eyeWitness to Atrocities, Insecurity Insight, Media Initiative for Human Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Ukrainian Healthcare Center (together, the submitting organizations) jointly submit this report to inform the examination of the Russian Federation (Russia) during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This submission focuses on international humanitarian and human rights law concerns relating to health care since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, violating international law and drawing widespread condemnation from the international community. The conflict has been characterized by attacks on civilians and civilian objects, including the health care system. These attacks constitute violations of applicable international humanitarian law (IHL) rules and international human rights law, including war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. They also have had a devastating impact on the fulfillment of the human right to health of the inhabitants of Ukraine.
Specifically, this submission raises the following concerns:
- Violations of IHL: Deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on Ukraine’s health care system;
- Violations of human rights in Russia-controlled territories: Torture and ill-treatment of those in captivity, including health care professionals, and deprivation of adequate medical care;
- Impact of Russia’s violations on Ukraine’s ability to ensure the respect, protection and fulfillment of the human right to health of individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction.
On November 13, 2023, Russia is scheduled for examination at the fourth cycle of UPR. In addition to launching an illegal war since the third cycle of the UPR in 2018, Russia has largely failed to implement prior recommendations relevant to the scope of this submission, including to: accede to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture, ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, end its illegal occupation of Crimea, cooperate fully and ensure access to Crimea and other occupied Ukrainian territory to all international human rights mechanisms, investigate and prosecute allegations of torture and inhuman treatment in custody, and release unlawfully detained Ukrainian citizens