The report by the unofficial Turkish delegation about the situation in which the Crimean Tatars ended up after illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea by Russia clearly showed that Russia had turned the occupied peninsula into a territory of its own arbitrariness, permissiveness and intolerance.
Despite the hard pressure on members of the delegation, they prepared an non-biased and impartial report. It covers all the main problems in the area of human rights stemming from the occupation of integral part of Ukraine’s territory by the Russian Federation. It also reinforces the factual background that has been set out in numerous reports on the situation in Crimea by international observation missions in the field of human rights protection.
Confidential meetings of the members of the delegation with representatives of the Crimean Tatar people confirmed the fact that has been acknowledged by the international community: the Russian occupation authorities have been implementing in Crimea the policy of large-scale and systematic human rights violations, in particular on ethnic grounds. The document also clearly captures that the interviewed people are afraid for their safety and lives because of the threat on the part of so-called Crimean authorities.
A description of circumstances in which the delegation had to work is equally important. In particular, it noted constant surveillance, pressure, restrictions in communication and travel, as well as the creation by the occupying authorities on the peninsula of other obstacles to non-biased monitoring.
A key place in the report belongs to a statement that an environment has been created in which all residents of Crimea and Sevastopol without exception are actually forced to obtain the Russian citizenship and abandon the Ukrainian one. It is emphasized that those, who refused to obtain the citizenship of Russia, face a threat of inhuman treatment, deprivation of basic social rights, confiscation of property and deportation. Meanwhile those residents of Crimea, who are not willing to give up the citizenship of Ukraine, are subject to ongoing discrimination by the occupation authorities.
The delegation also chronicled a series of other systematic violations of fundamental human rights and freedoms, including restrictions on freedom of speech and oppression of journalists; creating artificial obstacles in access to education and use of the native language; restricting freedom of assembly and association, lack of fair trial; existence of real threats to their life.
From the very beginning, Ukraine has supported this initiative of the Turkish side and provided appropriate assistance in its implementation.
We believe that there should be a resolute rebuff to the Moscow’s targeted stance of forced introduction of the Russian citizenship in the occupied territory and destruction of national identity of Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and representatives of other nationalities. The situation that has emerged requires an immediate and clear response of the international community. Together with representatives of other countries we strongly demand that the Russian Federation grant immediate access and constant presence on the peninsula to missions of international organizations to monitor the situation and eliminate threats to the security and lives of local residents.