UN warns of alleged ‘filtration camps’ in Russia

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Peace Rosemary DiCarlo noted the death toll at a Security Council meeting to address allegations of forced displacement of Ukrainian citizens and the use of “infiltration” measures by Russian forces. It said it was “deeply concerned” by reports of war and “concentration camps”.

“Continued allegations of forced displacement and ‘filtration camps’ run by the Russian Federation and allied local forces are deeply troubling. Such allegations should be investigated in cooperation with the appropriate authorities,” the Under-Secretary-General appealed.

In addition to DiCarlo, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilse Gehrys, head of the UN Human Rights Office in New York, briefed on the situation. sought refuge outside the country”, “in any possible direction”.

“Human rights violations in territories occupied by Russia or controlled by allied armed groups have forced people to flee. “These conditions have led to a situation where people fleeing danger are forced to leave in any possible direction, regardless of their choices,” Gehris said.

Ilse Gehryz’s office has documented a “significant number” of civilians displaced to Russia, including a dozen cases where Russian armed forces ordered civilians in Mariupol to leave their homes or shelters, taking them to Ukrainian or Russian-controlled territories. to the Russian Federation.

“Once resettled on Russian territory, in cases documented by the UN, citizens gained freedom of movement. Many Ukrainians chose to move to other countries or return to Ukraine. However, those who chose to return did not receive financial resources or other support,” explained the human rights chief, to remote regions of Russia. Those who were escorted insisted that the costs of return were “particularly prohibitive”.

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According to the UN Human Rights Office, there are credible allegations of forced relocation of unaccompanied children to either Russia or Moscow-occupied Ukrainian territory.

“Russian authorities have adopted a simplified procedure for granting Russian citizenship to children without parental care, and we are concerned that these children are eligible for adoption by Russian families,” Ilse Gehris told the Security Council.

According to Article 50 of the 4th Geneva Convention, Russia is prohibited from changing the personal status of these children, including nationality.

Ilze Kehris said that the plans announced by the Russian authorities do not appear to include measures for family reunification or measures to guarantee respect for the principle of the best interests of the child.

Regarding the filtering sectors, according to “credible reports” received by the UN, there are numerous human rights violations, including the rights to freedom, personal security and privacy.

“In cases documented by our office, during ‘filtering,’ the Russian armed forces subjected people to body searches, sometimes including forced nudity and detailed inquiries into the individual’s personal background, family ties, political views and allegiances. They searched personal belongings and They collected personal identification data, photographs and fingerprints,” Gehris said.

“We are particularly concerned that women and girls are at risk of sexual abuse during screening procedures,” the UN official added.

Before the start of a Security Council meeting convened by Albania and the United States, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US representative to the UN, argued that the “filtration” carried out by Russia “summarizes the continuing horrors”. What is happening in Europe in real time echoes the dark times of the past.

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“We have evidence that hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens – including children – were interrogated, detained and forcibly deported, some of them sent to very remote areas. (…) Some simply disappear”, the ambassador said.

“So we’re here today to clarify what’s going on at these filtering centers, to get Russia to stop these activities, to allow independent observers to access these sites, and to verify the welfare of these individuals,” Thomas-Greenfield added.

In turn, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called it “invention” and “propaganda” by Ukraine and its Western allies against Moscow.

Accusing the US delegation of “cynicism”, Nepenzia recalled former President Donald Trump’s administration detaining Mexican migrants seeking asylum in the US in “inhumane” conditions and “separated families”.

In a more comparative field, the Russian ambassador referred to the Guantanamo prison, where US officials have “illegally detained without trial or investigation”, many prisoners.

Nebenzia argued that no Ukrainian was prevented from leaving Russia, adding that her country was the most welcoming of Ukrainian refugees.

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