News / Europe

UN: Corruption, Propaganda Behind Ukraine Tensions

A female member of the "Maidan" self-defense unit stands guard in front of the Ukrainian parliament building in Kyiv, April 15, 2014.
A female member of the "Maidan" self-defense unit stands guard in front of the Ukrainian parliament building in Kyiv, April 15, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The United Nations says widespread corruption, propaganda and misinformation are to blame for escalating tensions in Ukraine. In a report released Tuesday, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights calls for perpetrators of rights violations to be held accountable for their actions.

The United Nations report looks at the root causes of the crisis facing Ukraine. It blames current disquieting events in the country on widespread corruption and economic inequality, on lack of accountability for human rights violations by security forces and on a weak rule of law.

The U.N. human rights office says protests in November in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, which were largely peaceful, turned violent and became radicalized because of the excessive use of force by the Berkut special police and other security forces.

The report says 121 people - mainly protesters - died during the demonstrations.  It also cites numerous cases of torture and ill treatment.   The U.N. investigators say violations related to the Maidan protests should be investigated and perpetrators held accountable.

Gianni Magazzeni, chief of the Americas, Europe and Central Asia Branch of the U.N. human rights office, says the current disintegration of the situation in Ukraine is due to the lack of respect for international norms and the rule of law.  He says the government must ensure good governance and the protection of  minority rights.

“One issue that the press release issued by the high commissioner this morning says is, of course, avoiding misinformation, propaganda, and incitement to hatred because, of course, if there are different narratives, if there are different points of views as to what are the facts on the ground, there are possibilities for those to increase the level of insecurity, increasing the potential for violence, for non-respect of international human rights norms," Magazzeni said.

The report released Tuesday is based on information collected during two missions to Ukraine in March by Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic and a team of U.N. rights monitors on the ground.  

Monitors found credible allegations of harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture targeting activists and journalists who were opposed to the March 16 referendum annexing Crimea to Russia.  The U.N. report also criticizes the lack of freedom of expression and assembly and other key rights in the disputed region.

The investigators note the situation in eastern Ukraine, home to a large ethnic Russian minority, is particularly tense.  Magazzeni says in a VOA interview that the government made a mistake when it sought to repeal a law that deemed Russian a regional language in southern and eastern Ukraine.  He says the acting president has addressed this problem by vetoing the proposal.  

“The government of Ukraine is doing all what is necessary in order to address some of the underlying human rights issues and trying to prepare the country for the elections on the 25th of May, which we hope will be free and fair and will even more consolidate their ability to work fully in line with the constitution of 2004 and the International human rights requirement they have," he said.

Among its many recommendations, the United Nations report calls for all those who have committed human rights violations during the unrest to be held accountable.  It says all citizens should have the right to participate equally in public affairs and political life.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Vladimir from: Russia
April 15, 2014 5:28 PM
thank God that the UN has lost all its credibility denouncing and condemning Israel...
so now, whatever UN say could be put in toilet...
the whole world is laughing at the UN...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid