Civilian casualties ‘very high level’ in Ukraine, says UN human rights monitor

The head of the United Nations Human Rights Oversight Mission in Ukraine said civilian casualties in the war were high and that the dangerous conditions in the country had made it difficult to know the true number of conflicts among non-combatants.

Speaking from Uzhhorod, Ukraine, in an interview that aired Sunday on Rosemary Barton LiveMatilda Bogner warned of the dire situation in the country five weeks after being attacked by Russia.

“Unfortunately, every day civilian casualties are increasing,” he said. “This is a very high level of civilian casualties in this country.”

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has documented more than 3,000 civilian casualties, with 1,417 deaths.

But tragically, Bogner said the true number is likely much higher.

“The figures we’re recording don’t show the full picture, as we have to fully verify each individual victim, and we know there are many more than we’ve verified so far,” he said.

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An apartment building destroyed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is shown in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on Wednesday. The intensity of the siege on the city has made it dangerous for human rights monitors to work there. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

It was very difficult for his team to get information from areas and cities that experienced severe fires, such as the southeastern city of Mariupol.

“It’s like a black hole. It’s very difficult to get information from this area,” said Bogner.

“There is no electricity, communications have been cut off, so it is difficult to collect and fully verify casualties from those areas – and we know that the death toll is high in those areas.”

Experts told the CBC it would take years to determine an accurate number of civilian casualties.

Bogner added that even in some areas that were not under siege, UN teams could have difficulty gathering information on civilian casualties.

“It’s also difficult to reach people in areas that have been occupied by the Russian Federation, because people are often afraid to speak up and speak openly,” he said.

But in areas the team can reach, the fact that the UN human rights monitoring mission has been present since the start of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict in 2014 has been an advantage.

“We have a solid network across the country, a lot of people know about our work and trust our work and therefore speak to us,” said Bogner.

His team has also visited prisoners of war to ensure that international law and human rights are upheld.

Canada, officials condemn civilian deaths

The Ukrainian government has reported finding dead civilians on the outskirts of Kyiv that have been withdrawn by Russia.

The Canadian government said it would take action to punish those responsible for the atrocities.

“We strongly condemn the killing of civilians in Ukraine, remain committed to holding the Russian regime accountable, and will continue to do everything we can to support the Ukrainian people,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet on Sunday.

“Those responsible for this horrific and horrific attack will be brought to justice.”

“News reports of senseless killings of innocent civilians in Ukraine, including in Bucha, are shocking. Canada will not waste any effort, including war crimes investigations, to ensure that those responsible are held accountable,” Global wrote. Affairs Canada in Indonesia.

Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, said on Twitter that the victim had “the fate of Russian President Vladimir Putin sealed.”

“Name #Vladimir Putin will forever be associated with the crimes of cruelty and savagery. # bushings, #Mariepol and countless others will enter our consciousness and be associated with his name until the end of time. No ceasefire or agreement will change this,” Rae said.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday, Ukrainian Canadian Congress president Alexandra Chyczij called on Canada and its allies to provide Ukraine with military assistance – including fighter jets and tanks – to prevent civilian casualties in Ukraine.

“The international community is signaling to Russia that the world is ready to stand up when Russia commits genocide. And if our policies continue to be guided by a desire not to ‘provoke’ Russia – rather than a desire to help Ukraine win this war – the days and weeks that follow will bring more Buchas,” he said.

Bogner said local authorities in Ukraine had dug up mass graves to lay the dead to rest.

“We have documented evidence of improvised graves. This is a graveyard that has been arranged by local authorities and volunteers and so on to deal with the people dying there but they cannot bury it in an ordinary grave because it is too dangerous to take it. there,” he said.

“We know of at least three of these larger graves, but we know that people have buried the dead also in parks, elsewhere, with one, two, maybe three bodies.”

Bogner said the best solution right now was humanitarian corridors so that civilians in cities like Mariupol could reach safety.

WRISTWATCH | Civilian deaths in Ukraine are likely ‘much higher’ than reported, UN warns:

Civilian deaths in Ukraine likely ‘much higher’ than reported, UN warns

The United Nations warns that the number of civilian deaths in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may be much worse than reported. Rosemary Barton Live spoke with Matilda Bogner, head of the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, about the state of the country and the push for accountability. 7:38

Many still in the city are particularly vulnerable, he said.

“Unfortunately, it is the most vulnerable people who remain in cities like Mariupol,” he said.

“Others have found a way, often dangerous, but they have found a way to leave, and those who are left behind are the elderly, disabled or people who for other reasons cannot use transportation and so on to go. city.”

While the UN’s documentation of civilian casualties is partly about holding Russia to account, Bogner said preventing damage to civilians in the first place cannot be forgotten in the team’s work.

“Right now, the violations are ongoing, and we want them to stop, we want them to decrease and stop as quickly as possible,” he said.

Clara Burton

"Geek zombie. Subtly charming social media scholar. Beer enthusiast. Lifelong bacon pioneer."

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