Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
as delivered by Jason Mack
37th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 21, 2018
Thank you Mr. President,
We extend our appreciation to the Human Rights Monitoring Mission for its continued dedication and invaluable reporting, in addition to today’s presentation. We also commend the government of Ukraine for its continued close cooperation with this mechanism. The United States condemns the widespread abuses committed by Russian occupation authorities in Crimea and Russia-led forces in eastern Ukraine.
We welcomed the December 27 exchange of detainees between the government of Ukraine and Russia-led forces in eastern Ukraine. However, the harrowing accounts of those released by Russia-led forces of their ordeals in detention underscores the validity of concerns long expressed by the monitoring mission about mistreatment of detainees in the custody of Russia’s proxies. We remain concerned about the fate of individuals not included in that exchange, including imprisoned RFE/RL journalist Stanislav Aseyev.
The United States also calls upon Russia to grant the monitoring mission access to observe the deteriorating human rights conditions in occupied Crimea, which remains Ukrainian territory and thus fully within this mandate. Russia should release the more than 60 Crimean political prisoners it is holding and cease its campaign of intimidation against Crimean Tatars, which includes raids on Crimean Tatar homes, schools, and mosques, bans on their peaceful gatherings and celebrations, and the criminalization of their self-governing body, the Mejlis.
We ask how can the international community best assist Russia’s prisoners in Crimea and Donbas?