Press briefing notesOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Press briefing notes on Ukraine
25 February 2022
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
GENEVA (25 February 2022) - We are gravely concerned about developments over the course of the day yesterday and overnight in Ukraine. We are receiving increasing reports of civilian casualties.
Civilians are terrified of further escalation, with many attempting to flee their homes and others taking shelter where possible. As the High Commissioner has warned, the military action by the Russian Federation clearly violates international law. It puts at risk countless lives and it must be immediately halted.
The High Commissioner stresses that States that fail to take all reasonable measures to settle their international disputes by peaceful means fall short of complying with their obligation to protect the right to life. We urge full respect for international humanitarian law and international human right law.
We are also disturbed by the multiple arbitrary arrests of demonstrators in Russia who were protesting against war yesterday. We understand more than 1,800 protesters were arrested. It is unclear whether some have now been released.
Arresting individuals for exercising their rights to freedom of expression or of peaceful assembly constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of liberty. We call on the authorities to ensure the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained for exercising these rights.
Our UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission remains in Ukraine and will continue to closely monitor and report on the situation.