Interactive Dialogue on Ukraine

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America, as delivered by Jessica Carl

UN Human Rights Council – 35th Session
Geneva, June 21, 2017

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States commends the continued work of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, and the cooperation between the Mission and the government of Ukraine.  Once again, we must condemn the widespread abuses of human rights by Russian occupation authorities in Crimea and forces in eastern Ukraine.

The situation in areas of eastern Ukraine under the control of so-called “separatists” trained, equipped, and led by Russia remains dire.  The United States calls for the immediate halt to attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and calls for forces immediately to grant access to OHCHR monitors.  We are closely following the case of imprisoned academic and well-known religion scholar Ihor Kozlovsky, who was recently sentenced to nearly three years in prison by a tribunal of illegitimate “authorities,” on patently baseless charges.  We call on Russia and the forces it backs to immediately arrange his release.

Yet again, we must also call attention to the deeply troubling situation in Crimea.  Russian occupation authorities continue to impose draconian restrictions on fundamental freedoms to anyone that opposes the occupation.  Political show trials of dissenters continue, and we are closely monitoring these cases, including the ongoing prosecutions of Crimean Tatar leaders Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov, along with journalist Mykola Semena.  We call on Russia to end its abuses and its occupation, and to grant immediate access to the Human Rights Monitoring Mission to 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.  Until Russia changes its behavior, we ask the High Commissioner what further steps this Council can take to address the plight of civilians living in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.