UN Human Rights Council, 42nd Session – Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner oral update on Ukraine

UN Human Rights Council, 42nd Session

Interactive Dialogue on the High Commissioner oral update on Ukraine

24th September 2019

Intervention by ESTONIA


Mr. President,

Distinguished High Commissioner,

Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement by the European Union.

We thank the High Commissioner for the update today based on the 27th report of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. The work OHCHR does is highly important.

Estonia is seriously worried about the increase of the conflict-related civilian casualties and strongly condemns all the violations and abuses of human rights. Similarly, all damage to educational facilities must be stopped. We call upon Russian authorities in Crimea to stop portraying Crimean Tatars who oppose Russia’s occupation as ‘terrorists’ and ‘extremists’ and to stop misusing country’s overly broad counterterrorism legislation to stifle freedom of opinion, expression and religion.

We remain concerned about the denial of access to OHCHR and other independent international bodies to the territories controlled by the armed groups in Luhansk and Donetsk regions. We reiterate our call to the Russian Government, and the armed groups it controls and leads, to stop all violations and abuses of human rights and to ensure full and unimpeded access of Ukrainian and international human rights monitoring missions and NGOs to the whole territory of Ukraine.

Estonia reiterates its call to the Russian Federation to stop the persecution of individuals, including journalists and activists, critical of the Russian authorities. Violations against such individuals must be effectively investigated and prosecuted without undue delay. We remain concerned about Russia’s practice of forced military conscription in the Russian occupied Crimea and the large number of persons convicted for refusal to serve in the Russian army. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, an occupying power may not compel the citizens of the occupied territory to serve in its armed forces.

Finally, we welcome the adoption of a draft law on the harmonisation of Ukrainian legislation with the Rome Statute, and encourage Ukraine to continue with positive steps to improve the human rights situation in the country.

Thank you!