The Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch /HRW) released a report titled “We had no choice. Filtering and war crimes, forced resettlement of Ukrainian citizens in Russia”. The report by the international non-governmental organization refers to the lawlessness and violations of international humanitarian law taking place in the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine and in the so-called “filtering” camps (a form of mandatory security screening, during which the details of the citizens).
HRW interviewed 117 people, most of whom were forced to undergo the so-called process “filtering” organized by Russian special services and separatists in the east Ukraine.
Interviews with the witnesses were conducted some by telephone and others in person, with the assistance of HRW staff between 22 March and 28 June. Some of the refugees, after arriving at Russia, they then went to Norway, Germany and other western countries. 78 of those interviewed managed to escape during the fighting in Mariupol, bypassing several Russian checkpoints, into the territory of the Zaporizhia region not held by Russian forces. Abut many were not allowed to leave.
Kyiv authorities believe that 1.2 million Ukrainian citizens were transferred to Russia – some forcibly, others “voluntarily” – but only because they had no other choice, according to the HRW report. Many refugees they must even today go through a “filtering” process, which is a violation of its Convention Geneva on human rights.
“The transfer of people without their consent to the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine and further into Russia must be stopped immediately,” says Belkis Will, HRW staff member and one of the authors of the report. Russian state institutions and international organizations should do everything possible to help those who have been taken to Russia against their will and want to return home to do so safely, he adds.
HRW reached out to the Russian side for comment ahead of the report’s publication, but received no reply.
Those who did not pass the process “filtering,” apparently because they had ties to the Ukrainian military or nationalist groups, were sent to prisons in Russian-controlled territory, including the camp in Yelenovka, where on July 29, at least 50 Ukrainian prisoners were killed in an explosion there, according to the report HRW. Others were transferred to a prison that has existed in Donetsk’s industrial zone since the fighting began in 2014. According to HRW, there are 15 such camps and prisons for Ukrainian prisoners in the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine.
The HRW report is just one of many documents confirming Russia’s creation of camps and a “filtering” system. At the end of August, the American Yale University published its own report on the subject. In addition to the authors of the HRW report, Yale analysts publish data on Russian prisons and camps for Ukrainian prisoners in the occupied Donetsk region, citing open img data, satellite images, social media reports, news reports and videos. Based on these data, US analysts conclude that there are at least 21 such camps.
In late August, Russia’s TASS news agency reported that more than three and a half million people, including nearly 600,000 children, had “moved away» from Ukraine to Russia during the six months of war.
Source: News Beast