Ukraine war surge ‘deeply troubling’: New UN rights chief

GENEVA: New United Nation The head of rights has warned of the escalating conflict in Ukraine as he began posting on Monday, stressing that civilians must be protected.
“Any escalation in the war worries us deeply and it is happening in Ukraine,” said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker. Turkish told reporters in Geneva on his first day on the job.
Earlier on Monday, Russia launched a new attack on Kyiv uses what Ukraine’s presidential office says are “kamikaze drones”.
“We’ve received reports from our colleagues on the ground about these drone attacks,” said Turk, who succeeded former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, who leads the rights office of the Chilean government. United Nations said.
“The most important thing is that civilians, civilians are not targeted,” he said, warning that “this is very difficult in densely populated urban areas.”
Monday’s attacks come exactly a week after Moscow unleashed a massive two-day wave of missiles into the Ukrainian capital and across the country.
The deadly attacks from October 10-11 marked the largest wave of attacks in months in the conflict that began with the all-out invasion of Russia on February 24 and sparked a wave of protests. vehemently around the world.
Turk, 57, an Austrian national and a United Nations veteran, stressed that respecting international law was “extremely important”.
“The big call is to de-escalate and find ways and means to respect international law,” he said.
“Ultimately, it’s about people who don’t take part in war, and they need to be protected.”
Turk, who was most recently assistant United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for policy, said he was taking on the new job at “a very important time”.
Pointing to the devastating war in Ukraine, as well as the violence and conflict raging in many other parts of the world, he said it was important to “have a very strong focus on human rights.”
“We have seen a lot of division around the world, but also incredible obstacles on gender issues, on civic space, on utter contempt for people,” he said. human life in war.
Turk is sure to cut his work on a wide range of issues, including the Ukraine conflict, the war in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, and the situation in Afghanistan since Talibanwas taken over last year.
The situation in China’s Xinjiang region is also heavy on the agenda.
Minutes before leaving office at the end of August, Bachelet released a long-awaited report outlining crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities there. , but leaves the complicated follow-up work to a successor.
During a brief meeting with journalists on Monday, Turk did not discuss specific cases, but stressed that “we need to return to a deep understanding of why it is important to respect International law.”
“For me, human rights are the common language of humanity. It unites us. It is not meant to divide us.”
Turk vowed that as the UN’s head of rights he would be “guided by the impact we can have on people’s lives and how they interact with each other, how they interact with nature and with future generations.


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