According to human rights activists, sexual violence is used in Donbas conflict zone as a part of tortures. It makes servicemen and civilians panic. Activists try to record all the cases of sexual violence in order to prevent it. “Radio Liberty” article tells about this.
Captivity in Donbas. Sexual violence. Part 1
There is also an institutional problem in the fact that people do not tell anyone about the agony they have been through. The state gives neither legal, no social or rehabilitation support. There is not any financial compensation either.
Those victims of sexual violence who survive do not want to address the police as they do not believe that there will be any justice. Besides, giving evidence is incredibly traumatic for them.
“Our people are sure that no one will be punished, none of victims will be treated, sent to a psychologist or get any help”, says Krasylnykova, human rights activist.
Still, the situation for militaries and civilians is different. When the former are freed from captivity, they get their salary for the whole period, they can be examined in a military hospital. The latter, on the contrary, have neither money, nor accommodation, nor any help from the state. Human rights activists claim that there are several hundred ex-civilian captives in Ukraine currently.
The situation on occupied territories is even more difficult as people have no access to any humanitarian organizations that could help in case of torture and violence.
“On both sides”
According to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who has a representative in Ukraine, sexual violence in ATO zone is used by both, “LPR” and “DPR”, and Ukrainian side.
“Two recorded cases happened in the vicinity of Avdiivka in May 2015. A detained man was tortured, made to confess in front of a camera that he was a participant of a militants’ grouping. Several times he was threatened that his hands would be tied by a rope and then a homosexual man would rape him. Two women from one family, 18 and 41 years old, were threatened by sexual violence several times”, says the report of the Organization for the period of February-May 2016.
The report mentions a case of violence which involved servicemen of “Azov” and “Donbas” volunteer battalions. Sometimes, “Aidar” battalion and 92nd Brigade militaries are mentioned in these reports as well.
There is not a lot of data coming from the occupied territories on the Donbas. One of the latest cases which was documented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights happened in Donetsk pre-detention centre #5. A man who was serving a term in that institution was beaten up and raped by guards.
Some Ukrainian servicemen who have been in militants’ captivity also report facts of sexual violence against women who were kept by illegal armed formations.
However, human rights activists report that the information about the cases of sexual violence in the conflict zone is scarce and it is practically impossible to verify it. There was no forensic expertise in one of the cases, as there is no rule of law on the territories of the ongoing conflict and the resources which law enforcement bodies have for such cases are limited.
“Terrorism tactics” - this is how the United Nations Organization characterized sexual violence in conflict zones.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, emphasized in his annual report in the United Nations Security Council that attacks on girls and women which happen against the background of the general outbreak of violence are a part of the strategy of terrorist groups. The latter use sexual violence to increase their “power”, finance their military groupings and to recruit new members.
The report mentions nineteen countries where armed conflicts take place. Ukraine is not among them. However, Volodymyr Yelchenko, who represents Ukraine in the United Nations, says that the number of cases of sexual violence in the Donbas conflict zone has increased.
“Ukraine is ready to enlarge the cooperation with international organizations, first of all, with the United Nations”, says Yelchenko.
The number of people who have become victims of sexual violence during the conflict in the Donbas is not known. Volunteer groups, who have formed a coalition “Justice for Peace in the Donbas” have just started creating a database. The coalition cooperates with international humanitarian missions. All the information which will be gathered will be submitted to the International Court.
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