UN Human Rights Council – Interactive Dialogue on High Commissioner report on Ukraine – 18 December 2020, Intervention by ESTONIA

Madam President,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement by the EU.

Ukraine is facing serious challenges because of COVID-crises. The main security and humanitarian problem, however, remains the ongoing military conflict in Donbass and illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia. A year after Normandy Summit in Paris, there is no progress in peace talks over Donbass.

One of the main achievements of the Paris meeting was an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to exchange all conflict related prisoners, which remains incomplete. Regrettably, Russia has failed to comply with the Paris Agreement on the full and unconditional admission of Red Cross members to all detainees. Hundreds of conflict related detainees are still subjugated to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in territories controlled by armed groups, in Crimea and in Russia as well.

We note with satisfaction that a cease-fire that took effect in July in Donbass has resulted in a significant drop in civilian casualties. However, the growing number of mine-related incidents and accidents with explosives among civilians, including children, causes a concern.

Russia is tightening its grip on Crimea through militarization of the peninsula and forced demographic changes. Violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the occupying power continue unabated.

It is disturbing that the law enforcement authorities of the Russian Federation continue their systemic campaign of terror against Crimean Tatars and anyone else who opposes Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

We join the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in commending the inclusive process undertaken by the Government of Ukraine to develop the National HR Strategy and related Action Plan 2021-23.

Madame Brands Kehris,

 The report refers to complaints of local people in Donetsk and Luhansk about the cancellation of local elections there in October. The Ukrainian government considered their inability to guarantee security of electoral infrastructure and processes as well as safety of voters as main factors behind this decision. Would you agree with this assessment and how best to address these concerns?

Thank you!