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UN report: civilian deaths in eastern Ukraine averaging 36 per day

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] announced the findings of a report [press release; full report, PDF] on Friday detailing the harsh war-like conditions in eastern Ukraine that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians in recent weeks. The report covers the time period of July 16 to August 17, and documents a number of serious human rights abuses committed primarily by the armed groups who seized control over a large part of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine since mid-April. According to the report, civilians that flee the conflict area are being targeted and killed, with the death toll averaging 36 per day, and at least 2,500 civilians are reported dead from mid-April until now. The report alleges potential human rights violations on the part of Ukrainian government forces as well, such as arbitrary detention and physical and psychological torture. There is some authoritative presence governing the situation in Ukraine, but Pillay stressed there is an urgent need to end the fighting before more civilians are targeted. The Ukrainian authorities have investigated over 1,500 of alleged offenses committed by local officials and citizens, with approximately one-of-ten of the investigations resulting in charges.

The ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] in Ukraine [JURIST news archive] has escalated [AP report] recently with no immediate end in sight. Late last month, the UN OCHR issued a report [JURIST report] documenting the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Ukraine and calling for greater care to prevent civilian causalities in the region. Earlier in July, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] cited [JURIST report] mounting evidence of abductions and violence against activists, protestors and journalists in eastern Ukraine. In June, the OHCHR issued a report [JURIST report] on Ukraine that described increasing evidence of a breakdown in law and order in the country.

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