corruption and continue reforms to secure a better, more democratic future for Ukraine.
Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine has a dire impact on the human rights of those living in regions under separatist control and near the contact line. It is imperative that combined Russian and separatist forces halt their attacks on civilian infrastructure, including the Donetsk water filtration station. We deplore the continuation of widespread abuses by Russian-backed separatists and call for immediate access to human rights monitors from the Office of the High Commissioner.
Likewise, the situation in Crimea is dismal. Russian occupation authorities’ restrictions on fundamental freedoms on Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians are unacceptable. We are closely monitoring dozens of prosecutions of Crimean Tatar leaders, journalists, and activists solely in retaliation for their opposition to Russia’s occupation, and call for immediate access for UN human rights monitors to enter this region of Ukraine.
The United States will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people, and we thank the Office of the High Commissioner for its dedication and commitment.