Statement on Action Against Enforced Disappearances in Russian-Occupied Territories of Ukraine

September 19, 2023

Oral statement delivered by Kateryna Dashevska, WFUWO’s Additional Representative to the UN Geneva, at the Interactive dialogue with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, during the 54th session of the Human Rights Council (19 September 2023)


Please watch the Interactive Dialogue on UN Web TV; the WFUWO’s oral statement on the video stream begins at the timestamp 1:57:00

« Due to Russia’s aggression, OHCHR found 864 cases of arbitrary detention by Russian forces between 24 February 2022 and 23 May 2023. Many cases also involve enforced disappearances. Human Rights Centre ZMINA documented 562 cases of enforced disappearance during 2022 and the first half of 2023, involving activists, volunteers, journalists, officials, and more. Most victims are men, and every fifth victim is a woman.

These grave human rights violations must stop immediately. We urge international organisations and partners to condemn the systematic practice of enforced disappearances by the armed forces of the Russian Federation against the civilian population in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

We call on the Russian Federation to ensure unimpeded access of the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organisations to Ukrainian civilians in captivity.

We ask the Special Representative to accord special attention to this urgent problem and work with the international organisations to intensify efforts for the unconditional and immediate release by the Russian Federation of all civilians who have become victims of enforced disappearances, and provide support and protection, including legal assistance, counseling, and access to information, to families of the disappeared.

Thank you. »