“In a situation where the international community is unable to stop this senseless war, we must continue to record its horrific consequences as accurately as possible. It is our duty, and the least we can do, is to help prevent a further escalation of this war and prevent other potential violent conflicts,” said Rosemary DiCarlo.
She reported that since her briefing to the Council on 24 August, at least 104 civilians, including 10 children, had been killed in the fighting. Many were injured.
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, during the war in Ukraine, 5,718 civilians were killed, including 372 children, and 8,199, including 635 children, were injured. This is only confirmed data, the real numbers, as Rosemary DiCarlo said, are even higher.
This war, she said, is turning into large-scale population movements. The number of internally displaced persons has reached 6.9 million. Since July alone, the number of internal refugees has increased by 300,000, mainly due to movements in the south and east of the country. The number of Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries amounted to seven million – in the last two weeks alone, this figure has grown by 300,000.
Thousands of people in the conflict-affected areas of the Donetsk region, and especially in the city of Mariupol, do not have access to running water, which is fraught with the risk of infectious diseases.
“All these figures and facts, although shocking, cannot convey the full scale of the tragedy,” said the UN Under-Secretary-General.
She said that, despite the war, humanitarian agencies of the UN system continue to provide assistance to the people of Ukraine, including those who live near the front line.
However, the UN does not have the proper capacity to deliver goods to areas not controlled by the government of Ukraine. Today, the UN provides humanitarian assistance to approximately 12.7 million people. 560 organizations are involved in humanitarian operations. 60 of them are local non-governmental organizations.
“Source of Rebirth”
“The UN is making every effort to provide protection and assistance to people in all regions of Ukraine. We remain extremely concerned about the lack of access to areas not currently under the control of the Government of Ukraine. In these areas, we have reached one million people with humanitarian assistance, but the humanitarian needs there are enormous,” said the UN representative.
Black Sea Grain Initiative
She recalled the consequences of the war in Ukraine for the whole world, in terms of food and fertilizer shortages. The Deputy Secretary General welcomed the efforts under the Black Sea Initiative. Noting that the Joint Focal Point had allowed 100 ships with a total of 2,334,310 metric tons of grain and other foodstuffs to leave Ukrainian ports as of 7 September, she stressed that 30 per cent of that cargo had gone to low and below average countries. income.
“But in order for food to be available to all those in need, Russian fertilizers and food products must enter foreign markets. The UN continues its efforts to facilitate the access of these products, not subject to international sanctions, to world markets,” said Rosemary DiCarlo.
Speaking about the situation around the Zaporozhye NPP, the UN representative repeated the Secretary General’s call for the demilitarization of the station zone.
Mission to Yelenovka
She reported to the Council on an upcoming site visit by members of the newly established Fact-Finding Mission related to the incident in Yelenovka, where on 29 July the shelling of a pre-trial detention center had killed 53 and injured between 75 and 130 prisoners.
General Carlos dos Santos Cruz of Brazil has been appointed mission leader. It consisted of Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir from Iceland and Issuf Yacoub from Niger.
“The mission must be able to carry out its work unhindered and have safe, secure and unhindered access to people, places and evidence,” the deputy secretary general said.
Treatment of prisoners of war
The UN representative expressed concern about the treatment of prisoners of war by both sides. “I want to reiterate that the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine must have unimpeded access to all persons detained during the war,” Rosemary DiCarlo stressed. She welcomed the ongoing interaction of the parties to coordinate the exchange of prisoners. Only last Friday, according to her, 14 prisoners were exchanged in the Donetsk region.
The UN representative expressed serious concern about reports of forced displacement, deportation and so-called “filtration camps” run by the Russian Federation and associated local forces.
She said that all these reports should be investigated in cooperation with the competent authorities.
According to Ilze Brands Keris, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, the UN is working diligently to collect information on various human rights violations since February 24, the date of the Russian Federation’s armed attack on Ukraine.
She stressed that the intense fighting had destroyed civilian infrastructure, including residential buildings, and forced many people to flee.
Movements to the Russian Federation
“Human rights violations in territory occupied by the Russian Federation or controlled by armed groups associated with it are also forcing people to flee. These conditions led to a situation where those fleeing danger often felt compelled to evacuate in any possible direction, regardless of their preference. Our Office has documented a significant number of cases of displacement of civilians into the Russian Federation, including about a dozen cases in which members of the Russian armed forces and associated armed groups ordered civilians in Mariupol to leave their homes or shelters and brought them to territory in Ukraine under their control, or to the Russian Federation,” said Ilze Brands Keris.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has credible evidence that Ukrainians evacuated to Russia or Russian-controlled territories, although granted freedom of movement after screening, had difficulty returning home.
They are not provided with funds or other support, and for those who have been taken to remote regions of the Russian Federation, the cost of returning can be prohibitive.
OHCHR notes that in situations “where the occupying power has ordered people to evacuate for their own safety or for military reasons, those who wish to return should be able to do so as soon as hostilities cease.”
Forced displacement of children
The Assistant Secretary General stressed that “there are credible allegations of forcible transfer of unaccompanied children to Russian-occupied territories or to the Russian Federation itself.”
According to the Office, the Russian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure for granting Russian citizenship to children left without parental care, and these children can be adopted by Russian families, and plans to relocate children do not include family reunification steps. In accordance with Article 50 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, it is prohibited to change the personal status of these children, including their citizenship, the UN representative recalled.
This practice, according to Ilze Brands Keris, has led to numerous violations of human rights, including the rights to freedom, personal integrity and privacy.
The UN spokeswoman said that “Russian armed forces and associated armed groups” subject civilians to so-called “filtering” – a system of security checks and collection of personal data. According to her, those who leave the areas of hostilities, as well as those who live in or move through the territory controlled by the Russian armed forces and groups associated with them, are being “filtered”.
Brands Keris assured that OHCHR is closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and in the region as a whole, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups who are at higher risk of human rights violations, including human trafficking.
The Assistant Secretary General urged the Russian Federation to grant the Office and other independent international monitors unhindered and confidential access to all places of detention under its control. She also appealed to the international community with a request to continue to support the citizens and residents of Ukraine who were forced to leave their homes.