[JURIST] There is mounting evidence of abductions and violence against activists, protesters and journalists in eastern Ukraine over the last three months, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [press release] Friday. The report, entitled Abductions and Torture in Eastern Ukraine [text, PDF], documents the findings of allegations of abduction and torture perpetrated by separatist armed groups and pro-Kyiv forces. The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior [official website] has reported nearly 500 cases of abductions between April and June 2014, though reliable figures are not available. Those targeted include police, military and local officials, journalists, politicians, activists, members of electoral commissions and businesspeople. It is reported that the kidnappings and torture are being used for political control, as well as ransom. AI calls on the Ukrainian government to impartially investigate every allegation of abuse.
The ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] in Ukraine [JURIST news archive] has reinvigorated fears of Cold War Era politics and increased tensions between Russia and the West. Last month the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [official website] issued a report [JURIST report] on Ukraine that cites increasing evidence of abductions, detentions, torture and killings in the two eastern regions of the country where armed forces hold control. In May the Commission issued a report [JURIST report] covering the period from April 2 to May 6, which found alarming deterioration of human rights in the country. Earlier in May Pillay expressed grave concern [JURIST report] over the escalating unrest in Ukraine that has brought increasing destruction and death to the region. In April the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] opened an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes in the Ukraine.