New UN report details grave human rights violations in Crimea

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"A key finding of the report is the grave deterioration of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Crimea over the past 3-1/2 years", said Fiona Frazer, head of the United Nations human rights monitoring mission in Ukraine.

"Grave human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture, and at least one extra-judicial execution were documented", notes the report published today by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

- The U.N. human rights office said in a report Monday that Russia is violating global law in Crimea, including by imposing Russian citizenship on its people and deliberately transferring hundreds of prisoners and detainees to prisons in Russia.

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The 48-page report alleges "grave human rights violations" have taken place on the Crimean Peninsula after its people decide to sever allegiances to Ukraine and to reunify with Russian Federation.

Many Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russian Federation to punish it for the annexation.

The report's lead author, Fiona Frazer, told reporters in Geneva that "a lack of impartiality of the judiciary" meant the legal system offered little hope to those whose rights had been trampled. "Among other implications, this led to the arbitrary implementation of Russian Federation criminal law provisions created to fight terrorism, extremism and separatism, which have restricted the right to liberty and security of the person and the space for the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms".

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The report urges Russian Federation to "effectively investigate" alleged torture, abductions and killings in the peninsula, while decrying denials of access to its own team - and urges the global community to support push for that access.

About 19,000 people - mainly civil servants wanting to keep their jobs under Russia's de facto rule - were effectively forced to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship, the report said. The move has prompted thousands to leave Crimea altogether, and has left tens of thousands who either rejected Russian nationality or did not qualify for it to be considered foreigners - losing health, property, employment and political rights as a result. "They can not own agricultural land, vote and be elected, register a religious community, apply to hold a public meeting, hold positions in the public administration and re-register their private vehicle on the peninsula".

Since the annexation, Ukraine has been wracked by conflict in its eastern regions with Russian-backed separatists, leading to more than 10,000 deaths, according to the UN.

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