[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] issued a report [text] Tuesday finding rights violations leading up to and stemming from widespread protests that began last November. The report indicates that corruption remains one of the chief problems in Ukraine, generating much of the unrest and conflict in the nation. The report also cites widespread economic inequality, lack of accountability for human rights violations and weak rule-of-law institutions as critical factors that led to the current tensions in Ukraine. The report expresses “concerns that people—both in Russia and Ukraine and especially in Crimea—may be subject to propaganda and misinformation, through widespread misuse of the media, leading to a distortion of the facts.” On release of the report, OHCHR commissioner Navi Pillay reiterated concern [UN News Centre report] over misinformation generating unrest, stating:
Facts on the ground need to be established to help reduce the risk of radically different narratives being exploited for political ends. People need a reliable point of view to counter what has been widespread misinformation and also speech that aims to incite hatred on national, religious or racial grounds.
The report recommends immediate action to address speech that incites “discrimination, hostility or violence” in order to de-escalate tensions and recommended increased efforts by all actors to insure the protection of minority rights. The OHCHR deployed a Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) on March 14, upon the invitation of the Ukrainian government, which is currently deployed in Lviv, Kharkhiv, Odesa and Donetsk.
The ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] in Ukraine has reinvigorated fears of Cold War Era politics and increased tensions between Russia and the West. Earlier this week the UN Security Council [official website] convened [JURIST report] to address violence occurring in the Ukraine between government troops and pro-Russia militias. Also in April an inquiry by the interim Ukrainian government implicated [JURIST report] members of the special Berkut riot police [BBC backgrounder] in the deaths of 76 anti-government protesters in Kiev in February. In March the UN General Assembly [official website] approved a resolution [JURIST report] declaring the Crimean referendum to secede from Ukraine invalid. The resolution calls upon all UN states, international organizations and specialty agencies not to recognize any change in status of the Crimean region despite the referendum [JURIST report].