Amnesty International called on the parties to the conflict in the Donbass, to punish those responsible for illegal detention

Impunity for violations related to detention in the context of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine by the Ukrainian authorities and Russian-backed separatists continues to take place. This is stated in the statement of the Amnesty International Ukraine.

The document States that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch repeatedly urged both sides to put an end to this situation, to stop all arbitrary and secret detention and ill-treatment of detainees and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The organisation recalled that since the previous report in July about the situation under secret detention in the Kharkiv SBU was released 18 people.

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“The last three of these detainees were released in December 2016, and, as far as we know, the Kharkiv Department of SBU no longer holds people detained informally. However, since the Ukrainian government did not recognize neither the fact of detention or release, and took no effective steps to prosecute for the violation, we cannot say that this blatant practice completely stopped,” - said in a statement, adding that positive developments in relation to the violations related to the detention by Pro-Russian militants, not fixed.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch stressed that persons detained by the conflicting parties in Donbas are under the protection of international law for the protection of human rights and international humanitarian law, which prohibits illegal detention, torture and other ways of behaving degrading. “According to international standards, allegations of torture and ill-treatment should be investigated, and if there is sufficient evidence, those responsible must be held accountable. Detainees should be provided with adequate quality food, water, clothing, residence and medical care. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch call on all parties to the conflict in the East of Ukraine to inform all forces under their control, the consequences of ill-treatment of detainees in accordance with international law”, - stated in the message.

The statement also said that the militants “LDNR” continue to hold detention of civilians without communication with the outside world, without access to lawyers and family members.

“Local security forces operate without any checks and balances; complete absence of the rule of law in the territories controlled by separatists, deprives people detained, of their rights and possibilities of effective legal protection,” added the rights activist.

In particular, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch has documented 9 cases in which Russia-backed separatists were holding civilians without communication with the outside world for weeks and months without charges and, in most cases, subjecting them to ill-treatment. The attempts of organizations to influence this issue on militants and Russia tangible results were not given.

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We will remind, in the summer of 2016, Amnesty International published a report, which declared the secret detention of people by the Ukrainian security forces, in particular the security service of Ukraine and Pro-Russian militants in the Donbas. Then it was reported about the presence in Ukraine “a secret prison of the SBU”.

Later Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said the release of 13 people from the “secret prisons” of the SBU. It was reported that people were released after the publication of the human rights defenders on 21 July report “You do not exist: Arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and torture in Eastern Ukraine”, which States that the Ukrainian government and the separatists tortured and illegally detained people in custody.

In addition, before the report, representatives of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch met with chief military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios and gave him a list of 16 people who are in the “secret prisons” in Kharkov. It is noted that 12 of the 13 released men was on the list.