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On 24 February 2022, Russia's army invaded Ukraine, in a totally unprovoked and unjustified act of aggression that blatantly violates the United Nations Charter. In the following weeks, human rights groups and the media issued numerous reports on allegations of torture, enforced disappearances, rape, and other serious human rights violations taking place in the regions of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces. The OMCT keeps documenting such cases together with partner organisations on the ground.
Before the invasion, Ukraine’s human rights record remained mixed. Progress was slowed by political instability and corruption. In its latest review, in 2014, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) criticised the fact that the definition of torture in national law and conditions of detention in prisons were not in compliance with international standards. The authorities routinely failed to protect human rights defenders and members of the LGBTIQ+ community against violence by right-wing extremists. The UN reported a spike in allegations of torture and enforced disappearances in the aftermath of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, as well as in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.