Jul 2, 2021 - World

UN report reveals prisoners' abuse in eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian army servicemen take part in the Sea Breeze drills at the shooting range in the Kherson region of Ukraine on July 2, 2021.

Ukrainian army servicemen take part in drills at the shooting range in the Kherson region of Ukraine on July 2, 2021. Photo: OLEKSANDR GIMANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Prisoners taken in the years-long conflict in eastern Ukraine have experienced systematic torture, sexual violence and other abuses, the United Nations human rights agency said in a report released Friday.

The big picture: Prisoners' abuse was especially severe during the early stages of the separatist conflict, but abuses persist today, according to the report issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Driving the news: Between 7,900 and 8,700 conflict-related detentions took place from April 14, 2014 through April 30 of this year. That includes 3,600 to 4,000 by the government side and 4,300 to 4,700 by separatists, OHCHR estimates.

  • Both sides used secret detention facilities not subject to prosecutorial oversight, according to AP.

What they're saying: "Seven years since the outbreak of the conflict, it is unacceptable that such egregious human rights violation remain largely unaddressed," Matilda Bogner, head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said, per AP.

  • "The prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is absolute. Torture can never be justified," Bogner said.
  • In both the government-controlled and separatist-held territories, “torture and ill-treatment, including conflict-related sexual violence, were used to extract confessions or information, or to otherwise force detainees to cooperate, as well as for punitive purposes, to humiliate and intimidate, and to extort money and property,” the OHCHR said.

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