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The European Union would like to thank the High Commissioner for his important update on the situation in Ukraine.
The EU continues to follow with utmost concern the ongoing human rights violations and abuses committed against persons living in areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by so called 'separatists' and in illegally annexed Crimea.
The 22th report of the OHCHR Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine documented no substantial improvement of the human rights situation. 19 civilians were killed and 62 injured during the reporting period and hostilities continued to undermine people’s right to live in dignity, restricted their access to drinking water, healthcare and pensions, as well as affected their ability to safely go to school or work, travel without hindrance, and receive compensation for damaged property. The report further pointed to continued arbitrary detentions and denial of access to places of detention in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The continuing human rights violations committed on the Crimean peninsula since its illegal annexation by the Russian Federation remain of great concern to the EU. We reiterate that the EU does not recognize the illegal annexation and will continue to condemn this violation of international law. The EU remains committed to fully implementing its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures. We are alarmed by continuous persecution and violations of the rights of the Crimean Tatars and of persons belonging to Ukrainian speaking communities, as well as crackdown of the rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, movement, and religion and belief.
The EU calls for the immediate release of all Ukrainian citizens who are illegally detained in Russia and in illegally annexed Crimea, including Oleh Sentsov and others whose detention in Russia is illegal and whose cases are in breach of international law and elementary standards of justice.
The EU calls on all sides of the conflict to respect international human rights and humanitarian law and in this context we stress that all international human rights observers and monitoring mechanisms should be granted full, free and unhindered access to the entire territory of Ukraine. This includes especially illegally annexed Crimea, as laid out in UN General Assembly resolution 71/205 and the resolution 72/190 on the situation of human rights in Crimea/Sevastopol. It is unacceptable that millions of civilians, including Crimeans, remain outside the monitoring mechanisms. We stress the need to fully implement the UN General Assembly resolutions on Ukraine and recommendations contained in the OHCHR Mission's reports.
It is also crucial that all parties fully respect and implement their obligations under the Minsk Agreements as a first step towards a sustainable political solution that is based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard and once again call on Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists it backs to meet these commitments in full.
The EU follows endeavours made by Ukraine with regards to the Law on Education, and underlines the need for the full implementation of the Venice Commission's recommendations and the need to ensure respect for rights already exercised of persons belonging to national minorities as enshrined in UN and Council of Europe conventions and related protocols. The EU will continue to promote respect for diversity by protecting and promoting human rights of persons belonging to national minorities in accordance with the applicable UN and Council of Europe norms and standards.