GENEVA (AP) — Corruption, a lack of independence of the judiciary and a lack of free elections were among the root causes of popular protests that took place in Ukraine from November to February, the United Nations said Tuesday in a report on the country's human rights situation.
The report said 121 people — the majority of them protesters — died during the protests and there were also numerous accounts of torture and ill-treatment. The U.N. demanded that all violations related to the protests should be investigated in order to ensure the accountability of the perpetrators.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also reported that in Crimea it found credible allegations of harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture targeting activists and journalists who did not support the March 16 referendum on joining Russia.
"In light of numerous attacks against journalists during the Maidan demonstrations and ahead of the referendum in Crimea, measure should be taken to ensure that their right to security of the person, as well as freedom of expression are protected and promoted," the report concluded.
Generally, it said, "corruption remains one of the most serious problems in Ukraine and has affected all human rights, whether civil, political, economic or social, exacerbated inequalities, eroded public trust in state institutions including the justice system, led to impunity and undermined the rule of law,"
The report is based on the findings of Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic and the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.