Human Lives Human Rights: Yet another escalation of the armed conflict in Ukraine will have disastrous consequences, threatening civilian lives, livelihoods and infrastructure, driving food shortages and causing mass displacement.
Already rising prices for basic foods and goods, including medical supplies, are affecting people’s right to healthcare and to an adequate standard of living in Ukraine, affecting all particularly those on low incomes.
The right to education has also been affected with schools closing intermittently over the past weeks amid security concerns.
The results of military force are likely to be devastating. Ukraine’s recent history is punctuated by conflicts involving Russian troops in Donbas and the illegal annexation of Crimea.
These episodes have torn communities and lives apart, as military forces have trampled on the rights of civilians with impunity. It’s time to break that vicious cycle.
In 2014-2015, at the peak of the armed conflict in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, all sides violated international humanitarian law leading to the displacement of over a million people. More than 13,000 people died and the toll is still rising.
In the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, Russia-backed separatist forces violated international humanitarian law by using imprecise explosive weapons in populated civilian areas, as did Ukrainian forces. They also stationed and fired these weapons from homes and civilian infrastructure.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine provoked a full-blown human rights crisis in 2014-2015, the consequences of which continue to be acutely felt to this day.
Millions of people were forced to leave their homes, and those who returned or remain in the conflict zone have lived a hand-to-mouth existence, since the region’s economy has been devastated.
Hundreds fell victim to extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings, torture, abductions, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions committed by separatist, as well as government, forces.
Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine says, about 1.45 million people are still internally displaced after fleeing the conflict in Donbas and from occupied Crimea.
Armed conflict in the very center of Europe involving a nuclear power and potentially drawing in other countries, threatens to disrupt the entire system of geopolitical checks and balances with unpredictable implications on human rights globally.
In military conflict, civilians must be protected and anyone who commits abuses must be held to account.