The Donbas elections should be held when the human rights issues are resolved and not just when the technical and political aspects are organized, as stated by the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, said during an interview with Novoye Vremya.
“If you want to hold free and fair elections, you must ensure that there is freedom of expression and media, as well as freedom of assembly and association. This is not happening now,” Šimonović said.
He also stressed the need to provide internally displaced people and refugees with opportunities to not only enroll on the electoral register and have the right to vote, but also have the right to be elected. According to Šimonović, preparations for this should be started now.
The current armed conflict between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and fighters of the self-proclaimed republics of the Donbas began since April 2014. According to UN data, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has resulted in the deaths of 9,449 people, of which approximately 2,000 were civilians. In addition to this, 21,843 people have been injured.