28. In light of the deteriorating situation, it was assessed that the UN can play an important role in deescalating tensions, including through human rights monitoring. Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Ivan Љimonović, planned to undertake a mission to Ukraine in March, which was requested by the Secretary-General to be moved forward due to the rapid deterioration of the situation. Several high-level UN visits took place from mid-February to mid-March, including respectively, Senior Adviser Robert Serry; Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson; and Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. The latter two visits took place at the same time as that of ASG Љimonović.
29. The UN offers a neutral platform and professional expertise which can add significant value to the efforts to ensure that human rights are respected and protected in Ukraine. Independent monitoring and analysis of the human rights situation will outline technical, legal or other assistance needs, which will complement recommendations received by Ukraine from UN human rights mechanisms, and may contribute to addressing the root causes of the violence. These endeavours can and should be undertaken in cooperation with regional organizations, including the OSCE and the Council of Europe.
30. ASG Љimonović mission to Ukraine had the following overall objectives: to assess the human rights situation; to raise the issue of accountability and bring visibility to human rights violations and concerns; to make strong calls for the protection of human rights (including those of minorities); and to place human rights promotion and protection as a critical factor in deterring pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral violence and possible further violations.
31. ASG Љimonović arrived in Kyiv on 6 March and left on 18 March. The delegation led by the ASG visited Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Lviv. It sought access to Crimea, but was not able to go, as the authorities informed the delegation that they would neither receive the mission nor ensure its security. On 14 March, a second request for access to Crimea was sent to the authorities. They then confirmed their readiness to meet with ASG Љimonović, with a view to discussing measures for human rights protection, which could lead to the de-escalation of tension. In all locations, the ASG and his delegation met with stakeholders from across the cultural, ethnic, linguistic and political spectrum - high-level officials, the Ombudsperson, civil society organizations representing various communities, representatives of regional organizations and the diplomatic community. Information from these meetings as well as documents gathered form the basis for this report. The delegation met and heard accounts from victims of human rights violations committed during the demonstrations in Kyiv and elsewhere. The delegation also met with the UN Country Team (UNCT). On Friday 14 March, ASG Љimonović held a press conference in Kyiv and another through VTC in New York. The same day, he also briefed representatives of the Kyiv diplomatic community on the preliminary findings of his mission. On 19 March 2014, ASG Љimonović briefed the Security Council on his mission.
32. ASG Љimonović undertook a second mission to visit Crimea from 21 to 22 March.
33. In the meantime, OHCHR deployed a Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) as of 14 March, upon the invitation of the Government of Ukraine. The objectives of the HRMMU are to: monitor the human rights situation in the country and provide regular, accurate and public reports by the High Commissioner on the human rights situation and emerging concerns and risks; recommend concrete follow-up actions to relevant authorities, the UN and the international community on action to address the human rights concerns, prevent human rights violations and mitigate emerging risks; establish facts and circumstances and conduct a mapping of alleged human rights violations committed in the course of the demonstrations and ensuing violence between November 2013 and February 2014 and to establish facts and circumstances related to potential violations of human rights committed during the course of the deployment.
34. Mr. Armen Harutyunyan was appointed to lead the mission. Nine international staff members are deployed in Ukraine as of early April 2014. The entire team, once fully operational will comprise 34 staff, including national professional staff and 12 drivers. HRMMU is currently deployed in Lviv, Kharkhiv, Odesa and Donetsk and it seeks also the presence of a sub-office in Simferopol. In the meantime, HRMMU continues to monitor the situation in Crimea, in a manner consistent with the General Assembly resolution 68/262 of 27 March 2014, on the Territorial Integrity of Ukraine.