Dating back to the year 2014, both the international and domestic actors have had a real struggle with the intentions of ending the prevalent armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Despite the great effort that was put to bring to an end these issues of human rights violation, today, the situation has remained unstable, with millions of the residents having their international human rights infringed. Besides, recent literature substantiates that both the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine have increasingly held innocent civilians in what is deemed as prolonged, arbitrary and secret detentions where they are tortured. This being the case, as the United Nations Secretary General, I am of the believe that the Ukrainian and the pro-Russian separatist forces have continued to enjoy impunity in the violation of the international humanitarian law, which is inclusive of human torture and war crimes.
Besides, owing to the sporadic low scale domineering fighting which has continued in these Eastern sides of Ukraine, the two sides, pro-Russian separatists, and the Ukrainian people have continued to violate the ceasefire agreement. For this reason, the year 2016 saw the establishment of the State Investigation Bureau, whose primary intent was to investigate the unpopular violation of the international humanitarian law by both the law enforcement officials and the military. Nonetheless, up to the end of 2016, this investigation bureau was still not operational sue to various cases of human rights infringements. For instance, the Independent Media and activists were deprived of the freedom to work freely in areas such as Luhansk and the Peoples Republic of Donetsk. Based on this context, the media was perceived as pro-Russian and hence subjected to both physical and emotional harassment in government-controlled territories.
Regardless of the Minsk II Agreements which were forged in 2015, the situation in Eastern Ukraine has remained tense through to 2017. Particularly, the Minsk II Agreement was primarily intended for encouraging the withdrawal of heavy weapons by both the Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian people. Following this agreement, civilians from the two sides continued to face detention and were subjected to serious abuses since they were perceived as collaborators of the other side. These innocent civilians suffered arbitrary detention and were deprived of contact with their family or personal lawyers. According to the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (UNHRMM), these detained civilians suffered torture and other forms of ill-treatment such as deprival of medical attention, sexual violence, among many others.
Notably, the infringement of the human rights in Ukraine has always been accompanied by other factors such as the resistance of the state system to various reforms. This, in turn, has helped maintain tight binding of both government and business, hence disregarding the rule of law and human rights. As of the years, 2015 and 2016 four different realities with human rights were held in Ukraine. Firstly, there was the occupied Crimea, some parts of Donetsk and Luhansk and also other regions of the country. This being the case, the human rights situation in Ukraine has proved to be Mosaic, with some areas having full blown exploitation and widespread serious infringement of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In my opinion, in 2016, the scope of the freedom of speech substantially went down as compared to the previous years. Precisely, the human rights infringements in Ukraine do not only involve the physical and emotional torture of the residents, but also of the violation of the freedom of expression. For instance citing their information war with Russia, the Ukrainian authorities have primarily taken controversial steps which have in turn restricted the freedom of speech. Some striking examples which primarily worsened the situation in Ukraine, with reference to the restriction of the freedom of speech were such as television channels in the entire country were only allowed to broadcast filtered news and severe ramifications applied to those who broke the law. More so, over these years, the Ukrainian media failed to become a business in such a way that every journalists independence was rendered completely dependent of the degrees of civility of the owner.
Over the years, the media outlets in Ukraine, which are perceived as espousing pro-Russian or Pro-separatists views, as well as those essentially critical of the laws and authorities, have been subjected to both torture and harassment which are inclusive of threats of closure. For instance, in 2015 TV channels such as Inter, renowned in the country, received multiple threats of closure by the then Interior Minister. Owing to these repeated threats, this TV channel was occasionally accused of pro-Russian news coverage and as reported by the United Nations, as of 4th September the same year, this TV Channel was bombed. Based on these instances, there is no doubt that the Ukrainian authorities do not have stipulated rules for the protection of the freedom of media and expression as a whole.
