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The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine hosted the Day of Crimea

On February 23, the Verkhovna Rada hosted the Day of Crimea. The purpose of the event was to demonstrate the real situation in the occupied peninsula and to inform Ukrainian politicians about the actual human rights situation in Crimea.

In the existing situation, the main factor, restraining the repressions, is the permanent support of the Crimean issue on the agenda of international relations. The reaction of world leaders, tightening sanctions, organization of the permanent human rights mission in the occupied territory will promote human rights, combating impunity, and de-occupation of the peninsula. The mechanisms of public and cultural diplomacy are crucial in order to connect with the culture of Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian peoples, to see their relevance, to feel cultural, mental link with the people who are prosecuted, to know victims of persecution and to see the real picture of the human rights situation in Crimea, to understand the roots of repressions of the Crimean Tatar people and the continuity of their struggle for their homeland.

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During the morning session of the Parliament, Borys Zakharov , Head of the Advocacy Center of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Heorhii Lohvynskyi, Vice President of PACE and MP, and Refat Chubarov, Leader of the Mejlis, delivered their speeches. They urged MPs not to forget their citizens in the occupied territories and to support them today, at the anniversary of the events of February 26, 2014, before the annexation of the peninsula.

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The Fair of Crimean Tatar kitchen and household items operated in the lobby of the Parliament.

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Also, the stand of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union operated, where everybody could read the analytical products of UHHRU. A significant part of the statements and reports was concerned of the case on February 26 and other processes in occupied Crimea.

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Heorhii Lohvynskyi introduced Sergey Ostaf, an OSCE expert from Moldova, at a press briefing. He is one of the co-authors of international expert reports on the reconstruction of the events of February 26, 2014, near the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea.

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Shevket Zmorka, an accordionist, and Orkhan Agabeyli, a percussionist, performed an impromptu concert in the lobby of the Rada.

Boris Zakharov, Heorgii Lohvynsky and Refat Chubarov
Boris Zakharov, Heorgii Lohvynsky and Refat Chubarov

UHHRU experts, leaders of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the Crimean prosecutor general’s office, Nikolai Polozov, lawyer of Akhtem Chyyhoz, and international experts on peaceful assembly participated in a roundtable dedicated to the presentation of the report on the reconstruction of the events of 26 February.

Daria Svyrydova (UHHRU) and Refat Chubarov
Daria Svyrydova (UHHRU) and Refat Chubarov
General prosecutor of AR Crimea Gunduz Mamedov and lawyer Nikolai Polozov
General prosecutor of AR Crimea Gunduz Mamedov and lawyer Nikolai Polozov
Mustafa Dzhemilev
Mustafa Dzhemilev

After discussing difficult official topics, organizers presented the evening part of the event.

International team of humah rights experts
International team of humah rights experts

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The speech of Chairman of the Parliament Andrii Parubii. A former prime minister Arsenii Yatseniuk also attended this event.

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On the third floor of the Verkhovna Rada, the exhibition by Tatar decorative art painter and sculptor Rustem Skibin was also demonstrated. The exhibition allowed visitors to see not just art designs, but also learn about the cultural traditions of the Crimean Tatar people.

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The ethnic jazz project Marinita, consisting of vocalist and pianist Maryna Zakharova, percussionist Orhan Agabeyli and accordionist Shevket Zmorka, performed the first in the music program. Their repertoire includes Crimean Tatar, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Ukrainian and Sephardic songs.

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Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine also was among guests.

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The Kyiv sextet Pushkin Klezmer Band performed an inflammatory program that consisted of Jewish klezmer, Crimean Tatar wedding songs and Ukrainian melodies.

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The singer Alie Hadzhabadinova performed several songs together with the band.

This side event is part of the Human Rights First Project, implemented by UHHRU and funded by Global Affairs Canada.

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