Human Rights House Foundation statement

Oral presentation by the High Commissioner on the findings of the OHCHR report on the situation of human rights in Ukraine

19 December 2023

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Thank you.

The Monitoring Mission’s quarterly report provides excruciating detail of the on-going campaign of arbitrary detention and torture committed by Russian authorities in the context of their war against Ukraine. 

We continue to bring to the Council’s attention the cases of all unjustly detained or imprisoned in Crimea. As of last month, ZMINA Human Rights Centre reported 186 political prisoners from occupied Crimea. The treatment of human rights defenders in detention, including the denial of access to adequate medical care in detention facilities, remains deeply concerning. 

We remind the Council of the case of citizen journalist Iryna Danilovich, arbitrarily detained since April 2022 and in need of urgent medical care. She complained of significant pain in her left ear and was told by a penal colony doctor that “The pain will go away when you go deaf.” She has since lost hearing in her left ear and possibly suffered a microstroke while in detention. Her medication has been confiscated and she is denied access to medical care. 

Emin Usein Kuku, a Crimea Tatar human rights defender who’s situation we have raised several times at this Council, is not receiving regular medical examinations nor a proper diet following intestinal surgery while in detention. 

Independent journalist Vladysalv Yespenko is experiencing significant vision and blood pressure related medical issues as a result of torture while in detention.


We ask the High Commissioner what challenges OHCHR continues to face in accessing Ukrainian civilians held in places of detention and what on-going steps it is taking to address those challenges.

Thank you.