Ukraine: a devastating human rights crisis

Right now, people in Ukraine are facing a human rights crisis. People are dying, including children, and many more are at risk.

As Russia continues its war against Ukraine, Amnesty International is exposing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and gathering evidence from our researchers on the ground and our Crisis Evidence Lab. From the devastation of Izium to the siege of Mariupol, from shelling in Kyiv to displaced people in Lviv, we’re helping to keep the world informed about what is happening in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, his government and the Russian armed forces are desperate to hide the truth about the war, including the possible war crimes they are committing in Ukraine. This page will feature Amnesty International’s regular updates on the conflict, which help to uncover the human rights crises caused by Russia’s invasion. Click on the links below to access our briefings and investigations into the human rights issues surrounding the conflict.

The invasion has triggered a huge human rights, humanitarian, & displacement crisis that has the makings of the worst such catastrophe in recent European history. Russia is breaching the sovereignty of Ukraine & challenging the global security architecture.

Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine

A massive humanitarian crisis

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is an act of aggression that has unleashed the gravest human rights and refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two. Amnesty International is documenting serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including the unlawful killing and injury of civilians, destruction of infrastructure, and blocking of desperately needed aid for civilians. Attacks on hospitals and schools, employing “surrender or starve” sieges on civilians, the use of banned weapons such as cluster munitions, and strikes on populated areas using inaccurate weapons may constitute war crimes.

Exposed to constant attacks and with many cut off from water, electricity and heating, people caught up in conflict in cities such as Izium and Mariupol are on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. Diminishing food, water and medical supplies have left them at breaking point, as remaining civilians seek shelter in their basements. Amnesty International’s on-the-ground reports and digital investigations help ensure that evidence of these attacks reaches the world.

The invasion has triggered a huge human rights, humanitarian, & displacement crisis that has the makings of the worst such catastrophe in recent European history.

Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International
Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab has been working hard to identify and verify the details of possible unlawful attacks which have killed or injured civilians, and destroyed or damaged civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.

View the evidence in 360 degrees. Find out more about the attacks on apartment building in Borodyanka and see the evidence for yourself.

A refugee crisis in Europe

The worst since World War Two

Ukrainian civilians whose homes have been destroyed and others fearing for their lives are being forced to flee the country en masse. To date, thousands of people have been living under unlawful bombardment, while millions have been displaced over the course of the conflict in Ukraine. An estimated 3.8 million people have already fled into neighbouring countries.

The Russian forces’ assault on civilian populations and the destruction of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure violates international humanitarian and human rights law. The parties to the war must make every effort to spare civilians, prioritize their safe passage out of conflict areas, and allow access to impartial humanitarian relief. Amnesty International is calling on the parties to agree on establishing well-planned, safe humanitarian corridors and to respect such agreements in good faith.

Genuine humanitarian corridors must be established quickly, effectively, and safely

Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

Russia’s crackdown on protests and media

Imprisonment, censorship, disinformation

The Russian authorities have unleashed an unprecedented, nationwide crackdown on independent journalism, anti-war protests and dissenting voices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin remains hellbent on hiding the human cost of its war and has blocked independent news sites and social media. Meanwhile, anyone caught spreading what it regards as “fake news” about the conflict faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

Coupled with a campaign of disinformation, the media blackout seeks to entirely deprive the Russian people of access to objective, trustworthy information about the conflict. As repression mounts, at least 150 critical journalists have fled the country so far. Yet despite the risks, Russia’s anti-war movement continues to fill the streets with rallies — even though more than 15,000 protesters have been arbitrarily detained since the start of the invasion.

As thousands of protesters take to the streets across Russia to denounce the war, the Kremlin remains hellbent on stifling state critics as it coerces domestic media into supporting its policies

Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director

STOP THE AGGRESSION AND PROTECT CIVILIANS IN UKRAINE

Right now, people in Ukraine are facing a catastrophic human rights crisis. People are dying, including children, and many thousands of lives are at risk. Take action to demand that the Russian authorities stop this act of aggression and protect civilians now.