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UN Human Rights Council 48: UK statement for the interactive dialogue with the the High Commissioner on the human rights situation in Ukraine

UK International Ambassador for Human Rights Rita French gave a statement outlining the UK's concerns about the welfare of at least 118 Ukrainian political prisoners currently held by Russia.

5 October 2021

The United Kingdom thanks the High Commissioner for her update and welcomes the latest report on the human rights situation in Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.

We remain deeply concerned about the welfare of at least 118 Ukrainian political prisoners currently held by Russia, including the five Crimean Tatars detained in September. Their arrests bring the number of Crimean Tatars held by Russia up to 79.

OHCHR has again documented cases of individuals arrested by Russian law enforcement officers being denied access to their lawyers; an unacceptable breach of fair trial guarantees. Allegations of torture, ill-treatment and the denial of medical care are deplorable.

We call on Russia to immediately release all Ukrainian political prisoners, and ensure unrestricted access for international monitoring organisations to Crimea and eastern Ukraine. It is a sign of the disregard that Russia has for its obligations under international law that we are compelled to repeat our concerns so regularly.

We commend Ukraine's engagement with OHCHR and their commitment to address human rights abuses and violations, including through the human rights work-strand of the International Crimea Platform. High Commissioner,

What more can the international community do to challenge the mistreatment and arrests of Ukrainian citizens, particularly Crimean Tatars and religious and ethnic minorities, in illegally annexed Crimea, who are disproportionately targeted by Russian aggression?

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