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Ukraine

    October 01, 2014

    Ukrainian and rebel forces must immediately end indiscriminate attacks in residential areas, Amnesty International said today after at least nine civilians were killed in strikes on a school and a bus in Donetsk.

    The latest attacks, which took place in the Kievskiy district of the city, came as Amnesty International documented a pattern of indiscriminate shelling and rocket attacks in the area by Ukrainian forces in the past 10 days.

    “Ukrainian government forces must immediately stop firing on residential areas in Donetsk,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.

    “Ukrainian and rebel forces are violating international humanitarian law by endangering civilians with indiscriminate attacks, despite the fact that attacks may only be directed against combatants.

    “These attacks are unlawful because Ukrainian forces are using weapons in populated areas that cannot be targeted with sufficient accuracy to distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives.”

    September 08, 2014

    (Kyiv) In a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk today, Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty urged the Ukrainian government to stop abuses and war crimes by volunteer battalions operating alongside regular Ukrainian armed forces.

    “The Ukrainian authorities must not replicate the lawlessness and abuses that have prevailed in areas previously held by separatists,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General from Kyiv.

    “The failure to stop abuses and possible war crimes by volunteer battalions risks significantly aggravating tensions in the east of the country and undermining the proclaimed intentions of the new Ukrainian authorities to strengthen and uphold the rule of law more broadly.”
     
    The call came as Amnesty International published fresh research collected on the ground in the northern Luhansk region, Abuses and war crimes by the Aidar Volunteer Battalion in the north Luhansk region, documenting a growing range of abuses by the Aidar Volunteer battalion.  

    September 06, 2014

    Released   00.01 BST (GMT+1) 7 SEPTEMBER 

    Ukrainian militia and separatist forces are responsible for war crimes, Amnesty International said today. The organisation accused Russia of fuelling separatist crimes as it revealed satellite images indicating a build-up of Russian armour and artillery in eastern Ukraine.

    With cease-fire talks still uncertain and the situation on the ground perilous, Amnesty International calls on all parties, including Russia, to stop violations of the laws of war.

    August 22, 2014

    The armed group calling itself the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) must not carry out 'executions', including a reported threat of killing prisoners facing life sentences, Amnesty International said today.

    On Friday Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council announced that fighters from the group had seized a penitentiary institution in Donetsk and threatened to kill all prisoners facing life sentences, forcing the others to join their ranks.

    “Killing prisoners is strictly prohibited under the Geneva Conventions, to which all parties must adhere in a time of conflict,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “If genuine, this threat would demonstrate how desperately lawlessness is spiralling out of control in eastern Ukraine.”

    The DPR introduced what it refers to as a Criminal Code on 17 August, providing the ‘death penalty’ for a number of crimes including treason, looting and espionage.

     

    July 18, 2014

    The death of nearly 300 people on board a Malaysian Airlines civilian passenger jet, which came down yesterday in an area of intense conflict in eastern Ukraine, must be immediately, impartially and effectively investigated, said Amnesty International.

    All sides in the conflict must cooperate to establish the causes of the tragic incident.

    “It is imperative that an on-site investigation is urgently carried out by independent international experts with the full cooperation of both parties to the conflict, including both the authorities of Ukraine and the separatist armed groups,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International.  

    Amnesty International’s call comes a week after it published a report documenting cases of abduction and torture and ill-treatment against international observers, journalists and civilians in the region of eastern Ukraine where the plane came down. The crash site is in an area currently under the control of pro-Russian separatist armed groups.

    July 10, 2014
    Sasha, a 19-year-old pro-Ukrainian activist, fled to Kyiv after he was abducted by separatists at gunpoint in Luhansk. He said he was beaten repeatedly for 24 hours.© Private

    Amnesty International has gathered graphic and compelling evidence of savage beatings and other torture meted out against activists, protesters and journalists in eastern Ukraine over the last three months.

    A new briefing, Abductions and Torture in Eastern Ukraine, details the findings of a research trip to Kyiv and south-eastern Ukraine in recent weeks. It documents allegations of abduction and torture perpetrated by separatist armed groups and pro-Kyiv forces.

    “With hundreds abducted over the last three months, the time has come to take stock of what has happened, and stop this abhorrent ongoing practice,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Europe and Central Asia.

    July 10, 2014

    The skin across Sasha’s forehead and around his eyes is slightly yellow and there is a recent scab on his temple. He is healing well.

    Ten days before our meeting, the 19-year-old was barely recognizable: the skin on his face stretched tight, swollen and bruised. Abducted and tortured, Sasha believes he is lucky to be alive.

    Take the Pledge to Stop Torture Everywhere and Forever. 

    After the city of Luhansk in eastern Ukraine came under control of separatist armed groups in April 2014, he was an obvious target.

    July 10, 2014

    On the morning of 27 May, Hanna, was sitting in her flat in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, when there was a knock on the door. As her boyfriend Feodor lifted the latch, seven armed men wearing balaclavas and camouflaged fatigues barged through. They said they were from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), the pro-Russian separatist group which had recently seized power in the city.

    Take the Pledge to Stop Torture Everywhere and Forever. 

