Over 14,000 casualties so far but ‘actual number could be significantly higher’ – Global Issues

Matilda Bogner is present some of the findings in its latest report to journalists in Geneva, Switzerland.

The conflict is now into its seventh month, and her team has verified 14,059 civilian casualties, with 5,767 killed and 8,292 wounded.

“As we have said many times, we know that the actual number could be significantly higher,“She added.

Heard from the victim

Ms. Bogner was speaking from the city of Odesa in southern Ukraine. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission has been in the country since 2014, after the start of fighting in the east between government forces and separatists.

Its latest report will be released on September 27.

Other findings suggest that at least 416 verified victims of arbitrary and forced detention disappeared in Russian-occupied territory or its controlled areas. 16 people were found dead, while 166 were released.

Meanwhile, 51 arbitrary arrests and another 30 that could lead to enforced disappearance were made by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies.

Status of prisoners of war

The mission has also documented a series of violations against prisoners of war. While personnel were granted unimpeded access to training and detention facilities on Ukrainian-controlled territory, Russia did not allow access to prisoners of war held on its territory. itself or on the occupied territory.

“This is all the more worrisome because we have noted that prisoners of war under the authority of the Russian Federation and held by the armed forces of the Russian Federation or affiliated armed groups have been subjected to torture. torture and ill-treatment, and in some detention places lacking, Ms. Bogner said.

They were also informed of the dire health situation in the penal colony of Olenivka, located to the east.

Many Ukrainian prisoners of war there are believed to have contracted hepatitis A, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. In addition, many people were not allowed to contact their loved ones, depriving their families of their right to know what had happened to them.

Complaints to Russia

“We also tracked the cases some prisoners of war are pregnant practice in places controlled by the Russian armed forces and their affiliated armed groups. We call on the Russian Federation, as the detaining force, consider releasing these women immediately on humanitarian grounds,” Ms. Bogner said.

The Mission has also documented cases of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners of war in Government-controlled territory, often upon capture, during initial interrogations or transportation to other institutions. detention camp.

“Our delegation was able to visit a Ukrainian POW camp. We note, however, that most prisoners of war continue to be held in penitentiary facilities, violating the rule of law. prisoners of war will not be held. ”

Concerns about Crimea

Ms Bogner also reported on the “significantly worsening” situation in Crimea, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014.

She cited restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms, torture and ill-treatment, forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests, and violations of the right to a fair trial, as well as a lack of accountability. accountability for such human rights violations.

The Mission is concerned that patterns of human rights violations are documented there can be repeated on the territory newly occupied by Russia.

“In Crimea, the Russian Federation continues to stifle freedom of expression by applying vague and unclear laws, punishing real or perceived criticism of the Russian Federation and its armed forces.

“Since March, we have documented the prosecution of 89 individuals in Crimea for – and I quote – ‘public actions aimed at discrediting the armed forces of the Russian Federation’.”

Revenge, arrest, threat

Teachers, meanwhile, have refused to confirm what Russia calls “special military operations” in Ukraine, facing retaliation and punishment. Human rights activists have been arrested and prosecuted for their work, and defense lawyers are threatened.

“We have documented arbitrary arrests and torture of individuals arrested in the Russian-occupied Kherson region and transferred to Crimea,” Ms. Bogner said.

“In addition, men who crossed the administrative boundary from mainland Ukraine to Crimea were ‘filtered’ by the Russian Federal Security Service at checkpoints. According to credible reports received by our Mission, this puts them at risk of enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, torture, and ill-treatment. ”

Committed to reporting

She added that Crimean Tatars continue to face intimidation and harassment, police raids and home searches, and prosecution for terrorism and terrorism-related crimes. extremism in the proceedings “often falls short of human rights standards”.

Furthermore, detainees belonging to this ethnic group continue to be deported to remote regions of the Russian Federation to serve their sentences.

Ms Bogner said the UN Human Rights Watch Mission will continue to document and report on facts on the ground, including the voices of victims.

“We see this as an essential part of finding ways to prevent further violations and hold those people accountable for violations that have already occurred.”

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