UN rights experts urge peace as Ukraine death toll exceeds 3,000 News
UN rights experts urge peace as Ukraine death toll exceeds 3,000

[JURIST] A senior UN human rights official said on Monday that the death toll in Ukraine [BBC backgrounder] has risen above 3,000, and pleaded for peace to spare more bloodshed. Ivan Simonovic [official profile], the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, stated that the confirmed deaths due to the fighting that began in April was now at 2,729, and more than 3,000 if victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are included in the total. He noted that the actual number could be much higher since many deaths go unreported. Simonovic attributed [UN News Centre report] the increase in casualties to “the intensified fighting, including the use of heavy weaponry and indiscriminate shelling in densely populated areas.” He also said that there has been a rise of displaced people due to the conflict, stating “About half of the population of Luhansk and one-third of Donetsk have fled. … [A]lleged large-scale participation of foreign troops, may cause a new wave of displacement further exacerbating the human rights situation.”

The crisis in the Ukraine [JURIST news archive] has continued to escalate over recent months with no immediate end in sight. Last week UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced the findings of a report [JURIST report] detailing the harsh war-like conditions in eastern Ukraine that have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. The report noted that civilian deaths are averaging approximately 36 per day, and also documented 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. 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 cited [JURIST report] mounting evidence of abductions and violence against activists, protestors and journalists in eastern Ukraine.