Oct 05, 2012

Crimean Tatars: Worldwide Civil Society Supports Justice Initiatives

Civil Society Organizations around the world are collaborating on a campaign for justice for the Crimean Tatars, who were victims of human rights violations, including persecution and deportation under Stalin’s rule in Russia.

Below is an article published by Xperedon Charity News:

A diverse range of organizations are bringing global awareness to the plight of the Crimean Tatars, an ethnic group that originally lived in Crimea but are now also part of a worldwide diaspora, especially in Turkey, across Eastern, Central and Western Europe, the Middle East and North America.

The story of the Crimean Tatars is a powerful one which has yet to reach the audience it deserves but that day looks set to be coming due to the efforts of community organizations and non-profits around the world.

The loss of the state of the Crimean Tatars occurred during the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Empire in 1783, and since then the Crimean Tatars experienced terrible persecution and suffering.

This reached an apex during a mass deportation by the Soviet regime of the Crimean Tatars in 1944, leading to the deaths of almost half (46 per cent) of Crimean Tatars, The Central Office of the Association of Culture and Mutual Aid for the Crimean Tatars in Turkey reported this year.

Hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars were either exported, murdered, starved to death or sent to work as slave labour in Gulags and were only allowed to return to Crimea during the Gorbachev Perestroika era in the 1980s.

Many Crimean Tatars have since returned to Crimea in the Ukraine but often live in poor conditions.

But more awareness is now spreading internationally about the need to recognize the crimes committed against Crimean Tatars and also support efforts to help their social and economic progress.

Infant mortality, for instance, is reportedly the highest for any ethnic group in the Ukraine.

Fundraising events are taking place all over the world including in Turkey, via charity events for children - for instance, from The Central Office of the Association of Culture and Mutual Aid for the Crimean Tatars in Turkey, that organizes regular fundraisers for sick Crimean children. Students from Gazi University in Ankara have been amongst those who have been active in fundraising.

A number of campaign groups are prominent including in the USA the International Committee for Crimea (ICC) that supports The Crimean Tatar Initiative (Simferopol).

The Ukraine authorities allowed deported people to return to their homeland and have invested millions of USD in Crimea Tatar programs, but with hundreds of thousands of Tatars returning to Crimea since Ukrainian independence the pressures on housing, health, etc, are complex.

Non-profit initiatives to support Crimean Tatar communities in areas of education, health and human rights, are increasing and a number of NGO organizations around the world are backing the Tatars.

These include the Minority Rights Group in the UK, The Crimean Tatar Association of Culture and Mutual Aid in Turkey, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) and others.