Human rights activists urge not to ‘legitimize military dictatorships’ in Donbas
On the eve of the meeting in the “Normandy format”, the human rights activists remind that the key provisions of the Minsk Agreements are still not fulfilled.
In particular, the armed groups of “DPR” and “LPR” have not yet released the hostages, who should have been freed ten months ago (after signing of the Minsk Agreements), notes the coalition of organizations “Justice for Peace in Donbas” in its statement.
According to the coalition, about 140 military and civilian people are still prisoners of the illegal armed groups. 86% of servicemen and every second civilian in captivity have been tortured or ill-treated.
At the same time, the lives of at least three of 21 Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia and Crimea are now under direct threat (this refers to Nadiya Savchenko, Stanislav Klykh and Yuri Soloshenko).
“Therefore, the release of the hostages and illegally detained persons must be unconditional urgent requirement and cannot be linked to the fulfillment of the other provisions of the Minsk Agreements. The persons who are held captive by the illegal armed groups may not survive till the next round of negotiations,” reads the statement.
The human rights activists insist that amnesty and elections in Donbas raise concerns under such conditions.
“In the context of amnesty, the key message for us is that peace cannot be without justice so the amnesty should not be granted for serious crimes. Those, who committed war crimes, must be punished,” the coalition stresses.
The human rights activists say that the parties to a conflict should be called for the effective investigation and fair trial.
As for the elections, the coalition notes that there is a risk to legitimize criminal organizations under these circumstances.
“Such elections in the absence of a real protection of human rights become an effective tool for legitimization of the military dictatorships. Therefore, the elections in Donbas should be preceded by the creation of conditions that have to actually ensure the freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of political association, right to a fair trial, and so on,” the human rights activists underscore.