Russia uses charges of terrorism and extremism in Crimea as the main method of persecuting the opponents of the occupying authorities. Application of Russian legislation on extremism, terrorism and separatism in Crimea against Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians adversely impacts the human rights at the peninsula. These are the conclusions made at the presentation of the report of three Human Rights Houses mission to Crimea “Crimea: Breaking the Wall of Silence”.
“The aim of the mission was to document first hand human rights situation, and provide access for lawyers to the occupied territories”, – mentioned Tetyana Pechonchyk, Head of the Human Rights Information Center NGO.
Mission stayed in Crimea for 4 days. During this period about 20 meetings were conducted with the victims of human rights violation, their relatives, journalists, lawyers, advocates and public activists. The representatives of the mission met both with those who lived in Crimea before the occupation, and those who moved there from Russia after 2014. “In Crimea, people willing to get involved in human rights protection are deprived of such opportunity. They are under huge pressure of the occupying authorities”, – mentioned Oleg Matskevych, the representative of Barys Zvozskovskau Belarussian Human Rights House.
The mission report contains recommendations to the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the international community regarding ensuring human rights enforcement in Crimea. “There are two recommendations, addressed to all mentioned parties. The first one – paying special attention to persecution of the lawyers at the occupied territory, second – providing access for the international organizations to the territory of Crimea. We shall demand that both Ukraine and the international community act in such a way that it was more and more difficult for Russia to prevent international missions”, – stressed Darya Svyrydova, the lawyer of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.
Commenting on the content of the report Refat Chubarov, the Chairman of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people, stressed that recommendations contained in the report were irrelevant giving the conditions of peninsula’s occupation. “Recommendations to the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the international community provided in the report move us away from the understanding of the fact that the only reason and source of human rights violation in Crimea is Russia. Any foreigner, who reads these recommendations, can think that Russia will fulfill all points and everybody whose rights are violated will live comfortably at the peninsular [with Russian authorities]”, – he mentioned. Also the Chairman of Mejlis mentioned that the notion of Ukraine’s sovereignty over Crimea was blurred in the report, as the mission reviewed the cases of human rights violation of Russian citizens, which moved to Crimea after the beginning of the occupation. “I do not understand why in such research the attention is paid to the human rights of the people, which came to us for colonizing. They came here with their own perception of Crimea as the part of Russia and they encountered problems because they supported Navalnyi, for example, and in the report they try to demonstrate, that this is the essence of human rights violation in Crimea. This is absurd”, – added Refat Chubarov.
In her turn, Tetyana Pechonchyk remarked that human rights are universal and the authors of the report tried to demonstrate that in occupied Crimea they violate the human rights even of those who supported Puntin’s and Russia’s actions in Crimea. This fact only proves the legal nihilism and impunity of the authorities in the peninsular.
The participants of the briefing added that the report would be used for informing the international community about human rights situation in Crimea and for promotion of the recommendations with the authorities of the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the international community. In January 2019, the report will be presented at the PACE winter session in Strasbourg.
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