Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Ukraine

    September 27, 2017

    Today’s conviction of Ilmi Umerov, a prominent critic of the Russian occupation and leader of the Crimean Tatar people, is the latest encroachment on fundamental rights and freedoms on the peninsula, and must be immediately quashed, said Amnesty International. Ilmi Umerov was sentenced by a de facto court in Crimea this morning to two years in a penal colony.

    Last week, the same court handed Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena a two and a half year suspended prison sentence. Both men stood accused of threatening territorial integrity of the Russian Federation on account of their public opposition to the Russian occupation and annexation of Crimea.

    “The sentencing of Ilmi Umerov, who is 60 and has Parkinson’s disease, marks yet another stage in the de facto government’s lengthy persecution of him. His imprisonment follows a series of politically-motivated trials, arbitrary arrests and intimidation against critics of Russian authorities in Crimea. It is a clear violation of freedom of expression,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.

    September 11, 2017

    Akhtem Chiygoz, a Crimean Tatar leader should be immediately released, said Amnesty International today as he was handed an eight-year sentence following a 13 month long sham trial.

    “The unfair trial of Akhtem Chiygoz tops a wave of spurious and demonstrably false criminal and administrative cases instigated by the occupying Russian authorities against members of the Crimean Tatar community. It epitomizes the ongoing persecution of these activists whose only ‘crime’ is to vocally oppose Crimea’s annexation by Russia,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director for Amnesty International in Ukraine.

    May 12, 2017

    The Grand Finale of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv on 13 May is a key opportunity to shine a light on Ukraine’s outstanding human rights concerns, Amnesty International said.

    “Millions of people across the world will revel in this dazzling music event which is associated with the values of peace, democracy, tolerance and human rights solidarity. While Kyiv is preparing for its big event on Saturday, it is crucial to keep in mind the pressing human rights issues that are being swept under the carpet. The Ukrainian authorities have a chance to demonstrate to the world their commitment to addressing these issues and to act for positive change,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.

    Amnesty International spokespeople are available for interview on the human rights situation in Ukraine, including:

    • Discrimination against LGBTIQ people across Ukraine. Despite the first-ever successful and violence-free Pride event in Kyiv last year, other parts of the country see ongoing discrimination and hate crimes.

    August 30, 2016

    “Thank you [Amnesty International] for the work that you are doing. I didn't believe I can get justice in this country. I thought I'll never be free and that one day they will just lead me out and shoot me. It is so great to see my family again.” Dmytro Koroliov 

    Former inmates of a secret detention facility in Kharkiv, Ukraine, have been released – thanks to pressure from Amnesty and its supporters.

    The release of Dmytro (pictured above with his mother Iryna Koroliova) and 12 others recently followed concerted pressure from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. 

    In July, our teams flew to Kyiv to meet the Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios as we published a joint report, “You Don’t Exist. Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances and Torture in Eastern Ukraine”. 

    August 29, 2016

    Fresh details of secret detention by the Ukrainian authorities have emerged following the release of 13 people from a Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) compound in Kharkiv, said Amnesty InternationaI and Human Rights Watch today.

    The release comes after Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch exposed the use of torture and secret detention by both Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian separatists during the conflict in eastern Ukraine in a joint report “‘You Don’t Exist.’ Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine” published on 21 July.

    The organizations have now written to the Chief Military Prosecutor of Ukraine with fresh details of secret detention in Ukraine including detailed testimony from some of those released, as well as the details of five who are still being secretly detained in the compound.

    July 21, 2016

    Both the Ukrainian government authorities and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are holding civilians in prolonged arbitrary, and sometimes secret detention and torturing  them, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today.

    The report “‘You Don’t Exist.’ Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine,” is based on interviews with 40 victims of abuses, their family members, witnesses, victims’ lawyers, and other sources. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by the Ukrainian authorities, including some cases of enforced disappearances, in informal detention sites and nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by Russia-backed separatists. Most of the cases detailed in the report took place in 2015 and the first half of 2016. 

    July 20, 2016

    This morning’s killing of prominent journalist Pavel Sheremet by a car bomb in central Kyiv is a reprehensible act that has sent a shockwave for freedom of expression in Ukraine, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said.

    Pavel Sheremet, who writes for the country’s top internet news site Ukrayinska Pravda, was driving to work when his car exploded at 7.45 a.m.

    “This attack on a journalist is a heinous crime and the ultimate violation of the freedom to expression. Pavel Sheremet's killing must be thoroughly, impartially and independently investigated and those who are responsible must be brought to justice in a fair trial,” says Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International. “We call for better protection of journalists in Ukraine that has sad record of violence committed against media workers.”

    Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Khatiya Dekanoidze, head of Ukraine’s National Police has said she will personally supervise the investigation.

    March 25, 2016

    The hideous murder of lawyer Yuri Grabovski, whose body was found in central Ukraine bearing gunshot wounds, is a chilling reminder of the dangers faced by lawyers and activists perceived to challenge the authorities, said Amnesty International

    Yuri Grabovski, who faced repeated harassment and intimidation in connection with his work as a lawyer, was found dead in a desolate area in Cherkasy Region, in central Ukraine last night. He was last seen in his office in Kyiv on the evening of 6 March with an unknown man, retrieving documents relating to a high-profile case he had been working on. He has been missing ever since.

    “The killing of a criminal defence lawyer is a hideous crime and the Ukrainian authorities must immediately take all steps necessary to begin to rectify this ultimate abuse of human rights and justice,” said Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research at Amnesty International.

