Ukraine


Share
Share

Ukraine Human Rights – 2020 Report

Head of state: Volodymyr Zelensky
Head of government: Denys Shmyhal

summary

The right to health was compromised by a significant shortage of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic; families of health workers who died faced bureaucratic obstacles to compensation. Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, particularly in police custody, continued. Security service officials responsible for secret detention and torture in eastern Ukraine from 2014 to 2016 continued to enjoy complete impunity. Attacks by groups advocating discrimination against activists and marginalized minorities continued, often with total impunity. Intimidation and violence against journalists were regularly reported. Domestic violence remained widespread; access to support services was negatively affected by strict COVID-19 measures. Both sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine imposed travel restrictions, impacting the socioeconomic rights of local people. In occupied Crimea, the crackdown on dissent and human rights defenders continued.

Right to health

The right to health was compromised by a significant shortage of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic; families of health workers who died faced bureaucratic obstacles to compensation. The final figures for 2020 published by the Prosecutor General’s Office indicated that it registered 129 alleged torture cases, pressed charges in 59 cases and closed proceedings in 52 cases.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, particularly in police custody, continued. Security service officials responsible for secret detention and torture in eastern Ukraine from 2014 to 2016 continued to enjoy complete impunity. Attacks by groups advocating discrimination against activists and marginalized minorities continued, often with total impunity. Intimidation and violence against journalists were regularly reported. Domestic violence remained widespread; access to support services was negatively affected by strict COVID-19 measures. Both sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine imposed travel restrictions, impacting the socioeconomic rights of local people. In occupied Crimea, the crackdown on dissent and human rights defenders continued.

Impunity

No justice, truth or reparation was attained for any of the victims of enforced disappearance, secret detention and torture and other ill-treatment of civilians by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) from 2014 to 2016, and not a single suspected perpetrator was prosecuted.

Discrimination

Members of groups advocating discrimination (commonly described in Ukraine as far-right groups) continued to target civil society activists, political opponents, journalists and members of marginalized groups with harassment, intimidation and violence – often with total impunity.

Roma

Discrimination against Roma persisted. The pandemic further affected their livelihoods as the informal economy, on which many of them rely, contracted. Those lacking official identification could not access social benefits, pensions, or health care.

Freedom of expression

Media remained pluralistic and largely free, although harassment of outlets in connection with their editorial policies, and intimidation and violence against journalists, were regularly reported.

Gender-based violence

Domestic violence

Domestic violence remained widespread, under-reported, and often ineffectively addressed. Legal and institutional initiatives of recent years intended to address domestic violence were often poorly implemented, if at all. Police were reluctant to issue emergency protective orders, and unwilling or unable to enforce them. Military personnel and police officers remained among those exempt from provisions under the Administrative Code which punish domestic violence. In practice, this can mean that they also avoid prosecution for domestic violence as a criminal offence, as the law is often interpreted as requiring two previous convictions under the Administrative Code to meet the threshold of “systematic” abuse needed for a criminal prosecution. The conflict in eastern Ukraine continued to amplify such systemic flaws and erode the institutional response to systems of protection.

Access to support services for survivors of domestic violence was affected by strict COVID-19 quarantine measures. The government-funded free legal aid offices switched to providing only remote consultations for survivors. This precluded help to survivors who remained in premises with their abuser and could not discuss their situation.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people

LGBTI people subjected to hate crimes were reluctant to report them, lacking confidence in the police and for fear of further reprisals. Where reported, such crimes were seldom if ever effectively investigated or qualified as such, with the perpetrators facing minor or no charges.

Donbas

Territories in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed separatists remained beyond the reach of many civil society and humanitarian actors. Suppression of all forms of dissent persisted, including through arrest, interrogation and torture and other ill-treatment by the de facto authorities, and imprisonment in often inhumane conditions. Independent information from these territories was increasingly sparse, its scarcity exacerbated by severe pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Freedom of movement

Both sides in the conflict imposed restrictions on travel across the contact line, often appearing as reciprocal measures. Families were separated and numerous livelihoods affected. Older people who should receive pensions from areas of Ukraine under government control, those in need of substantive health care including HIV-positive people, and other marginalized groups, were most affected by the lack of access to government-controlled territories.

Travel restrictions were somewhat eased in June. Restrictions applied by the de facto authorities in Donetsk appeared arbitrary. They restricted travel to certain days without explanation and travel was subject to advance application for permission, which in numerous reported cases was rejected, also without explanation.

