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UN Reveals 'Grave' Rights Abuses in Russia-Annexed Crimea

A man holds a banner: "Crimea is Russia" Lyubimov Andrei / Moskva News Agency

Russia violates the rights of annexed Crimean peninsula residents with impunity, a UN report published on Monday states, citing arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and torture.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 which met with economic sanctions from Western countries which refused to recognize Moscow’s land grab or a subsequent referendum.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) accused Russian “state agents” of grave human rights violations in Monday’s report. At least one extrajudicial killing was documented on the Black Sea peninsula, the OHCHR said.

“Failure to prosecute these acts and ensure accountability has denied victims proper remedy and strengthened impunity, potentially encouraging the continued perpetration of human rights violations,” the report states.

The report said ill-treatment of a number of Crimean detainees led to at least three deaths.

Up to 10 political opponents are still unaccounted for since disappearing between 2014 and 2016, the OHCHR said.

The report documented two cases in 2016 of pro-Ukrainian supporters being “electrocuted through electric wires placed on their genitals, and threatened with rape with a soldering iron and wooden stick.”

Russia has also illegally extended its laws into Crimea and applied them arbitrarily against opponents of the annexation, the report adds.

“The judiciary has failed to uphold the rule of law and exercise proper administration of justice.”

The UN Office said that Russia has denied it access to Crimea since March 2014. It said it based its report on interviews, monitoring and fact-finding missions carried out from mainland Ukraine.

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