World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN chief says downing of plane may be ‘war crime’

Eastern Ukraine: UN rights chief says downing of plane may be ‘war crime,’ urges probe

28 July 2014

The shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines plane over eastern Ukraine may amount to a war crime, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today said today, releasing a new report that details a total breakdown of law and order and a reign of fear and terror inflicted by armed groups in the area.

“I would like to stress to all those involved in the conflict, including foreign fighters, that every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law, including war crimes, will be brought to justice, no matter who they are,” Navi Pillay said. “I urge all sides to bring to an end the rule of the gun and restore respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

The High Commissioner made the comments while issuing a new report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission deployed to Ukraine in mid-March, calling for greater care to prevent more civilian casualties.

The report, which covers the period from 8 June to 15 July, does not officially cover the 17 July downing of the plane. However, Mr. Pillay used the launch of the report to call for a “prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation.”

The UN Security Council has also called for an international investigation into the incident, and demanded that armed groups allow unfettered access to the crash site and ensure that its integrity is maintained.

Meanwhile, in the report, the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) documents how armed groups continue to abduct, detain, torture and execute people kept as hostages in order to intimidate and “to exercise their power over the population in raw and brutal ways.”

“Already increasing numbers of people are being killed with serious damage to civilian infrastructure, which – depending on circumstances – could amount to violations of international humanitarian law,” she said. “The fighting must stop.”

More than 812 people have been abducted or detained, according to the report, including politicians and employees of the local coal mining industry, but the majority of them ordinary citizens, such as teachers and students. Those detained are frequently used to seek ransom, while some are forced to dig trenches or fight on the front lines. There are also reports of alleged executions following so-called military tribunals.

In response, the Government of Ukraine has accelerated its security operations, resulting in heavy fighting and an estimated 101,617 people fleeing to other parts of Ukraine, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

“The reports of increasingly intense fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are extremely alarming,” Ms. Pillay said, with both sides employing heavy weaponry in built-up areas, including artillery, tanks, rockets and missiles.

The report also points out how impunity in the areas under the control of the armed groups in the east has led to the collapse of the rule of law.

OHCHR noted that while the Government faces challenges to restore law, order and security, it must urgently prioritize good governance, rule of law and human rights issues, especially as Ukraine “seeks to fulfil its EU aspirations and establish a democratic and pluralistic society.”

In addition, the Office underscored that the human rights situation in Crimea remains a great concern with intensified harassment and discrimination of Ukrainian nationals, Crimean Tatars, religious minorities and activities opposed to the 16 March referendum.

The report also noted the impact of the current economic recession facing the country, particularly in the east which is the country’s centre for heavy industry.

The intensified fighting and continuation of the conflict have led to “more polarized” opinions, including dramatic escalation of hate speech, particularly on social media, as well as demonstrations and protests, including in the Parliament.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

The White House: Charting A New Course On Cuba

We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba. More>>

ALSO:


Journalist Most Recent Victim Of Israeli Military

Bashar, a journalist from Palestine TV, was shot in the left leg at Kufr Qaddum on Friday the 5th of December 2014. More>>

ALSO:

  • Palestinian Centre For Human Rights - Swiss government’s bid to convene a summit on Palestine
  • UN News - UN-backed reconstruction efforts continue in Gaza
  • UNICEF Mobilizes To Reach People Affected By Typhoon

    As Typhoon Hagupit wreaks havoc through the Philippines, UNICEF is acting quickly to support the Filipino government’s response to the emergency, providing lifesaving supplies and services for children and women in the areas hardest hit by cyclone-force ... More>>

    ALSO:

  • FAO - FAO praises government for early typhoon warnings
  • Security Council Demands End To LRA Attacks In Africa

    A Congolese refugee at an emergency school in Obo, Haut-Mbomou, Central African Republic, (CAR) after fleeing attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Photo: OCHA/Lauren Paletta More>>

    UN Condemns Botswana’s Treatment Of Bushmen

    The UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights has voiced concerns over Botswana's evictions of the Bushmen in the name of wildlife conservation. The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on cultural rights has condemned Botswana’s treatment of Africa’s ... More>>

    UN Congratulates Frontline Ebola Response Workers

    10 December 2014 – The United Nations today congratulated the front line workers in the field battling Ebola on their well-deserved recognition as Time “Person of the Year,” while countries affected by the outbreak and their partners met to ... More>>

    ALSO:

    World United States: US Must Now Recover Moral High Ground In Torture Allegations

    Mr. Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news