ZMINA presented alternative report on Russia’s compliance under the ICCPR at the UN Human Rights Council

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ZMINA Human Rights Centre’s international advocacy manager Maria Kurinna participated in the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC50) with the Human Rights House Crimea members.

Kurinna participated in the NGO formal briefing on the Russian Federation that reviewed the compliance of the Russian Federation with its obligations under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) with the members of Human Rights House Crimea international advocacy manager Alissa Novitchkova and Crimean Human Rights Group’s Head Olga Skrypnyk on June 27, 2022.  Kurinna delivered an oral statement with updates on the situation with human rights in the temporarily occupied Crimea and newly occupied territories of Ukraine, as well as paid attention to the attacks on media workers and media outlets that have been taking place since February 24th, when Russia launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

“The atrocities carried out by the Russian forces in Ukraine comprise of targeting of civilian infrastructure, persecution, enforced disappearances, abductions, illegal detention, ill-treatment, sexual violence, including tortures of civilians, e.g. active members of local communities, journalists, self-government officials, religious leaders, forced deportation, forcing civilians to go through so-called filtration camps, family separation, extrajudicial executions of civilians, amount to serious violations of the ICCPR,” reported Kurinna. 

She also drew attention to the systematic persecution of human rights lawyers who defend activists in the occupied Crimea, the majority of whom are representatives of the Crimean Tatar’s indegiounous people. 

Maria Kurinna highlighted the strategy of Russia to suppress any dissent by threatening civil society in the occupied territories by committing such gross violations of human rights as enforced disappearances. 

“On April 29, 2022, activist and citizen journalist Iryna Danilovych went missing in the Crimea. Russian security forces searched Iryna’s house, where she lived with her parents, and seized her phone and equipment. Danilovych was held for eight days in the FSB building. She was held incommunicado for 13 days.  The “law enforcement” representatives forced Danilovych to be tested by a lie detector and threatened to “take her to the forest” if she hid something. Throughout this time, she was fed once a day and head-sacked. She was later told to sign some blank sheets of paper in exchange for her potential “release.” Once the woman has done so, she was told that 200 grams of explosives had allegedly been found in her bag. Afterward, criminal prosecution was registered,” reported Kurinna.

Kurinna emphasized that the abduction of Iryna Danilovych in Crimea amid large-scale enforced disappearances in the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and other temporarily occupied regions of Ukraine testifies to a real threat to life, health, and freedom of civil society activists, human rights defenders, and other people in all territories temporarily controlled by Russian occupation forces. Persecution of those showing dissent in Crimea adds to the large scale of atrocities in the other territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia since February 24th and portrays the consistent strategy of Russia to suppress freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of movement of Ukrainian citizens. 

Head of ZMINA Tetiana Pechonchyk together with Kurinna participated in the informal briefing of the UN Human Rights Committee on the Russian Federation on June 27, 2022. 

On July 5, 2022, Kurinna delivered the oral statement at the ID on HC oral presentation on Ukraine (res. 47/22) and the interim report of SG on human rights in Crimea (GA res. 75/192) with the participation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Michelle Bachelet and UN HRCR President Federico Villegas. Oral presentation of the High Commissioner of the findings of the periodic report of OHCHR  on the report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine were presented. Video-record of Kurinna’s oral statement in English, time mark is 1:39:19. 

Kurinna met with a range of the UN mechanisms and agencies, e.g. Special Procedures. Several meetings with various Permanent Missions to the UN, international organisations, and INGOs were conducted.

Kurinna participated in the side-event “Ukraine study on the status of and opportunities for reparations for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence” by Global Survivors Fund and the working group for the reparation for women survivors of sexual violence that consists of representatives of Japan, South Korea, the USA, the UK, and Belgium. Kurinna presented the work of Ukraine 5AM Coalition to the organisers.  

Reference. Human Rights House Crimea made the Submission on the situation with human rights in Crimea to the Human Rights Committee under the ICCPR during its 134th session Russian Federation’s Periodic Report in January 2022. Human Rights Centre ZMINA and JFJ submitted a written contribution to the UN Human Rights Committee (UN HRC).  ZMINA additionally submitted an update to the UN HRC highlighting new developments and violations of human rights, including information regarding the human rights violations in the territories of Ukraine that came under the control of Russia after 24 February 2022. The delegation of the Russian Federation did not attend the Formal briefing of the UN HRC and the review was postponed.