Death Toll in Donbas Has Surpassed 6,000 - UN
10:30 02.03.2015(updated 13:49 02.03.2015)
Indiscriminate shelling on a daily basis escalates death toll of civilians, including women, children, and elderly people in populated areas in eastern Ukraine.
GENEVA (Sputnik) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the conflict in Donbas has claimed more than 6,000 lives, commenting on a recent UN report.
"More than six thousand lives have now been lost in less than a year due to the fighting in eastern Ukraine," he said. He urged all sides to 'comply with the provisions of the Minsk Agreements and halt the indiscriminate shelling and other hostilities that have created a dreadful situation for civilians – in stark disregard of international humanitarian law and human rights law."
"From mid-April 2014 until 15 February 2015, at least 5,665 people were killed (including 298 from MH-17 flight) and 13,961 were wounded in the east of Ukraine," according to a report published Monday by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The report noted a spike in casualties since the beginning of 2015 in eastern Ukraine.
"Following a relative lull in the hostilities in December under the 'silence regime,' the security and human rights situation in the east dramatically deteriorated in January and early February 2015," the report reads.
The report also claimed indiscriminate shelling on a daily basis has killed many civilians in populated areas in eastern Ukraine.
"In areas of hostilities, there is continuing and indiscriminate shelling of highly populated civilian areas by all parties and an escalating toll of civilian casualties killed and injured on a daily basis, including women, children and elderly people," the report continues.
The report also noted that indiscriminate shelling has left civilians without any heat, gas, electricity or other vital provisions.
"The fighting and indiscriminate shelling have caused heavy damage to civilian property and vital infrastructure, leaving civilians in highly precarious situations and often without electricity, gas, heating, water or food," according to the report.
The UNHCHR report also suspects hospitals and schools were also deliberately attacked during shelling of the eastern Ukrainian regions.
"Hospitals, schools and kindergartens were hit by shelling of residential areas, including in Avdiivka, Donetsk city, Horlivka, Luhansk, Mariupol and other settlements, raising suspicion that civilian objects have been targeted or at the minimum indiscriminate shelling of such areas had been conducted in the knowledge of and with stark disregard for international humanitarian law and civilian lives," the report reads.
UN Human Rights Calls on Kiev to Lift Restrictions of Free Movement in Conflict Zones
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Kiev to lift travel restrictions in eastern Ukrainian conflict zones so that people may flee quickly and safely, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a report published Monday.
"Lift restrictions on free movement across the line of contact on the grounds of security to ensure that civilians wishing to leave conflict affected areas can do so promptly and safely without undue restrictions or delays that may put them at risk due to indiscriminate shelling and attacks at checkpoints," the report reads.
In early January, Oleksandr Turchynov, the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, said that all but seven corridors through the line of contact in Donbas in eastern Ukraine were being blocked, citing 'complex anti-terrorist activities.'
The armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine broke out in April 2014, with Kiev forces fighting Donbas independence supporters. In early 2015, the violence surged, increasing the death toll among the civilian population.
On February 15, a ceasefire came into force in eastern Ukraine. According to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the truce has so far been effective.
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