Geneva: More than 9,000 people have been killed during the Ukraine conflict, the UN today said as it warned that serious human rights violations persist though there has been a significant reduction in hostilities.
“The reporting period was marked by considerable decrease in hostilities. This was the result of the revamped ceasefire agreed in Minsk on 26 August this year and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the conflict area,” said Gianni Magazzeni, Chief of the America, Europe and Central Asia Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“Though the hostilities have not ceased completely and the withdrawal requires permanent control by the OSCE [Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine], shelling of populated areas has decreased dramatically. The number of civilian casualties especially those caused by shelling has also significantly dropped,” Magazzeni added.
The twelfth report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine covers the time period between August 16 and November 15 and has monitored territories held by Ukraine, armed groups as well as the autonomous region of Crimea.
The report indicates that during the reporting period, 47 civilians were killed and 131 injured- a 232 per cent decrease from casualties in the previous reporting period between May 16 and August 15 this year with 413 civilian casualties.
“Even in the absence of largescale, indiscriminate shelling, however, people continue to die increasingly from explosive remnants of war and improvised, explosive devices” which represents 80 per cent of the new casualties, he said.
OHCHR called for the urgent need for extensive mine clearance and mine awareness action on both lines of control.
After the cut off date of the report, however, there has been an increase in ceasefire violations reported by OSCE, in the conflict areas of Donetsk and Horlivka which includes the renewed employment of artillery systems.
“This is worrisome,” the UN official said.
After the cut off period of the report, from November 16 to December 7, there have already been 27 additional casualties of which 6 have been killed killed and 21 wounded.
“There are increasing skirmishes along the line of contact [an area where 8,00,000 people live],” he added.
The trade blockade initiated by Crimean Tatars leadership in September and the damage to four transmission towers supplying electricity to Crimea by unknown perpetrators, are two new additional sources of tension in eastern Ukraine.
Moreover, “an inflow of ammunition weaponry and fighters from the Russian Federation into the territories controlled by the armed groups” leaves the situation “highly flammable,” a press brief stated.
“Our hope is that it [the Minsk ceasefire] will hold,” Magazzeni said.
The death toll since mid-April last year, including civilians, Ukrainian armed forces and armed groups is at least 9115 with another 20,797 casualties.
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