Jan 25, 2018

Academic UNPO Report Highlights Urgent Need for International Community to Support Indigenous Crimean Tatars

Participants of this year’s Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Workshop held at the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland compiled a report on the dire human rights situation of Crimean Tatars on the Russia-occupied Crimean Peninsula. Entitled “Forgotten Again: The Plight of the Crimean Tatars,” the 39-pages academic report offers a comprehensive overview of the history of the Crimean Tatars on the peninsula, the current, devastating situation they find themselves in, as well as of their demands and strategies employed to alleviate their plight in face of increasing harassment and persecution by Russian authorities.


The Crimean Tatars are an indigenous people on the Crimea Peninsula who were victims of ethnic discrimination, gross human rights violations and deportation by the Soviet Union up until the end of the Cold War. After the union’s fall in 1991, the peninsula became a part of Ukraine. The indigenous Crimean Tatars built up their own political representation, the Mejlis, recognized by the Ukrainian Constitution, and enforced their linguistic and cultural rights on the peninsula. However, their situation severely worsened after the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, an act which was been met with widespread international condemnation. Ever since, international institutions such as the United Nations (UN), national governments across the globe – including Ukraine – and scores of non-governmental organisations have on numerous occasions strongly condemned the Russian government’s repressive behavior. The latter has taken aggressive actions to repress the indigenous Crimean Tatars population, depriving them of their political representation and committing severe human rights violations.

Against this background, law students at the Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, who had participated in this year’s Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Workshop, compiled a comprehensive report entitled “Forgotten Again: The Plight of the Crimean Tatars” as part of their coursework. The thorough study examines human rights violations against the Crimean Tatars and other implications of the illegal annexation of the Crimea Peninsula. Produced with assistance and input from UNPO, it outlines a large number of restrictions and violations imposed by the Russian authorities, including arbitrary arrests and detention, the lack of the ability to self-govern, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to freedom of expression and the right to be free of discrimination based on religion, ethnicity or nationality.

The report is divided into five major sections to examine the case of the Crimean Tatars. First, it gives an account of the history of the Crimean Tatar people and provides context to the devastating situation that can be observed now. The second section documents the extent and scope of violations of international law and human rights committed on the Russian-occupied Crimea. The third section presents the demands and goals of the peaceful Crimean Tatar civil resistance movement, to then describe the measures and instruments which could be used to achieve those in the fourth chapter. Last, the study lays out strategies which Crimean Tatars could employ to improve their situation and put pressure on the Russian authorities. In this context, the report also emphasises the role the international community and national governments should play to help raise awareness for the cause of the Crimean Tatars as an indigenous people and guarantee full respect for their human rights under Russian occupation, while simultaneously fostering the peninsula’s reintegration into Ukraine.


You can download the full report here.

Previous workshop reports can be accessed in full here: Abkhazia, Mapuche, Haratin, Ogaden, Somaliland. 


Photo courtesy of Adam Jones @Flickr 2016