ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Ukraine: plus de 6000 morts et un million de réfugiés
Translated Friday 6 March 2015, by
Over 6,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the violence in April, 2014, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights announced on March 2. Several NGOs have condemned cases of torture and kidnappings.
“Over 6,000 lives have been lost in less than a year due to fighting in the eastern Ukraine,” Zeid Raad Al Hussein stated in a declaration published in Geneva. A report by the U.N. commission of enquiry into human rights in the Ukraine also signals “pitiless destruction concerning civilians and the infrastructure.” “Women, children, old people and vulnerable groups are particularly affected,” he continued.
The report also puts the number of wounded in the Donbass at nearly 15,000.
“It’s imperative for all the parties to respect the decisions of the Minsk accords and to cease indiscriminate bombardment and other hostilities, which have created a catastrophic situation for civilians, in flagrant violation of international humanitarian laws and human rights,” the high commissioner said.
The report also underlines the particularly difficult situation for hundreds of thousands of people in the country who have been displaced by the conflict. According to the Kremlin, 814,000 Ukrainians have fled to Russia. For its part, Amnesty International speaks of one million displaced people in Ukraine.
Torture and arbitrary detention
The report condemns the arbitrary detentions, the cases of torture, and the forced disappearances committed by both sides. According to Human Rights Watch, the Kiev government has arbitrarily questioned over 1,000 people suspected of pro-separatist sympathies. Several witnesses have reported mistreatment. An enquiry is also under way concerning a battalion of the Ukrainian army which allegedly kidnapped and tortured opponents. In nearly every case, the captured people were beaten, their possessions (for example their vehicle or objects of value) were allegedly confiscated by members of the battalion. Some had to pay a ransom for their freedom.
Similar crimes allegedly were committed on the separatist side. Thus Amnesty International took down the statement of Sasha, a 19-year-old pro-Kiev activist, kidnapped by an armed group from Lugansk on June 12. Beaten for 24 hours and tortured with electricity, he allegedly was finally freed against payment of a 60,000-dollar ransom by his father.