UN chief: Russian invasion caused 'the most massive violations of human rights'

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U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said on Feb. 27 that the Russian invasion of Ukraine had triggered "the most massive violations of human rights we are living (through) today." 

He made the statement at an event to commemorate the 75-year anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The UDHR was ratified by U.N. member states in 1948 to establish a universal definition of human rights that transcends political ideology, ethnicity, religion, or any other potentially dividing factors. Guterres called on governments to uphold the declaration.

Guterres added that Russia's war has "unleashed widespread death, destruction, and displacement" and that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has already documented numerous cases of Russian soldiers using sexual violence against Ukrainian men, women, and children.

The OHCHR published the latest casualty figures from the war on Feb. 13. There are 18,955 civilian casualties across the country, including 7,199 killed and 11,756 injured. However, the casualty numbers may be much higher, since it is not possible to gather data from the temporarily occupied territories or areas under heavy fighting.

Russian-organized torture chambers that held both Ukrainian civilians and soldiers have been found in numerous villages, towns, and cities liberated by the Ukrainian army.