    This was the start of a terrifying six day ordeal for the 30 year old pro-Ukrainian activist. She had been involved in demonstrations providing medical help and first aid to protesters injured in clashes.

    July 02, 2014

    By Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme at Amnesty International

    At first sight it seems as if it’s business as usual in Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine. This strategic port city just across a thin stretch of water from Crimea has “changed hands” twice in the last two months.

    We travelled there to try to document allegations of human rights violations and abuses amid the turbulent background in eastern Ukraine. The sun is shining, the banks and shops are open, and there are people going about their business – but not many. This is the season for holiday-makers. But there are none. At times it is eerily quiet; the first telling sign that all is not well.

    The people of Mariupol are still coming to terms with recent history.

    May 02, 2014

    There are increasing fears for the safety of the local population in Slovyansk as the Ukrainian forces are trying to re-assert control over the eastern Ukrainian town, Amnesty International said today.

    “As the operation intensifies there is an ever present risk of bystanders being caught in the cross fire. We are calling on all sides to refrain from committing human rights abuses,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International researcher on Ukraine.

    “The Ukrainian armed forces and armed groups alike must do everything within their power to safeguard the right to life during this tumultuous period.”

    On 30 April the acting president of Ukraine stated that the situation in Donetsk and in parts of Donetsk region, including Slovyansk, was extremely dangerous because the Ukrainian authorities were no longer able to exert any control.

    April 24, 2014

    All Ukrainian law enforcement and military officials engaged in an operation to restore security in eastern Ukraine must adhere to international standards on the use of force and firearms, Amnesty International urged today.

    The call comes after Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs posted a statement today saying that three checkpoints had been taken and five “terrorists were destroyed” by Ukrainian security forces attempting to regain control of Slovyansk, Donetsk region, from a pro-Russian armed group that has seized control.

    “International standards on the use of force and firearms are clear – law enforcement officials should resort to the use of firearms only in defence against an imminent threat of death or serious injury. They should apply other non-violent means before resorting to the use of force, and the use of firearms must always be the last resort. When the use of force and firearms is unavoidable they must exercise restraint and take steps to minimize damage and injury and preserve life,” said Heather McGill, Ukraine Researcher at Amnesty International.

    April 24, 2014
    An armed man in military fatigues stands guard outside a regional administration building seized by the separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk on April 23, 2014.© KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

    Journalists and officials being unlawfully detained and used as “bargaining chips” by a separatist armed group in eastern Ukraine must be released immediately, Amnesty International said, noting they could be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

    The Kyiv Post has reported that at least 16 people have been abducted since last week in Slovyansk and Horlivka, both in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk region, where a pro-Russian armed group has seized control. Three foreign journalists have been released, but several other journalists and officials remain in detention or unaccounted for. Two previously abducted men were found dead on Tuesday, their corpses reportedly bearing signs of torture.

    March 19, 2014

            Ukraine: Nationalist MP launches brutal attack against TV executive

    A violent attack by a nationalist member of parliament against the head of one of Ukraine’s leading TV channels yesterday must be urgently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice, said Amnesty International.

    Oleksandr Panteleymonov, head of the First National TV Channel, was visited in his offices by Igor Miroshnichenko from the Svoboda (Freedom) Party and at least five thugs who beat him and forced him to write a resignation letter.

    Igor Miroshnichenko is a member of the parliamentary Committee on freedom of speech.

    “It is astonishing that a member of the parliamentary committee on freedom of speech was involved in this attack. The acting authorities must send a signal that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated in Ukraine,” said Heather McGill, Ukraine researcher at Amnesty International.

    The attackers accused Panteleymonov of working for the Russian authorities after a live broadcast of the signing of the agreement between President Putin, and the de facto Crimean authorities.  

    March 14, 2014

    International human rights monitors must immediately be deployed across Ukraine following reports of increasing violence and disappearances ahead of Sunday’s impromptu referendum that could lead to the secession of the southern Crimea region, said Amnesty International.

    “Parts of the country are on edge and spilling over into violence. With the referendum scheduled in two days’ time, there is no time to lose,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.

    “Amidst heightened tensions in the country and the now fatal violence between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian groups, the need for a strong human rights monitoring mission with unimpeded access to all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea, is critical.”
     
    Amnesty International’s call comes after at least one protester was killed amid violent clashes between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian protesters in the eastern city of Donetsk and news of further disappearances of activists in Crimea itself.

    March 07, 2014

    On 5 March, 100 men who identified themselves as the Crimean Self Defence League forced some 40 women to end their peaceful protest in Crimea’s capital, Simferopol.© VOLODYMYR PETROV/AFP/Getty Images

    With journalists, activists and peaceful protestors facing increasing harassment and intimidation in Crimea, there is an urgent need for a strong international monitoring mission in Ukraine, said Amnesty International.

    It is calling for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to urgently establish a strong international monitoring mission in the country.

    “Attempting to monitor the human rights situation in Crimea has become a near impossible task. Self-styled Crimean self-defence groups are harassing pro-Ukrainian protestors, journalists and human rights monitors with complete impunity,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

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