45th session of the UN Human Rights Council
Agenda Item 2
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary General
Intervention by Permanent Representative of Ukraine Ambassador Yurii Klymenko
September 15, 2020
Madam High Commissioner,
Ukraine shares concerns of the High Commissioner and her Office on continuing deterioration of human rights situation in many parts of the world. I wish to dwell on the Russian Federation, Belarus, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Recent events in the Russian Federation related to the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny once again prove that human life, safety, and dignity value nothing for the Russian authorities.
The Russian Federation has been trying to poison not only its own citizens physically, but figuratively – entire countries – both near and far – their minds, their civic space, and their political life, attempting to make them its obedient followers.
Those who resist, get retaliated. Like Georgia, like my own country, Ukraine, whose territories – Crimea and parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions – are occupied, and people there suffer from grave human rights and humanitarian law violations committed by the Russian occupation authorities.
As of today, about 100 citizens of Ukraine - most of them Crimean Tatars - remain detained by Russia under politically motivated charges in the temporary occupied territory of Crimea, with many of them transferred to the territory of Russia. Even in times of COVID-19 pandemic, the number of political prisoners of the Kremlin continues to rise. We call on the Russian Federation, a state seeking a seat in the Council – which it does not deserve at all – to respect fundamental human rights and freedoms, above all – the right to life.
Ukraine condemns the unlawful organization and holding by the Russian Federation of the so-called “elections” to illegal bodies established by the Russian occupation administration in the temporarily occupied Crimea on 13 September 2020.
Ukraine, as a neighbour and a friend of Belarus, follows closely the developments in that country, including in the area of human rights. We are concerned that the authorities continue to deploy unacceptable violence against peaceful protesters, causing many injuries. Thousands have been detained and the crackdown on fundamental freedoms intensified. Our hearts are and will be with the freedom-loving people of Belarus.
In Nicaragua persistent human rights violations have been documented against those who the Government perceives as opponents, including human rights defenders, journalists, social leaders, and former political detainees.
In Venezuela there are numerous restrictions to the civic and democratic space, with violations of freedom of expression, with detention of political leaders, journalists, trade unionists, health professionals, and average people protesting for public services.
As a current member of the Human Rights Council and a candidate for 2021-2023 Ukraine reiterates its commitment to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and fully cooperate with the Council.
We call upon all candidates as well as members and observers to do the same.
I thank you.