As we reported before, our Association held from 2020 direct permanent communication with UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC) structures on the Crimean issues. More than 50 ARC’s submissions were sent to UN and more that 30 of them were published on the UN web-sources. After the total Russia’s invasion to Ukraine started in February, 2022 Association sent emergency letters to most of such UN authorized bodies describing the humanitarian catastrophe, caused by the Russia’s aggression.

Due to the Russian aggression Resolution 49/1 was adopted by the Human Rights Council on 4 March 2022. This UN act condemned in the strongest possible terms the human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law resulting from the aggression against Ukraine by Russia.

HRC called in its resolution for the swift and verifiable withdrawal of Russian troops and Russian-backed armed groups from the entire territory of Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders and its territorial waters, in order to prevent further violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in the country, and stresses the urgent need for the immediate cessation of military hostilities against Ukraine.

UN HRC expressed in resolution 49/1 its grave concern at the documented harm to the enjoyment of many human rights, including the rights to life, to education, and to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, caused by Russian shelling and bombing in populated areas. More, HRC established by the resolution 49/1 an independent international commission of inquiry with the broad mandate, comprising three human rights experts, to be appointed for an initial duration of one year, complementing, consolidating and building upon the work of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, in close coordination with that UN Mission and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

More, during last week some UN experts’ official statements regarding Russia’s aggression were done, including statement on duty to protect the Ukrainian aged people and persons with disabilities, as Russia-initiated intense urban warfare in Ukraine, by necessary implication, destroys the very fabric of supports on which many civilians rely. In other statement UN experts said particular attention needs to be paid to the plight of women and children, who have been forcefully displaced in conditions of the Russia’s aggression. Another UN human rights experts statement “Protecting life must be a priority” was done in Geneva, with call on Russia to immediately end its invasion of Ukraine to avoid further bloodshed and loss of life.

UN experts stated in it that Russian military operations in Ukraine have, thus far, resulted in the death or injury of hundreds of civilians of all ages, including women and children, and the displacement of a million refugees who have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries in addition to at least one million people who have been internally displaced since the Russian invasion. In this context, persons are more exposed to going missing and families can be separated.

UN experts stressed that customary international law provides that each party to the conflict must take all feasible measures to account for persons reported missing as a result of armed conflict and must provide their family members with any information it has on their fate. Many more risk dying as a result of the destruction of essential infrastructure, including health care facilities and institutions for older persons with disabilities, UN experts added.

The attacks against nuclear sites and plants risk further endangering the lives of millions, in Ukraine and the wider region, the UN experts said, and they stressed their concern by the reported use by the Russian military forces of weapons, such as cluster bombs and ammunitions, having excessive and injurious effects on the population. Experts reminded that cluster bombs are extremely dangerous and difficult to clear and therefore also constitute a long-term obstacle in post-conflict recovery and reconstruction processes.

UN experts condemned the targeting and indiscriminate bombing by the Russian military forces of residential buildings and civilian objects and infrastructures, including schools, kindergartens, care institutions and hospitals, and call for the protection of all cultural heritage sites, such as the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial site in Kiev, which has been damaged.

The UN experts recalled that intentional attacks against civilians and civilian objects amount to war crimes. They supported the above-pointed HRC initiative  for the setting up by Resolution 49/1 of an investigative and accountability mechanism, as well as the decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the situation in Ukraine.