At least 206 people are victims of sexual violence in the occupied territories – study

Дата: 19 April 2017
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At least 206 persons (94 men and 112 women) suffered from sexual violence in the occupied territories, but the police did not record a single case.

As reported by reporter of the Human Rights Information Centre, this was stated by Alina Bodnar, representative of the Coalition of Public Organizations “Justice for Peace in the Donbas”, at the presentation of alternative reports as a part of the Universal Periodic Review.

According to Alina Bodnar, by January 2017, Coalition members have conducted 280 interviews with victims of conflict-related human rights violations, as well as experts who have corresponding information.

Various forms of sexual violence were mentioned in a third of all interviews. These include rape, forced prostitution, forced sterilization, mutilation of sex organs, forced stripping, insults, humiliation and so on.

Of all interviwees, 59 said that they suffered from and/or witnessed sexual violence during unlawful confinement.

At least 94 women suffered from sexual violence in illegal detention facilities established by armed groups of the self-proclaimed republics.

“Though sexual violence is a common practice in illegal detention facilities established in the temporarily occupied territories, competent Ukrainian authorities do not record instances of sexual violence related to the armed conflict in Donbas adequately, including cases that may amount to war crimes. Nor do they analyze available information or create an evidence base for the national and international justice system with the aim of preventing violations of international and domestic law”, – comments Alina Bodnar.


According to her, the National Police in the Luhansk region reported that, based on interviews with former male and female prisoners during 2014-2016, there were no reported cases of sexual violence committed by representatives of illegal armed groups in Luhansk region. There is no information about the abovementioned facts in the Unified State Registry of Pre-Trial Investigations.

According to human rights defenders who prepared an alternative report, the Criminal Code provisions on liability for crimes against sexual liberty and inviolability do not take into account the specificity of violence during the conflict and these provisions do not meet international standards.

At the same time, investigation and prosecution for sexual violence committed by Ukrainian military is impeded by a series of problems and stereotypes. Investigation is ineffective and rarely leads to perpetrators being held responsible.

For example, according to the ATO force military prosecutor’s office, there were two criminal proceedings against the military men under article 152 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (rape) in 2015. They were closed due to the lack of the elements of a crime.

In 2016, there were no criminal proceedings.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is the world’s largest monitoring mechanism for the observance of human rights. As a part of this review, each UN member country must report to other countries and receive a critical assessment of its report. This is a new human rights monitoring system of the UN Human Rights Council. It is aimed at improving the human rights situation in each of the 193 countries that are members of the UN. As part of this initiative, the UN Member States directly check each other for observance of human rights.

Last time, Ukraine reported in Geneva in 2012. Then our state received 145 recommendations. Of these, Ukraine took into account 115 recommendations and partly took into account 3 recommendations.

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