The other day Eamon Gilmore, the Special Representative of the European Union for Human Rights, visited Ukraine, as well as the territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics temporarily controlled by Ukraine. Following the results of his trip, Gilmore expressed opinions in a number of media outlets raising many questions about the compliance of these conclusions with the real state of affairs in Donbass.
Thus, the EU representative said that Europe is concerned about the human rights situation in the territories of the Republics, but at the same time noted that the European Union supported the progress made in that area in Ukraine. We are extremely surprised by such one-sided, if not obviously biased assessments on the part of Gilmore. It was completely unclear what the EU Special Representative’s messages basis was, especially given the fact that he visited only the territory controlled by Ukraine and did not express any desire to personally come to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
It is for this reason that we do not understand how Gilmore can claim that the European Union is concerned about the situation of people imprisoned in the territory of the DPR and LPR because the EU “received allegations of detainees’ torture.” The Republics’ authorities have not received any requests from Gilmore to visit places of detention, and it is clearly inappropriate for an official of such a level as Gilmore to draw conclusions about the situation based on rumors and other speculation.
In addition, the question arises whether the special representative have visited the persons held by Ukraine, for example, treacherously captured (https://t.me/mid_lnr/2585) by Kiev 17 days ago Andrey Kosyak. We know neither about such a visit nor the European Union concerns about Andrey’s fate. This is the clearest example of a human and civil rights violation.
In general, the human rights situation in Ukraine is getting worse from year to year. And these are not allegations. OHCHR reports the numerous recorded cases of gross infringement of human rights and freedoms on the territory of this state, namely:
– the latest OHCHR report of September 23 indicates extreme concern about the increase in civilian casualties in Donbass. It is indicated that 77% of these victims were recorded on the territory of the Republics as a result of shelling by Ukrainian armed formations;
– OHCHR notes the continuation of arrests by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and other Ukrainian law enforcement agencies in criminal cases related to the conflict in Donbass, without a court decision and in violation of the detention procedure in the act;
– attention is drawn to the multiple inconsistencies of the draft law on the transitional period with international standards on transitional justice;
– the cases of attacks and threats against representatives of national minorities, journalists, human rights defenders, and civil and political activists, including those criticizing nationalist initiatives of the Ukrainian authorities and the law on the state language in Ukraine as well are documented;
– concern is expressed about the high level of pressure on media employees, in particular, about the illegal closure of the TV channels 112 Ukraine, ZIK, and NewsOne.
Nevertheless, Gilmore prefers to ignore these facts in his media appearances. But he welcomes “the efforts of the Ukrainian leadership to facilitate the obtaining of pension rights for residents of territories not controlled by the government.” Apparently, the representative of the European Union did not study this issue in great detail. Otherwise he would have known that Ukraine has a multimillion debt on pensions and other social payments to the residents of Donbass and does not express the slightest willingness to agree on ways to repay these debts to our citizens at the Minsk platform. Ukraine refused all the proposed mechanisms, including mediation by international organizations, which would allow Kiev to pay pensions to people directly at their place of residence, and even blocked the opening of new crossing points.
Let alone the humanitarian situation. The EU Special Representative speaks about it like that: “We are very concerned about the humanitarian situation of people affected by the conflict; therefore we announce the allocation of an additional 3.5 million euros for their support.” Apparently, the deep concern of the European Union about the people’s situation extends only to the part controlled by Kiev. But the EU Special Representative did not even seem to care for neither the fate of an 11-year-old girl wounded in the DPR a week ago as a result of shelling from the Ukrainian armed formations, nor thousands of people left in the cold with no windowpanes, gas and electricity in their homes because of these attacks. The state of affairs in the Humanitarian Working Group, where the Kiev delegation has been blocking the possibility of new exchanges for a year and a half, openly sabotaging their obligations to release citizens from criminal prosecution, and refusing all our proposals for real assistance to the residents of Donbass he ignores as well.
We urge Gilmore to abandon a one-sided approach in his assessments, which does not enhance his professional reputation and also directly contributes to the conflict escalation in Donbass. We also invite the EU Special Representative for Human Rights to personally visit the territory of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as take part in meetings of Contact and working groups. In this case, Gilmore will have a chance to personally verify who is responsible for sabotaging constructive work to resolve numerous humanitarian, economic, political, and other aspects of the settlement in Donbass, as well as to avoid suspicion of bias and the spread of disinformation.