Oral presentation by the High Commissioner of the OHCHR periodic report on the human rights situation in Ukraine – 15 December 2021 – Estonian Statement

Madam President,

Estonia thanks the High Commissioner for her update on the situation in Ukraine and aligns itself with the EU statement.

We remain gravely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation and violations of international humanitarian law in areas of eastern Ukraine not controlled by the government of Ukraine and in occupied and illegally annexed Crimea. We are deeply concerned by the military build-up by Russia along the Ukrainian border.

Since the occupation, the ongoing heavy militarisation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation not only threatens the security situation in the Black Sea region, but adds new facts to the long list of human rights violations against the people living in Crimea. Indigenous peoples, especially the Crimean Tatars, representatives of national minorities, citizens of Ukraine and other people who do not have Russian citizenship are particularly affected. We are seriously concerned about the use of military force to limit civic space in Crimea.

In order to expand military facilities, the lands previously used by local residents  for living and agricultural needs, have been expropriated forcefully and without  compensations. Educational institutions provides combat training to Crimean children with the stated aim of training for the Russian armed forces. People of the occupied territories are been conscripted into the aggressor’s state military service.

The latter examples are in clear contradiction to international humanitarian law, which prohibits an occupying power to forced the persons living in occupied territories to serve in its armed forces.

The increase in the number of Russian troops and the constant expansion of their military facilities have significantly worsened the human rights situation in Crimea.

Madam High Commissioner,

What are the possibilities for investigating the human rights violations committed by the Russian army in Crimea, given the fact that access for international monitoring organisations is restricted?

I thank you.