UN: Eastern Ukraine casualties highest since August 2015
10:09 / 03 Aug. 2016 / 901
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on all parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine to prioritize the protection of civilians and take urgent steps to de-escalate the increasingly tense situation at the contact line, warning that civilian casualty figures have risen dramatically in the past two months.
The UN Human Rights Office documented 69 civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine in June 2016, including 12 dead and 57 injured. This was nearly double the figure for May 2016 and the highest figure since August 2015. In July, the figure rose further to 73 civilian casualties, including eight dead and 65 injured. The monthly average for June and July this year, at 71, was more than double the monthly average of 34 in the nine months between September 2015 and May 2016, the report says.
“The escalation of hostilities and the accompanying civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine over the last two months are very worrying. Civilians are once again having to flee to improvised bomb shelters in their basements, sometimes overnight, with increasing frequency – the price of the ceasefire violations is too high for the women, men and children in eastern Ukraine,” High Commissioner Zeid said.
“The many casualties we have documented in recent weeks suggest that neither Ukrainian forces nor the armed groups are taking the necessary precautions to protect civilians. We urge all sides to respect the ceasefire provisions, to remove combatants and weapons from civilian areas, and to scrupulously implement the provisions of the Minsk Agreements.
“More than half of all the casualties recorded in the past two months were caused by shelling. Between June 1 and July 31, 2016, 72 civilians were injured and six killed by shelling, including allegedly through the use of weapons expressly prohibited by the Minsk Agreements. Mines, explosive remnants of war, booby traps and improvised explosive devices were responsible for most of the remaining casualties.
As it was reported the UN created database to provide free of charge legal assistance for IDPs.
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