Crimea

A severe crackdown on human rights work and all dissent continued, as did restrictions on the media. Enforced disappearances from 2014, at the start of Russian occupation of the territory, were not investigated.

The occupying Russian authorities continued to target human rights defenders, including members of Crimean Solidarity, a grassroots self-help group of ethnic Crimean Tatars. Dozens of its members faced politically motivated criminal proceedings, mostly on allegations of purported membership of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an Islamist movement banned as “terrorist” in Russia but legal in Ukraine. Arbitrary intrusive house searches, unofficial interrogation by Russian security forces, and intimidation were also widely used as reprisals against ethnic Crimean Tatars.

Read more: Amnesty International’s country report on Ukraine (2020)

Ukraine Newsroom



May 6, 2022 • Report

Russian Forces Must Face Justice for War Crimes in Kyiv Oblast – New Investigation

Russian forces must face justice for a series of war crimes committed in the region northwest of Kyiv, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing following an extensive on-the-ground investigation.

April 21, 2022 • Press Release

Amnesty International USA Welcomes “Uniting for Ukraine” But Urges Administration To Do More to Protect Ukrainians and All People Fleeing Conflict

Amnesty International USA welcomes the Biden administration’s initial efforts to welcome Ukrainians through a special parole program, and we urge the U.S. to do more to adequately address the urgent needs of Ukrainians and all people fleeing conflict, including Afghans and other Black and Brown communities in need of protection and direct support from the U.S. government.

April 10, 2022 • Press Release

New Evidence of Abuses in Poland & Belarus Highlights ‘Hypocrisy’ of Unequal Treatment of Asylum-Seekers

The Polish authorities have arbitrarily detained nearly two thousand asylum-seekers who crossed into the country from Belarus in 2021, and subjected many of them to abuse, including strip searches in unsanitary, overcrowded facilities, and in some cases even to forcible sedation and tasering, Amnesty International said today.

April 7, 2022 • Press Release

Russian Forces Extrajudicially Executing Civilians in Ukraine in Apparent War Crimes – New Testimony

Russian military forces have extrajudicially executed civilians in Ukraine in apparent war crimes, Amnesty International said today as it published new testimony following on-the-ground research.

April 4, 2022 • Press Release

Apparent War Crimes by Russian Forces in Bucha, Ukraine Must Be Investigated

Following reports of apparent war crimes committed by Russian military forces against civilians in Bucha, Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: “These reports from Bucha are showing a wider pattern of war crimes including extrajudicial executions and torture in other occupied areas of Ukraine.

April 1, 2022 • Press Release

Ukraine: Russia’s Cruel Siege Warfare Tactics Unlawfully Killing Civilians – New Testimony and Investigation

The Russian military’s siege warfare tactics in Ukraine, marked by relentless indiscriminate attacks on densely-populated areas, are unlawfully killing civilians in several cities, Amnesty International said today in a new on-the-ground investigation.

March 24, 2022 • Press Release

Activists across the globe call on Russia to end its all-out assault on human rights

On March 24, Amnesty International will stage a Global Day of Action to demand that Russia end its invasion of Ukraine — an illegal act of aggression that continues to …

March 22, 2022 • Press Release

Polish Authorities Must Act to Protect People Fleeing Ukraine from Further Suffering

The Polish authorities must relieve volunteers from the responsibility of receiving people fleeing from Ukraine and address the chaotic and dangerous situation in Poland to ensure that they do not face further suffering, said Amnesty International after the organization concluded a 10-day visit to the country.

March 16, 2022 • Press Release

Beleaguered Town of Izium at Breaking Point After Constant Attack from Russian Forces – New Testimony

Civilians in Izium in Kharkiv Region in eastern Ukraine are on the brink of a humanitarian disaster as Russian forces relentlessly bombard the town, new testimony gathered by Amnesty International has revealed.

March 11, 2022 • Press Release

Russian Authorities Block Amnesty International’s Russian-Language Website

Responding to the Russian authorities’ decision to block access to Amnesty International’s Russian-language website as part of the Kremlin’s assault on freedom of expression following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, said: “People in Russia have the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds and from all available sources. By blocking Amnesty’s Russian-language site, along with those of many other human rights organizations, independent media outlets and social media platforms, the Kremlin is showing that it can’t stomach the truth about the horror Russia has unleashed in Ukraine.

DONATE