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UN rights chief calls for end to fighting in eastern Ukraine

[JURIST] The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Monday issued a report [text, PDF] documenting what it refers to as "the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine" and calling for greater care to prevent civilian casualties in the region. While issuing a news report [press release] by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, which deployed to Ukraine in mid-March, Navi Pillay [official profile] urged all involved in the conflict to "bring to an end the rule of the gun and restore respect for the rule of law and human rights." The report, which covers the period of June 8 through July 15, 2014, points to a collapse of the rule of law in areas controlled by these armed groups and the groups' resulting control over local police. It also discusses how the groups continue to abduct, detain, torture and execute people kept as hostages in order to intimidate and exercise power, with more than 812 people abducted or detained thus far. These reports of violence have caused the Government of Ukraine to accelerate its security operations, with both sides now employing heavy weaponry including tanks and missiles. In the press release, Pillay also discussed the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines plane [BBC report] on July 17, which was not included in the report, calling it a violation of international law that may amount to a war crime.

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. Earlier this month Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] mounting evidence of abductions and violence against activists, protestors and journalists in eastern Ukraine over the last three months. Last month the OHCHR 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.

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