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We commend the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in monitoring the human rights situation and assisting Ukraine in improving it. We welcome Ukraine’s reform process and encourage all parties to implement the recommendations from the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The situation in the self-proclaimed republics is particularly serious. We call on the de-facto authorities to release all persons arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, stop the practice of incommunicado detention and allow access for international observers to all places of detention. All parties should avoid damaging civilian infrastructure and refrain from using landmines.
More can be done to improve the situation of people living in the non-government controlled areas. All parties should help ensure safe and unimpeded crossing of the contact line. The government should facilitate access to pensions and services for these citizens.
There has been an increase in the number of violent attacks against journalists, human rights defenders and civil society activists in all of Ukraine, including from extreme right-wing groups. These attacks are seldom investigated and prosecuted. Such attacks, and impunity for the perpetrators, constitute a threat to freedom of expression, public debate and democratic participation. We call on Ukrainian authorities to investigate and prosecute all attacks. This is not least important before the coming elections.
After Russia illegally annexed Crimea, the human rights situation there has seriously deteriorated. Russia as the occupying power should ensure freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and belief. In particular, Russia should end the practice of applying legislation on extremism, terrorism and separatism to criminalize free speech and peaceful assembly. We urge Russia to grant access to international observers and to honour its obligations under international law. We also call on Russia to release the crew and vessels detained last November.