: Corrupt justice system, impunity of security forces, torture and abduction in Russian-occupied regions

14:37 Apr. 15, 2016

Corrupt justice system, impunity of security forces, torture and abduction in Russian-occupied regions

An aerial view of downtown Kyiv (Getty Images)

Annual U.S. State Department report paints grim picture of human rights situation in Ukraine

U.S. State Department released its 40th report on world human rights practices, pointing out to ‘a global governance crisis'. 

In his opening statement U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cited the "accelerating trend by both state and non-state actors ... to stifle media and Internet freedom, to marginalize opposition voices, and in the most extreme cases, to kill people or drive them from their homes."

Among the biggest problems for the respect of human rights in Ukraine, the authors of the report listed corruption in the administration of justice, impunity when it goes about abuses committed by security forces.

Read also U.S. encourages Ukraine to continue fighting corruption

Other problems include harsh conditions in prisons; violence against women and children; discrimination and harassment of LGBT persons; and failure to enforce effectively labour laws and safety and health standards in the workplace.

The report outlines that the most significant human rights violations in Ukraine are observed in the eastern part of the country controlled by Russian-backed separatists and in Russian-occupied Crimea.

"Separatists, supported by Russian military and civil officials, continue to control parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions by force of arms, as self-proclaimed "people's republics. Separatists are systematically engaged in abductions, torture, and unlawful detention…They also employ child soldiers and restrict humanitarian aid," the report says.

Government forces are criticized for imposing restrictions on freedom of movement in the areas close to the frontlines while the internally displaced persons (IDPs) face difficulties obtaining legal documents, education, pensions, and access to financial institutions and health care.

Read also About 1.5 million people face threat of hunger in Ukraine's Donbas region – UN

As for the Crimean peninsula, annexed from Ukraine in spring 2014, U.S. State Department says "Russian occupation authorities committed numerous human rights abuses, targeting ethnic and religious communities, particularly Crimean Tatars, as well as independent journalists and anyone perceived as opposing the Russian occupation regime."

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