    “Yuri Grabovski’s abduction and murder should be promptly, effectively and impartially investigated, and those responsible brought to justice in fair trial proceedings.”

    December 17, 2015

    Yesterday’s banning of the Communist Party in Ukraine is a flagrant violation of freedom of expression and association and should be immediately overturned, said Amnesty International.

    The District Administrative Court of Kyiv upheld the request of the Ukrainian Minister of Justice to ban the Communist Party. It will no longer be able to officially operate or participate in local elections.

    “The banning of the Communist Party in Ukraine sets a very dangerous precedent.  This move is propelling Ukraine backwards not forwards on its path to reform and greater respect for human rights,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia.

    Under four new laws adopted in May 2015, collectively known as “decommunization” laws, displaying Communist or Nazi symbols can lead to criminal prosecution and up to ten years imprisonment. The use of the term “communist” is explicitly prohibited by this legislation. However, the Communist Party of Ukraine refused to make changes to its name, logo or its charter.

    June 06, 2015

    Despite efforts by police today, Ukrainian authorities should have done more in advance to prevent violent attacks against gay Pride marchers several of whom were injured today, Amnesty International said.

    Lack of coordination with the event organisers and the failure to put an evacuation plan in place meant that, despite the presence of at least 1,500 police and national guard soldiers, about 10 protesters were injured when they were attacked by homophobic protesters. At least five police were also injured, one seriously.

    “The homophobic violence which soiled the streets of Kyiv today was ugly and action should have been taken in advance to try and prevent it. Instead of responding to violent threats by taking steps to ensure marchers would be safe, the police only took the decision to provide protection to the march yesterday. Had more time been spent planning and coordinating, some of these injuries might have been avoided,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Europe and Central Asia.

    May 22, 2015

     Released 09:00 GMT/12:00 Kyiv time on 22 May 2015

     

    Overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes, including torture and summary killings of prisoners, serve as a stark reminder of the brutal practices being committed on a near-daily basis in eastern Ukraine’s conflict, Amnesty International said in a comprehensive new briefing today.

    Breaking Bodies: Torture and summary killings in eastern Ukraine provides compelling evidence of frequent and widespread prisoner abuse by a broad range of captors on both sides of the conflict.

    Former prisoners described being beaten until their bones broke, tortured with electric shocks, kicked, stabbed, hung from the ceiling, deprived of sleep for days, threatened with death, denied urgent medical care and subjected to mock executions.

    April 08, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  9 April 2015

    Shocking new evidence of “execution-style killings” by pro-Russian armed groups in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, illustrates the urgent need for action to tackle the escalating human rights and humanitarian crisis in the area, said Amnesty International.

    “The new evidence of these summary killings confirms what we have suspected for a long time. The question now is: what are the separatist leaders going to do about it?” said Denis Krivosheev, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    “The torture, ill-treatment and killing of captured, surrendered or wounded soldiers are war crimes. These claims must be promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated, and the perpetrators prosecuted in fair trials by recognized authorities.”

    Footage reviewed by Amnesty International shows Ukrainian soldier Ihor Branovytsky, one of the defenders of Donetsk airport, taken captive and interrogated. The video, posted on YouTube, shows signs that he was hit in the face. He remained in captivity until he was killed.

    March 30, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 31 March 2015

    All but one of independent Crimean Tatar-language media outlets – including those providing children’s entertainment – will be shut down on 1 April as the midnight deadline expires for re-registration under a Russian law, Amnesty International said.

    Despite submitting applications in good time, Crimean Tatar-language publications, websites and broadcast outlets that have been arbitrarily refused re-registration or not heard back from the licensing authorities, will be forced to close. Failure to do so will lead to heavy fines and criminal prosecutions.

    “At the stroke of midnight, all but one Crimean Tatar language media outlets, which have come under a sustained assault since the Russian annexation, will fall silent,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “This blatant attack on freedom of expression, dressed-up as an administrative procedure, is a crude attempt to stifle independent media, gag dissenting voices, and intimidate the Crimean Tatar community.”

    March 18, 2015

    The de facto authorities in Crimea have failed to investigate a series of abductions and torture of their critics, and resorted to an unrelenting campaign of intimidation to silence dissent, said Amnesty International in a briefing published today on the first anniversary of annexation.

    Violations of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association in Crimea highlights how the de facto authorities in Crimea are carrying out a catalogue of human rights abuses against pro-Ukrainian media, campaigning organizations, Crimean Tatars and individuals critical of the regime.

    “Since Russia annexed Crimea, the de facto authorities are using a vast array of bully boy tactics to crack down on dissent; a spate of abductions between March and September have prompted many vocal critics to leave the region. Those remaining face a range of harassment from authorities determined to silence their opponents,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    Abductions and torture – no effective investigations 

    February 18, 2015
    By Levan Asatiani, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Ukraine @levan_asatiani 

    At least 77 people died as a result of clashes between police and protesters at Kyiv’s EuroMaydan roughly a year ago and another 1,000 were severely injured.

    These numbers may sound like dull statistics, but for me they were transformed into real individual stories of injustice as I attended launch of Amnesty International’s report: A year after EuroMaydan, justice delayed, justice denied in Kiev this morning. One of the most outspoken victims of police violence at EuroMaydan – Vladyslav Tsilytskiy – was present at the report launch.

    Fighting for justice

    Pages

    Subscribe to Ukraine
    rights