Peace and Security

The Situation in Ukraine is Going From Bad to Worse, Y’all!

Ongoing armed attacks by Russia against Ukraine have led to devastating human rights abuses there, according to a new report released on Tuesday by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission for the war-torn country (HRMMU).

Highlighting a wide range of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, the report notes multiple cases of “willful killings”, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and ill-treatment, and conflict-related sexual violence.

“Hostilities continue to kill and injure civilians as well as destroy and damage civilian infrastructure”, said Head of HRMMU, Matilda Bogner, indicating that hostilities “not only endanger the lives of civilians, but also leave them living in degrading conditions and undermine their rights to health, education, housing, food and water”.

Litany of abuse

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Since the Russian invasion of 24 February, the mission has recorded 5,996 civilian deaths, including 382 children, together with 8,848 injured, noting that the actual figures are much higher, as complete information from conflict zones cannot be obtained.

According to HRMMU, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention were widespread in territory controlled by Russian armed forces or affiliated armed groups, as well as cases of torture and ill-treatment of civilian detainees.

“The prohibition of torture and arbitrary deprivation of life is absolute and applies in conflict and non-conflict settings to all persons,” said Ms. Bogner. “Perpetrators must be held accountable, and victims and their relatives must enjoy their rights to remedy and truth”.

HRMMU also documented cases of rape, including of one girl; sexual violence used as torture or ill-treatment against men; forced public stripping – and other forms of sexual violence, such as forced nudity, unwanted sexual touching, sexual abuse and threats of sexual violence.

Prisoners of war

The report also found that Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) were subjected to torture or cruel and degrading treatment.

“Such mistreatment…appears to be systematic, not only upon their capture, but also following their transfer to places of internment both in territory of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation and in the Russian Federation itself,” said the HRMMU chief, calling it “a grave violation of international humanitarian law” that Russia must address.

Meanwhile, some Russian POWs were tortured and ill-treated by Ukrainian armed forces as well.

There must be timely and effective investigations into all allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, including torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and sexual violence,” she continued, adding that “regardless of their affiliation,” perpetrators need to be “duly prosecuted”.

‘Shrinking civic space’

Hostilities have severely impacted the rights of persons with disabilities and the elderly, the majority of whom are women, leaving them without healthcare, adequate housing, heating, water and electricity.

Furthermore, some journalists, media workers, and bloggers have been killed in areas controlled by the Russian military or affiliated armed groups.

The report emphasized that freedom of expression, including access to media, has been restricted in occupied areas.

“We are concerned that the shrinking civic space and highly restrictive environment in areas occupied by the Russian Federation deter people from reporting the human rights violations they have experienced or witnessed,” said Ms. Bogner said.

© UNICEF/Ashley Gilbertson

A twelve-year-old girl stands in front of her school which was destroyed in an air strike during the conflict in Kharkiv, Ukraine.


The report made recommendations to both Governments and the international community and called for their swift implementation to improve human rights in the country, better protect civilians, and strengthen accountability.

Ms. Bogner assured that HRMMU would “continue to document and report the facts on the ground and give a voice to victims”.

“We consider this to be an essential part of seeking to prevent further violations and hold those responsible accountable for the violations already committed”.



  1. It is heartbreaking to see the dire and deteriorating pattern of rights abuse continuing in Ukraine. The ongoing armed attacks by Russia have resulted in devastating human rights violations. The new report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission sheds light on a wide range of violations, including willful killings, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture, and conflict-related sexual violence. Hostilities not only harm civilians but also destroy crucial infrastructure, leaving people in degrading conditions and violating their basic rights to health, education, housing, food, and water. The litany of abuse detailed in the report is truly disturbing. Since the Russian invasion, the civilian death toll has reached alarming numbers, with many more injured and missing. This situation of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention must be addressed urgently.

  2. How can the international community better support civilians in Ukraine amidst such dire circumstances?

    1. One crucial way the international community can better support civilians in Ukraine is by increasing humanitarian aid and protection efforts. This includes ensuring safe access to vital resources such as food, water, and medical supplies, as well as establishing safe havens for those fleeing conflict zones. Additionally, diplomatic pressure on aggressor nations and bolstering support for human rights organizations working on the ground are essential steps towards alleviating the suffering of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. Solidarity and swift action are paramount in times of crisis like the one unfolding in Ukraine.

  3. In my opinion, the situation in Ukraine is incredibly heartbreaking. The ongoing armed attacks by Russia are causing devastating human rights abuses, as pointed out in the recent report by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission. It is alarming to see the litany of abuses documented, including willful killings, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture, and conflict-related sexual violence. Hostilities are not only taking lives but also leaving civilians in degrading conditions and stripping them of their basic rights. The numbers of civilian casualties are staggering, and the impact on health, education, and overall well-being is immense. We cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of innocent people in Ukraine.

  4. As a concerned citizen, it’s disheartening to see the situation in Ukraine deteriorating at such a rapid pace. The atrocities committed against civilians, including children, are truly alarming. It’s crucial for the international community to take immediate action to protect the innocent lives at risk.

  5. It is truly heartbreaking to see the ongoing atrocities in Ukraine. The innocent civilians are suffering immensely due to the senseless violence perpetuated by Russia. The international community must come together to support Ukraine and bring an end to this tragedy.

  6. It’s truly heartbreaking to see the situation in Ukraine deteriorate like this. The ongoing attacks by Russia are causing immense suffering to the innocent civilians. It’s time for the world to stand together and take action to protect human rights and bring peace to the region.

  7. Do we have any updates on the efforts being made to provide humanitarian aid to the affected civilians in Ukraine?

    1. Hey JennaSmith_87, thanks for bringing up such an important question. Humanitarian aid organizations are actively working on the ground in Ukraine to provide crucial assistance to the affected civilians. They are distributing food, water, shelter, and medical supplies to help alleviate the suffering caused by the ongoing conflict. It’s heartening to see the global community coming together to support those in need during such challenging times.

  8. It’s truly heartbreaking to see the situation in Ukraine deteriorate so rapidly. The ongoing armed attacks by Russia, as documented by the UN report, are causing unimaginable suffering to the Ukrainian people. We must stand in solidarity with them and demand an immediate end to these egregious human rights abuses.

  9. As a longtime advocate for human rights, it is utterly disheartening to see the ongoing tragedies in Ukraine. The continuous attacks by Russia must be condemned by the international community, and immediate action is necessary to protect the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

  10. Is there any international intervention planned to stop these human rights abuses in Ukraine?

  11. As a concerned citizen, it is disheartening to see the situation in Ukraine deteriorating at such an alarming rate. The ongoing attacks by Russia are not only causing immense human suffering but also flagrantly violating international laws. The report’s findings on the atrocities committed are deeply troubling, and urgent action must be taken to protect the rights and lives of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

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