UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska gave a video tour of human rights violations in the country following Russia’s invasion almost a year ago, telling a United Nations (UN) meeting on Wednesday: “We have the right to live free: not to be killed or tortured.”
She showed destruction in the eastern frontline city of Bakhmut, which Russia is trying to capture, where shelling is killing civilians and water is scarce; the mass graves of Ukrainians left behind after Russian occupiers left the city of Izium; the Kramatorsk train station, which was hit by a missile killing 50 people and wounding dozens more trying to flee the war; and many other examples.
At a meeting on ‘Gross Human Rights Violations Due To The Aggression Against Ukraine’ organised by the Kyiv government, Zelenska also pointed to ill-treated emaciated Ukrainian prisoners of war, and the thousands of children Russia has taken from Ukraine and the reported adoption of some of them by Russian families. “We are fighting for human rights,” she said, speaking virtually. “We are fighting for what unites us, the right to freedom, life, not to get tortured and to live freely.”
The wife of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that Ukraine’s victory in the war will mean the victory of human rights over “lawlessness, torture and destruction”.
She called on the UN to establish a special tribunal to prosecute crimes of Russian aggression, stressing that “it is not only us who need that, we need that for everyone”.
“Justice for Ukraine is justice for the entire world,” Zelenska said.
The European Union’s legislature passed a non-binding resolution in January calling on the 27-nation bloc to work “in close cooperation with Ukraine to seek and build political support in the UN General Assembly and other international forums… for creating the special tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine”.