Chief of United Nations highlights human rights violations in Ukraine

2/27/23 by Colette Lauture

As the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine advances into its second year, head of the United Nations António Guterres said today it has set off “the most massive violations of human rights” in the world today. 

In a speech to the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council in Geneva, U.N. Secretary General Guterres said that the invasion “has unleashed widespread death, destruction, and displacement.” He cited cases of sexual violence, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and violations of the rights of prisoners of war documented by the U.N. human rights office. 

Guterres also said in his speech that the now 75-year-old Universal Declaration of Human Rights is “exploited for political gain and it is ignored, often, by the very same people.” He added that “Some governments chip away at it. Others use a wrecking ball.”

His remarks followed Ukrainian military claims that said that Russia launched attacks with exploding drones on multiple regions of the country from late Sunday until Monday morning, leaving two people killed.

Officials in Russia have not budged in their decision to attack Ukraine. Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, once again voiced the possibility of nuclear war. He also chastised the United States and its allies for supplying military aid and other support to Ukraine in order to repel the Kremlin’s forces. He also asserted that their long-term goal is to break up Russia. President Vladimir Putin, chair of the Security Council, has discussed the war in similar terms. He stated that this allyship is an existential risk to Russia.

Ukraine’s presidential office said today that intense fighting continues in cities around the Donetsk region such as Bakhmut and Avdiivka, which are under persistent Russian shelling.