July 22, 2015
On 3 July 2015, Mr Ridvan Bariiev, representative of the Crimean Tatars, presented a resolution to UNPO's XII General Assembly, stressing increased concern about the situation of Crimea’s indigenous population, further worsened under Russian occupation of the peninsula. The resolution urges the international community to take a firm stand against Moscow's illegal annexation of Crimea and to protect Crimean Tatars from ethnic persecution. UNPO adopted the resolution, thus affirming its strong commitment to the struggle for self-determination of the Crimean Tatars and to the full restoration of their rights, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.
The Crimean Tatars, alongside the Karaites and Krymchaks, are the indigenous people of Crimea. Their way of life, however, was interrupted in their own homeland three times over the course of two hundred years (1783-2014), namely:
- The Russian occupation of Crimean Khanate in 1783;
- The Soviet Union’s blatant and ashamed act of Deportation of all indigenous people of the Crimean peninsula in 1944 into exile in the Central Asian regions of the Soviet Union. The Crimean Tatars have returned to Crimea only at the final stages of the Soviet Union’s existence and, after 1991, to independent Ukraine;
- The Russian Federation’s occupation and annexation of the Crimean peninsula, integral part of Ukraine, in 2014.
After the blatant occupation by the Russian Federation in 2014, the Crimean Tatars’ homeland - the Crimean peninsula - has turned into a frontline of international confrontation. Put under the new conditions against their will, the indigenous people of Crimea have been severely affected by the conflict. Constituting a minority in number in the peninsula, the Crimean Tatars were denied any chance to influence the process that defined their political status in Crimea.
The human rights situation in Crimea is deteriorating and it can lead to unpredictable consequences, such as ethnic conflict or consecutive full-scale deportation of all members of the indigenous people.
Some of the human rights abuses recently committed in Crimea include:
1) Entry ban to Crimea for Crimean Tatars leaders - Mustafa Dzhemilev Refat Chubarov and other Crimean Tatar activists;
2) Seizure of the Mejlis’ headquarters;
3) Detention of several Crimean Tatars, including representatives of the Mejlis;
4) Three politically motivated murders;
5) Seven people have gone missing and to this moment they were not found (they were last seen with unknown persons in camouflage uniforms);
6) Searches and interrogations, as acts of intimidation and harassment. During the annexation were conducted more than 30 searches and interrogations;
7) A ban on all rallies, meetings and peaceful demonstrations.
8) Detention of over 5 human rights and civil society activists. For instance, on 29 January 2015, the first deputy of the Mejlis, A. Chiygoz, was imprisoned for organising a protest in front of the Parliament of Crimea on 26 February 2014;
9) Vandalism and arson of mosques (3 cases);
10) Pressure on Crimean Tatar media - more than 10 cases (intimidation, dismissal, accusations of extremism, and threat of closure of channels). In accordance with the new rules in the Crimea, since 1 April 2015, all media must obtain a license for translation. The only media that have not received the license are Crimean Tatar, such as channel «ATR». As consequence, ATR television has now been relocated to Kiev.
The final accord on the creation of a special legal regime (zone) in Crimea was adopted by decree on 30 January 2015 by the Crimean authorities and entitled "Comprehensive Plan to counter the ideology of terrorism in the Republic of Crimea for 2015 - 2018". This action plan is a major prerequisite for the upcoming human rights violations. In particular, it does not specify what is meant by "destructive ideas", when it comes to the ideology of terrorism. This opens up huge scope for FSB and other services in order to fit any disloyal idea by "destructive idea" and imprisonment and/or further prosecution.
The UNPO General Assembly,
Reaffirming that the Crimean Tatars along with the Karaites and Krymchaks are indigenous of the Crimean peninsula and have full right for self-determination within the Ukrainian state;
Noting that the Crimean Tatars did not participate in the so called “Referendum of Reunification”, considered an act of crime conducted by the Russian Federation against Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar will;
Noting that Moscow's clear desire is to build in the Crimean peninsula a militarized zone of deployment of nuclear weapons,
Reaffirming that the right of the Crimean Tatar people to self-determination under Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in their historical homeland of Crimea should be exercised as a part of sovereign and independent Ukraine;
Therefore, the UNPO General Assembly:
1) Calls upon the International Community to take a firm stand against the occupation of Crimea;
2) Calls upon the international community to monitor the overall human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula;
3) Calls upon the Ukrainian Government to advance legal regulations of the “indigenous” status of Crimean Tatar people in full compliance with norms and standards of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
4) Condemns any human rights abuses against the indigenous peoples of Crimea;
5) Deplores the regime of intimidation and threatening of people who strongly stand for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which includes the Crimean peninsula;
6) Requests the Russian Federation’s Government to immediately release all political prisoners and stop all persecution against civil and political activists,
7) Insists on the permission of entry to the Crimean Autonomous Republic for the Leaders of Crimean Tatars People – Mustafa Dzhemilev and Refat Chubarov;
8) Encourages the International Community, United Nations, European Union to recognize the Deportation of Crimean Tatars People as act of genocide by the Soviet Union in 1944;
9) Condemns the prohibition by the occupation regime of all alternative media in the peninsula, such as “ATR” (first Crimean Tatars channel) and Radio station “Meydan”.
10) Urges the European Union, United States of America and OSCE states to recognize the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars People as the institution which represents the Crimean Tatars’ will and granting it with no relinquishment of jurisdiction to any other authorities.
To download the resolution, click here