European rights watchdog calls eastern Ukraine situation 'acute'

2015-11-03 17:04
(Volodymyr Shuvayev, AFP)

(Volodymyr Shuvayev, AFP)

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Paris - A report released on Tuesday by the Council of Europe human rights commissioner warned of deteriorating humanitarian conditions in eastern Ukraine due to the region's ongoing conflict.

Nils Muiznieks, the commissioner, issued the report after visiting the region over the summer and noting that many concerns highlighted by international humanitarian agencies had gone unheeded.

About 8 050 people have been killed and 17 811 injured since April 2014, when fighting broke out between pro-Russian separatists and government forces. The report said that five million people need assistance as a result of the conflict.

Access to clean water and medicine has deteriorated, the commissioner said, pointing to cases of poliovirus due to lack of immunisation and difficulty accessing HIV tests and treatment. The report cited unverified information indicating there have been up to 400 deaths from diabetes due to patients being unable to access drugs.

"The damage caused by the ongoing armed hostilities to medical facilities is extremely alarming," Muiznieks said in the report. "According to UN OHCHR [Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights], more than 150 health care facilities have been partly or completely destroyed in the conflict-affected areas as a result of indiscriminate shelling."

He also said people have struggled to receive state benefits due to a government appeal of a court decision overturning a resolution to cease benefits for people not residing in government-controlled areas.

Citing investigations into serious human rights violations, the commissioner called for an end to fighting. He said it was crucial to ensure that humanitarian law was respected, and called for the rebel-held areas to continue to allow humanitarian aid.

The Council of Europe issues legal standards but cannot pass binding laws.

Read more on:    ukraine  |  france

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