Recent protests in Ukraine have resulted in dozens of deaths, highlighting the urgent need to bring accountability to human rights violations and guarantee citizens' right to peaceful assembly. A relatively new state, independent only since 1991, post-Soviet Ukraine has been considering a closer association with the European Union.
Some Ukrainians, however, wish to maintain close ties with Russia. The protests of late 2013 and early 2014 expressed anger over Ukraine's leadership's decision to halt the formalizing of closer ties with the European Union. Ukrainian authorities' attempt to disperse protests resulted in many deaths, including those of police officers.
A subsequent agreement between opposition leaders and the government offered hope for a peaceful resolution, after which the cabinet of Mr. Yanukovych, and the president himself, left the capital city. It is imperative that Ukrainian authorities conduct impartial investigation of protest-related human rights violations and hold all responsible parties to account.
Human rights violations in Ukraine are not limited to "EuroMaydan" events. In 2013, police torture and other ill-treatment remained widespread, and impunity for such acts continued. Failings in the criminal justice system led to lengthy periods of pre-trial detention, and a lack of safeguards for detainees. Refugees and asylum-seekers risked detention and forcible return to countries where they faced human rights violations. The rights of LGBTI individuals were at risk.
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