Aug 30, 2011

Crimean Tatars: MRG Condemns Lack Of Representation And Rights

Submitted to the UN Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in Ukraine, a new Minority Rights Group International report, highlights an ongoing lack of constitutional, economic and political rights.

Below is an article published by QHA News

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is concerned about the fact that Crimean Tatars have few representatives in the governmental system of the autonomy, reads the MRG’s report submitted to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in Ukraine, the press service of the Majlis of the Crimean Tatar people has informed.


Taking into account all the foregoing, the MRG believes that the Ukrainian government conjointly with the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea should ensure adequate representation of Crimean Tatars, by making special arrangements, as specified in Article 4, Part II of the Framework Convention of the Council of Europe on the Protection of National Minorities, which was ratified by Ukraine in 1998. It should take special measures to promote political engagement of the Crimean Tatars in the Government and Parliament of Crimea, the territory in which the Crimean Tatar community is a significant part of the population.

Among other issues at the economic, social and cultural spheres, which require both the adoption of new legal regulations and the equitable application of existing rules, we should mention the following: allocation of land to immigrants for housing and economic activities, including agricultural production, providing affordable housing for the most socially vulnerable immigrants, creating a system of fair compensation (restitution) to replace the unnecessarily confiscated property and real property, including land, the revival of an integrated public school system, pre-school education and the Crimean Tatar language, ensuring a level playing field for all religions on the basis of relations between the state and believers, the restoration of historical place names, changed after the deportation. 

Thus, under Article 47 of the Constitution of Ukraine “Everyone has the right to housing” and “Citizens in need of social protection, state and local governments provide housing.” However, only 20% of Crimean Tatars were allocated plots in the regions of depression. The system of compensation for property lost as a result of deportation must ensure equal access to housing. Moreover, Article 33 of the Constitution reads:

“Anyone who is legally residing in Ukraine is guaranteed freedom of movement, freedom of residence and the right to freely leave the territory of Ukraine, with the exception of restrictions established by law.”

Ukrainian legislation restricts the allocation of agricultural land, providing the right to receive land only to former employees of collective farms (kolkhoz). De facto, it leaves no portion of the Crimean Tatars, who at that time were in the places of deportation. In addition, recent actions of the Crimean Tatars, who required provision of land, were rigidly suppressed by the Crimean police. Therefore, the parties must find an adequate solution to the land question in Crimea by the allocation of land or compensation for lost land, and to cease harassment of the protesters.

The MRG comes to the conclusion that the legislation should clearly define political and legal status of the Crimean Tatar people and all the rights that should be ensured by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), which had not been signed by Ukraine.


MRG’s report also clearly defined the rights of Crimean Tatars to property and the right to housing.