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US State Department releases report on human rights observance in Ukraine

Source : 112 Ukraine

The document drew attention to unlawful or arbitrary killing; torture and closure of TV channels
20:30, 31 March 2021

Open source

The US Department of State has published a report on the observance of human rights in Ukraine, which is being submitted to Congress for consideration. The corresponding document was published on the official website of the State Department, NewsOne reports.

The document drew attention to unlawful or arbitrary killing; torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees by law enforcement personnel; harsh and life-threatening conditions in prisons and detention centers; arbitrary arrest or detention; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; abuses in the Russia-led conflict in the Donbas, including physical abuse of civilians and members of armed groups held in detention facilities; serious restrictions on free expression, the press, and the internet, including violence, threats of violence, or unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists, censorship, and blocking of websites; refoulement of refugees; serious acts of corruption; lack of investigation of and accountability for violence against women; violence or threats of violence motivated by anti-Semitism; crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting persons with disabilities, members of ethnic minority groups, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex persons; and the existence of the worst forms of child labor.

Related: Over 350 cases of prosecution of reporters in ocupied Crimea since 2014, - human rights watcher

The State Department also notes there were reports the government used formal pretexts to silence outlets for being “pro-Russian” and for being critical of its national security policy. On October 15, Derzhkomteleradio announced an unscheduled inspection of pro-Russian television channels Newsone, 112 Ukraine, and ZIK, claiming their favorable coverage of an October 6 meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk might have violated national security laws. 

On February 2, Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on sanctions against 112 Ukraine, NewsONE and ZiK TV channels. By this decree, he enforced the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on sanctions on the cancellation of the broadcasting licenses of the TV channels belonging to Taras Kozak (112 Ukraine, NewsOne, ZIK). According to the decree that is eligible since the moment of signature, the TV channels faced sanctions that will be active for five years. These sanctions make the broadcasting impossible.

Cases of violence against media workers and attacks on journalists did not go unnoticed by American officials. On June 15, members of radical groups attacked ZIK television journalist Alla Zhyznevska at the Shevchenkivskyy district courthouse in Kyiv where Serhiy Sternenko was being held and protests were organized by activists of the Youth Wing and members of the Opposition Platform for Life. Clashes broke out, and police detained five individuals. A few days prior, on June 12, Zhyznevska reported another incident in which she was conducting a story on a local market in Odesa when six unknown men emerged, demanded the journalist’s crew not take pictures, and forcibly removed them from the market. Police were called, but the six men dispersed before they arrived.

Related: EU adopts new sanctions against Russia due to human rights violations

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