[JURIST] The Council of Europe [official website] said Monday that Russia must investigate the deaths and abductions of activists in Crimea and ensure that the rights of minorities and media are respected. A 16-page report [text, PDF] by Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks [official profile] documented cases of three missing civil society activists and the deaths of local residents since Russia took over Crimea. The report highlighted serious human rights violations that have occurred in Crimea since February and called on Russia to investigate and hold accountable those responsible. The report voiced concern over the treatment of Ukrainians and Crimea’s Tatars, a Muslim ethnic minority. It also noted that freedom of speech has been undermined in Crimea in recent months.
Russia’s ongoing conflict [BBC timeline] with Ukraine [JURIST news archive] has reinvigorated fears of Cold War Era politics and increased tensions between Russia and the West. In August a Russian discount airline suspended all flights [JURIST report] as a result of tightening EU sanctions against Russia. In July the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] issued a report documenting what it referred to as the “continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine and calling for greater care to prevent civilian casualties [JURIST report]. Earlier that month Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported mounting evidence of abductions and violence [JURIST report] against activists, protestors and journalists in eastern Ukraine. In June the OHCHR issued a report on Ukraine that cited increasing evidence of abductions [JURIST report], detentions, torture and killings in the two eastern regions of the country where armed forces hold control. In May the Commission issued a report covering the period from April 2 to May 6, which found alarming deterioration of human rights [JURIST report] in the country. In April the International Criminal Court [official website] opened an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes in the Ukraine.