UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reports civilian casualty rise in Ukraine News
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reports civilian casualty rise in Ukraine

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report Wednesday on the human rights situation in Ukraine, showing that intensified military operations by Russian armed led to a rise in civilian casualties and extensive damage to civilian property and infrastructure, particularly in areas near the frontline. The report covers the period from March 1 to May 31.

During the reporting period, at least 436 civilians were killed and 1,760 were injured. Most civilian casualties resulted from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Additionally, Russian authorities in occupied territory compelled residents to obtain Russian citizenship by restricting access to healthcare for those without Russian passports. They also increased pressure for school-age children to obtain Russian citizenship. Furthermore, Russian armed forces committed acts of torture and ill-treatment against civilians and Ukrainian prisoners of war, including severe beatings, electric shocks, deprivation of water and food, and sexual violence.

Regarding civilian casualties and the acts of torture and ill-treatment, Article 3 of the Geneva Convention (IV) stipulates that persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed “hors de combat”, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely. This means that violence to life and person against these individuals is prohibited. Article 51 of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions states that the civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations and not be the object of attack. Concerning destroying civilian property and infrastructure, Article 53 of the Geneva Convention (IV) stipulates that any destruction by the occupying power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons is prohibited. Regarding the compulsion to obtain Russian citizenship, Article 45 of the Hague Convention (IV) forbids compelling the inhabitants of occupied territory to swear allegiance to the hostile power.