WASHINGTON—Ahead of Human Rights Day on December 10, Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), Senate Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (MS), and House Ranking Member Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) issued the following joint statement:
“There is no human right, no international commitment, no law of conduct in war that Russia has not broken or violated in Ukraine.
“This has been a devastating year for millions of Ukrainians who had to make the difficult choice to leave their homes and seek safety abroad, for those who remain in Ukraine under the constant threat of Russia’s attacks on civilians and essential infrastructure, and for those who have been deported to Russia, including many children. The carnage left behind by Russian troops in recently liberated areas shows us that Ukrainians still living under Russian occupation are enduring unspeakable brutality and deprivation.
“Human rights defenders in Russia have also faced tremendous persecution by the authorities, a yearslong assault worsened by Putin’s need to control the war narrative. Those who remained in Russia and told the truth about war crimes, like Vladimir Kara-Murza and Ilya Yashin, have been imprisoned. American citizens Paul Whelan and Marc Fogel are unjustly detained. In Belarus, Lukashenko continues to aid and abet Russia’s assault on Ukraine as over 1,400 political prisoners remain in Belarusian jails under miserable conditions.
“The only way to restore respect for human dignity in this region is peace through complete Ukrainian victory and serious consequences in Russia and Belarus.
“In addition to crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine, we are also mindful of violations of human rights across the OSCE region and beyond that continue under the fog of Russia’s war, including attacks and discrimination against ethnic minority groups, the jailing and silencing of journalists and independent media, the rise in Anti-Semitism, assaults on freedom of religion and belief, ongoing human trafficking operations, disenfranchisement, and politically motivated imprisonments and enforced disappearances. We will continue to support those who fight for these rights and against corrupt perpetrators of human rights abuses.”