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Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine evidences a crisis in the international human rights protection system

09 Dec, 2022
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Russia's full-scale aggression against Ukraine evidences a crisis in the international human rights protection system

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Head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak has said that Ukraine will definitely seek to punish all those guilty of crimes against Ukrainians during the full-scale war unleashed by Russia, and will continue working tirelessly to return all prisoners of war and deported Ukrainian citizens.

He said this while participating in the discussion panel "War against human rights" within the "UA: Human Rights in Dark Times" International Conference in Kyiv.

The head of the President's Office reminded that 74 years ago, the UN General Assembly adopted the text of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was approved.

"At that time, humanity was horrified by the bloody crimes of the Second World War and was eager to prevent them from happening again. But, unfortunately, today Ukraine is once again experiencing the horrors of genocide, because Russia has been waging war against us for almost nine years," he said.

Yermak said that today, the Office of the President, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War are working around the clock to bring every Ukrainian hero and every citizen home.

According to him, Ukraine is dissatisfied with the work of those international organizations, thanks to which our state could have all the necessary information, influence the conditions in which Ukrainian prisoners are held and what happens to them, the fate of illegally deported Ukrainian children. First of all, it is about the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"The mass deportation of children is a vivid proof of the genocide of the Ukrainian people. This is exactly how the International Convention on the Crime of Genocide defines it," said the head of the President's Office.

Yermak reminded that the Coordination Council for the Protection of Children's Rights works, which unites the efforts of all public bodies of Ukraine. In his opinion, other countries, international organizations and people around the world should also consolidate efforts to identify and return home Ukrainian children.

The head of the President's Office is convinced that all available facts show the undeniable importance of creating an international tribunal to try the crime of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

"I would like to thank our partners – many parliaments have already supported this. And I think this path will continue. And all those who gave orders, all those who executed them, those who killed, must answer for this. Be assured that we will not forgive anyone, we will not forget anyone," he said.

Yermak said that with the aim of stepping up international efforts, an information human rights office was created, which regularly should publish data important for the world human rights community regarding human rights violations during Russian aggression.

In addition, the head of the President's Office is convinced that after this war, many things will change in the world, and the international community needs a kind of "911 service," when every country that finds itself in such a situation as Ukraine today could receive a quick, concrete and effective help.

"We are ready, together with our partners, to create missions that will come and monitor the conditions in which the prisoners are today, to resolve various issues very quickly. Because it is about human lives," he said.

First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzhaparova said that when starting from 2014 human rights were massively violated in the Ukrainian Crimea temporarily occupied by Russia and the world did not pay due attention to it, then the events that everyone can see starting from February 24, 2022 happened.

"President Volodymyr Zelenskyy constantly says in his speeches that everything started with Crimea and will end with Crimea. On his initiative, we created an unprecedented format of the Crimea Platform, which brought the topic of Crimea to the top of the international agenda. Its goal is the de-occupation of Crimea, and I am sure that we will de-occupy Crimea, restore justice, launch not only compensation mechanisms and a tribunal, but in general change the entire collective security system," she is convinced.

The President of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI), Australian Ombudsman Chris Field said that his colleagues from all over the world support Ukraine and will do so not only at the time when Russia's full-scale aggression continues, but also after the victory of our country, since the Russian Federation has already committed many war crimes and continues doing so.

Matilda Bogner, Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, said that the numbers of war victims are much higher than those currently documented by the UN. According to her, relevant representatives of the United Nations will visit all territories of Ukraine to which they have access, in particular those that the Ukrainian state has returned to its control.

Olha Aivazovska, the chair of the board of the Civic Network OPORA, believes that the rights to life, education and choice need the most protection in Ukraine today.

In her opinion, the right to life will not be protected until the accountability system becomes effective.

"If a special tribunal to try the crime of aggression is not created, then Russia will not bear responsibility. And in this decision, there is hope for Ukrainian society, because the inevitability of responsibility is a basic principle for the protection of rights," Aivazovska said.

Released from Russian captivity, the head of the medical service of the 501st marine infantry battalion, Mariana Mamonova, said that staying in places of detention such as the Olenivka colony in the occupied territory of Donetsk region deprives people of all possible rights, and various methods of violence are used against prisoners.

"Believe me, captivity is not always a chance for life. Therefore, when I returned to Ukraine, I was given back my human rights, the right to freedom," she said.


The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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