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Norway's statement on Ukraine

Mr. President, 

We thank the High Commissioner for his update regarding human rights in Ukraine.

Today 2.5 million Europeans in Crimea and another 2.7 million in rebel-controlled areas of Donbas are living in a “human rights no man land”. In this context, the OHCHR reports are of great value. Unfortunately, they confirm that the human rights situation is deteriorating.  We call on Russia and on the rebels to allow humanitarian and other international organizations full and unobstructed access. We call on all parties to remain faithful to fundamental principles.

The human rights situation is markedly better in government-controlled areas.  A number of positive steps have been taken. Norway welcomes the recent judicial reforms. We hope that implementation of these reforms will improve the efficiency of the judiciary and contribute to rebuilding its legitimacy among the population.

However, challenges remain, as enumerated in the recent report of the OHCHR. Little progress has been made in investigating violations and abuses related to the Maidan events in Kyiv and violence in Odessa in May 2014, and in bringing perpetrators to justice. We remain concerned over allegations of unofficial places of detention in the conflict zone. There have been worrying developments related to fundamental freedoms, including use of counter-terrorism legislation to curtail activities of those who may hold views differing from the authorities. We therefore expect to see substantial results on these and other issues.

The transformation of Ukraine to a state governed by rule of law goes hand in hand with adherence to human rights. The government of Ukraine must address systemic and structural issues affecting human rights. We commend Ukraine’s constructive engagement with the OHCHR, and will continue to assist Ukraine in their efforts in this regard.  

Thank you.