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UN Human Rights Envoy Continues Ukraine Visit

UN Human Rights Envoy Continues Ukraine Visit, As Security Council Holds ‘Urgent’ Meeting

New York, Mar 13 2014 - A senior United Nations human rights official is continuing today his mission in Ukraine, returning to the crisis-torn capital, Kiev for a series of meetings, while in New York, the Security Council is expected to meet in an open session with Ukrainian political leaders.

The Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the UN requested the Council to convene urgently “due to the deterioration of the situation in the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea, Ukraine, which threatens the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Chairing the meeting will be Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg, which holds the Council's presidency for the month. The session is expected to include a breifing from Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and hear a statement from Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

The meeting comes as senior UN officials have been appealing to all parties to de-escalate tensions and to engage in direct and constructive dialogue to forge a peaceful way forward in Ukraine, which has been witnessing unrest for several months.

Tensions heightened last week as lawmakers in Crimea, where additional Russian troops and armoured vehicles have recently been deployed, voted to join Russia and to hold a referendum on 16 March to validate the decision.

According to UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonovic continued his mission in Ukraine today, following a report yesterday that, along with logistical challenges that hindered Mr. Šimonovic from traveling to Crimea earlier in the week, he was informed by authorities that he could not be received there.

Today, Mr. Šimonovic was Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, where he met with the head of the regional council, and where they discussed the hosting of displaced people from Crimea now living in the Lviv region. He also held talks with the regional Ombudsperson.

The spokesperson said that Mr. Šimonovic then met with representatives of local non-governmental organizations, including Crimean Tatars, and they discussed the human rights situation in Ukraine.

He also had a meeting with the originator of a grassroots campaign to speak Russian in Lviv for one day in solidarity with Russian speakers in Ukraine alarmed by the decision of the country’s Parliament to repeal the language law.

“Mr. Šimonovic returned to Kiev today, where he will meet with ministers and other officials. He is scheduled to hold a press conference in Kiev tomorrow,” said the spokesperson.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

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