Besides, regardless of the 2015 Ukrainian Law which was aimed at promoting media ownership transparency in Ukraine, a myriad of television channels in the country have remained under the control of oligarchs. Also, still in 2015 the Ukraine president, President Poroshenko, continued to own a famous channel in the country, and hence controlling all the content that was aired. In a similar regard, the stagnation of the judicial and law enforcement systems in Ukraine caused media ownership to remain opaque. Also, owing to the fact that the media is responsible for bringing to light the issues that have continually led to the infringement of the international humanitarian law in Ukraine, various nationalist groups have been established with the intention of attacking journalists for their work in eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian citizens are also deprived of their right to gender identity and sexual orientation. While a majority of the countries in the world today have laws stipulated for the protection of its citizens against sex discrimination, Ukraine, as a country remains adamant both in the issues relating to gender equality and sexual orientation. This, according to the international humanitarian law, is deemed as an infringement of the human rights. For instance, dating back to 2014, the Ukrainian government introduced various progressive policies that were primarily in support of lesbian, transgender, gay, and bisexual people. Nonetheless, despite these progressive policies, anti-LGBT sentiments have remained high among high-level government officials, something which has substantially led to torture and discrimination of these people, since they do not have the guarantee of protection by the government.
Besides, the internally displaced people in Ukraine, have over the past couple of years, been subjected to both torture and infringement of their human rights, as stipulated under the International Humanitarian Law. According to a report by the Ukrainian CERD committee, there are numerous concerns relating to the difficulties faced by the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ukraine. For instance, other than being deprived of their freedom and subjected to torture, internally displaced people in the country lack numerous social benefits such as pensions and medical covers. Besides, this deprival of social benefits from the IDPs is substantiated in the fact that there are no stipulated laws that offer protection of the IDPs and instead, they are only offered poor residences in what is deemed as government-controlled areas.
Dating back to February 2016, there have been the unrevealing of the ceasefire in the Eastern regions of Ukraine. Based on reports given by the United Nations, the skirmishes and violence cases experienced in the Donetsk region of the country have substantially affected large populations both in Avdiivka and Yasynuvata regions. This being the case, owing to the presence of weaponry and anti-craft missiles in these residential areas, the civilians are put at the risk of losing their lives since, the government does not offer them protection. Also, there has been an existing armed conflict between the government of Ukraine and the militant groups which are formed by the Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republic, with no guarantee of civilian protection by the government. This has particularly left the Ukrainian citizens at the mercies of war perpetrators, and this has, in turn, led to the breach of their human rights as indicated by the international humanitarian law, in the conduct of hostilities.
The Ukrainian issues of human rights infringement have continually worsened owing to various actions by the government. For instance, regardless of the implementation of the many reforms seeking to restore peace and human rights in the country, the Ukrainian government primarily fails to establish a system of fair relations of its citizens. For instance, according to the reports by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, there is a form of stagnation in both the judicial and law enforcement systems. Thus, owing to this kind of stall, the Ukrainian Civilians are left for themselves without the guarantee of protection by the law. This, in essence, has proved to be particularly dangerous for the Ukraine as a country which has also tempted the security systems, bypassing the law. This being said, the immediate results of bypassing the law, in particular for the Ukrainian citizens has steadily led to people getting to extremes of justifying acts of violence and violence as a whole as an instrument of administration of justice.
That aside, over the past couple of years, the involvement of both political and activists groups in Kharkiv, Ukraine increasingly threatens the peoples freedom of movement and association. Mainly, these groups are both employed and supported by political and business actors with the intentions of suppressing both political and social demands of the populace through violence and intimidation of innocent civilians. This being the case, as observed by OHCHR, owing to the fact that, Ukraine as a country fails to recognize in its law the need for protection of the human rights, as stipulated under the International Humanitarian providing, members of the public are left subject to threats and attacks by these right-wing activists.
The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights in Ukraine finds that systemic and gross human rights violations have been committed by the Ukrainian government, with no accountability for the citizens. Therefore, based on the policies and the stipulation of OHCR as suggested by the United Nations, I believe that there are various recommendations, which can be offered to the Ukrainian government, in an attempt to mitigate the adverse issue of the infringement of the human rights.
Firstly, from my position as a United Nations Secretary General, I am of the opinion that, there needs to be laws stipulated for the enforcement of the effectiveness of the Human Rights acts in a country like Ukraine. Notably, the reason for the prevalence of the issues of abuse and discrimination of the members of the public in Ukraine is greatly attributed to the failure to enforce a Human Rights Act. This being the case, Human rights privileges ought to be mainstreamed into the works of public services which essentially enhance aspects such as respect, fairness, and dignity among the member of the public. In the same vein, the Ukrainian government departments should ensu...
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