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US State Dept Report Details Serious Human Rights Violations in Ukraine, Occupied Crimea
31 March, 2021

The US Department of State released its annual report on human rights practices around the world on March 30. Two separate sections are devoted to the situation in Ukraine and Russia-occupied Crimea.

According to the report, Ukraine had the following significant human rights issues on the government-controlled territories:

- unlawful or arbitrary killing;
- torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees by law enforcement personnel;
- harsh and life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention centers;
- arbitrary arrests or detentions;
- serious problems with the independence of the judiciary;
- serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including violence, threats of violence, or unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists, censorship, and blocking of websites;
- refoulement of refugees;
- serious acts of corruption;
- lack of investigation of and accountability for violence against women;
- violence or threats targeting persons with disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, LGBT +, etc .;
- existence of the worst forms of child labor.

The State Department believes that the Ukrainian authorities generally failed to take "adequate steps" to prosecute and punish officials who abused their position, resulting in a "climate of impunity."

READ MORE: Freedom House Report Condemns Occupied Crimea, Donbas for Political Restrictions

In addition, the report refers to the UN and human rights groups, which note significant deficiencies in investigations into alleged human rights abuses committed by government security forces.

The State Department also mentions the cases of the murder of activist Kateryna Handziuk, journalist Pavel Sheremet and crimes during the Revolution of Dignity.

Concerning freedom of speech, the report noted that "usually individuals in areas under government control could generally criticize the government publicly and privately and discuss matters of public interest without fear of official reprisal."

The State Department also noted that much one-sided or favorable news coverage paid for by politicians or oligarchs was planted in the Ukrainian media, in particular ahead of the local elections in October 2020. They also mention the pressure on journalists working on sensitive issues by the Security Service, the Armed Forces, the police, and officials.

READ MORE: Civilian Death Toll And Human Rights Abuse On The Rise in Ukraine

The report states that the Russian-controlled occupation authorities in Crimea continue to resort to violence and persecute Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists.

And in Donbas, Russia continues to arm the militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk "people's republics". The militants themselves are obstructing international observers.

/The full report is available on the agency's website.