Thursday 21 February 2019
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reliefweb - 12 days ago

Ukraine: Ukraine: Human rights under pressure, their advocates under attack

Source: Amnesty International Country: Ukraine
Introduction Starting from 28 November 2018, under the presidential decree of 26 November, martial law was introduced in 10 Ukrainian regions following the armed incident, and the arrest of, three Ukrainian warships and their crews by Russian border guards in the Black Sea on 25 November. According to the decree, certain rights and liberties could be restricted in these regions, which border the Russian Federation and the break-away territory of Transnistria in Moldova, for the duration of the martial law, initially set to last for 30 days. At the time of writing, During the duration of the martial law, Amnesty International observed reports that the authorities began restricting public assemblies, freedom of movement for non-residents, in particular citizens of the Russian Federation, and media freedom. The Central Election Commission also cancelled local elections in the regions concerned for the duration of the martial law. There is also a widespread feeling among the Ukrainian human rights community that the implementation of martial law has not been effectively communicated. The government has not provided detailed explanations as to why it is necessary to restrict particular rights in relation to the naval incident and how these changes will affect people’s rights and local communities. The martial law ended on 28 December 2018. It was not renewed by the end of the year. The state of martial law should not be used to enable human rights violations. Under international human rights law, including treaties that Ukraine is a part of, the scope of the martial law should be limited to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation. This requirement relates to the duration, geographical scope and any measures of derogation resorted to with the introduction of martial law. Under a state of martial law, no derogation can be made from the right to life, the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment, and the right to a fair trial. Further, the authorities, including army commanders, must make it clear that military personnel of all ranks will not be exempted from prosecution for human rights violations committed when carrying out their duties. This document does not serve as an exhaustive review of the human rights violations that have occurred, rather, it seeks to provide a bird’s-eye view of the human right trends and challenges in Ukraine in 2018.

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