UN: Death toll in Ukraine exceeds 5,000 News
UN: Death toll in Ukraine exceeds 5,000

[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR] [official website] on Friday released a statement saying that at least 5,086 people have been killed [UN report] since the conflict in Ukraine began in April 2014, but expressed concerns that the real figure may be much higher. At least 262 people were killed in the past 9 days alone, and over 10,000 people have been wounded since the conflict began. The concern over civilian deaths was heightened after a shell hit a bus stopping for passengers in the Leninskyi district of of the embattled Donetsk region, resulting in significant casualties. Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office Rupert Colville expressed concerns that the Minsk Protocol [text, Russian], a ceasefire signed by leaders of Ukraine and the rebel groups in September, was not being implemented. He also noted that international law prohibits the targeting of civilians and fears that civilian death tolls may rise after a decision by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine [official website], limiting the movement of civilians in and out of the areas controlled by rebels.

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 November, the Ukrainian parliament was able to pass some key legislation pertaining to the protection of human rights [JURIST report], including laws on internally displaced persons, corruption and reform of the Office of the Prosecutor. The Ukrainian government has been subject to significant criticism for human rights violations and their use of incendiary weapons [JURIST report]. In July the OHCHR 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]. In April the International Criminal Court opened an investigation [JURIST report] into alleged crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes in the Ukraine.