On March 31, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Chairperson of the National Commission for UNESCO Emine Dzhaparova took part in the 12th UNESCO Information Meeting on the situation in the temporarily occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
The meeting was also attended by UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations Mr Firmin Edouard Matoko, representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Amnesty International and UNESCO member states.
Emine Dzhaparova informed about the continuing deterioration of the situation on the occupied peninsula. She drew attention to the destruction of World Heritage sites, human rights abuses and oppression of national minorities, restrictions on freedom of religion, the suppression of independent media, and violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian occupation administration.
The First Deputy Minister emphasized the demographic changes brought about by the Russian occupation administration by relocating Russian citizens to the Crimean peninsula, discrimination against the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities, and systematic violations of their linguistic and cultural rights.
During the event, the Permanent Representative of Poland to UNESCO Ms Magdalena Marcinkowska issued a joint statement on behalf of 30 UNESCO member states. The statement condemns Russia's systemic repressive policies against media freedom, the persecution of journalists, restrictions on access to religious institutions, and the militarization of educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Delegations expressed concern about reports of illegal archeological excavations, harmful conservation works and the illicit transfer of cultural property.
UNESCO member states also called on Russia to allow unhindered access of international human rights mechanisms to the territory of Crimea.
The statement also emphasizes that UNESCO should continue to be guided by the provisions of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262 of 27 March 2014 on the Territorial Integrity of Ukraine.
Emine Dzhaparova expressed gratitude to the countries that supported in January this year the decision of the 210th session of the UNESCO Executive Board to continue UNESCO's monitoring of the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The First Deputy Minister invited UNESCO member states to participate in the Crimean Platform Summit and called on the Organization to make a practical contribution to the implementation of the objectives of this international coordination mechanism.