Crimean Tatars: Secretary of US Embassy To Ukraine Engages With Minority
During his visit to Mejlis the second secretary of the US embassy to Ukraine discussed the coming elections in light of several issues concerning the Crimean Tatar people. Amongst these were their representation in Ukrainian parliament, restoration of rights, education and Crimean Tatar development.
Below is an article published by Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People:
On May 20, 2012 the First Vice Chairman of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov met in Simferopol with the Second Secretary of US Embassy to Ukraine Steven Page. The guest was accompanied by the political analyst of the US Embassy to Ukraine Anna Bogdanova.
Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people was also represented at the meeting by the Head of the Secretariat of Mejlis Zair Smedlyaev and Head of the Department of foreign relations Ali Hamzin.
At the beginning of the meeting the Second Secretary of the US Embassy to Ukraine Steven Page congratulated the Muslims of Crimea with the beginning of the Sacred month Ramadan and wished them strength and peace, as well as Good’s blessing to all Muslims of Crimea and Ukraine.
During the meeting the parties discussed the issues, relating to the coming 4th session of Qurultay of the 5th convocation, the national education and election to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, holding of the International forum on the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatar people on their Homeland, ensuring their safety and guarantees of development in Ukraine, as well as the situation in the field of the national education and religion.
On Mr. Page's request the First Vice Chairman of Mejlis Refat Chubarov informed him in details about Qurultay's agenda and also specified what changes will be made to the system of election of the delegates of Qurultay of the 6th convocation.
The Second Secretary of the US Embassy to Ukraine Steven Page told that he is also going to take part in the work of the 4th session of Qurultay of the 5th convocation.
In light of the coming election to the legislative body of Ukraine the First Vice Chairman of Mejlis stated that the issue of the election of the MPs of Ukraine is very important for the Crimean Tatar people in terms of ensuring their representation in the Ukrainian Parliament.
“In fact, the number of our representatives in the Parliament has no much significance for us, but the very fact of this representation is very important. Mejlis’ negotiations with our partners about the political cooperation this year is much more difficult and tense than before. It is related to the changes, made to the elective system. It became mixed and there is much competition in the lists,”- R.Chubarov specified.
During the meeting the parties also discussed the issue of holding of the International forum on the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatar people on their Homeland, ensuring their safety and guarantees of development in Ukraine.
Mr Steven Page stated that the US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ukraine John Tefft supports the idea of holding of the International Forum, considering that the forum is very necessary and reasonable.
On the request of the US diplomat the representatives of Mejlis commented on the issues of the national education, stating that the main problem in this field is lack of Crimean Tatar schools and text-books in native language.
“The national schools are not built. The number of Crimean Tatar children that study in the native language is very small – 1 of 10 pupils attends Crimean Tatar school,”- the First Vice Chairman of Mejlis R. Chubarov said. According to him, in order to guarantee the education of children in their native language we need at least 40-50 schools.
In conclusion of the meeting Mr Page thanked the representatives of Mejlis for the information provided about the social and political situation in Crimea, underscoring that “it is very difficult to see the whole and objective picture of Crimean Tatar issue from Kyiv”.