Intersession statement – Interactive Dialogue – HRC oral update on Ukraine

Video statement

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Thank you.

In previous statements we have noted the worrying number of attacks against human rights defenders in government-controlled territory in Ukraine, including the dozens of cases that have been documented by Zmina Human Rights Centre this year.

The latest report of the High Commissioner identifies that human rights defenders continue to be targeted by attacks, threats, acts of intimidation and hate speech.

It is particularly worrying that the High Commissioner’s report highlights that in most cases, the perpetrators are not identified, let alone prosecuted, and that this enables an environment of impunity.

We continue to urge Ukraine to work with civil society organisations to increase protection for all human rights defenders.

And we ask the Deputy High Commissioner what more could be done to tackle issues relating to impunity for attacks against human rights defenders?


The human rights situation in Crimea remains dire. Among the wide-ranging human rights challenges faced by civil society, the High Commissioner’s report highlights the acute violations faced by human rights lawyers who often face spurious administrative charges for conducting their legitimate work.

There are many such examples and we draw the Council’s attention to the recent case of Edem Semedlyaev, a lawyer from Crimea, who was jailed for 12 days in November for representing Crimean Tatars facing prosecution.

The targeting of human rights lawyers in Crimea is totally unacceptable and we call on the Russian occupying authorities to ensure that lawyers can conduct their work without fear of hindrance or retaliation.

Thank you.