Foreign Ministry Statement on Russia violating Ukrainian citizens' right to freedom of movement from temporarily occupied Crimea
16 July 2020 16:23

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine condemns the facts of human rights violations in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (Ukraine) caused by the restrictive measures imposed by the Russian Federation to combat the spread of the new coronavirus infection COVID-19.

Citizens of Ukraine who permanently reside in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and who have been illegally and compulsorily issued Russian passports by the occupation administration are allowed to leave the temporarily occupied territory only once, which limits their right to freedom of movement. 

Residents of Crimea who refused to obtain a Russian passport are considered foreigners and can only leave without the possibility of returning to Crimea.

Such restrictions imposed by the Russian occupation authorities contradict norms of international law, in particular Article 12 paragraph 4 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which clearly states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

At the same time, the occupation authorities did not impose sanitary restrictions on transport connection with the regions of the Russian Federation itself, significantly affected by COVID-19, in particular, air traffic to and from Moscow was not shut down. Massive military and propaganda activities were held, including exercises, combat training, construction in the area of Omega Bay, and at Belbek Airport, which became the center of the spread of infection, a parade on the occasion of the 75th victory anniversary on June 24 in Simferopol.

These movement restrictions create significant obstacles for young people who choose Ukrainian higher education. Applicants, who went to the mainland Ukraine for taking exams or submitting documents for admission to higher education, as well as their accompanying parents, will not be able to leave the temporarily occupied territory upon the return to Crimea and until the end of quarantine restrictions.

It is obvious that the restrictions imposed under the pretext of combating the spread of the new coronavirus disease are artificial and aimed at further isolation of the temporarily occupied territories from Ukraine, consolidation of the occupation regime, the continuation of a blatant violation of international law.

The deteriorating human rights situation in the Russian-occupied territory of the Crimean Peninsula demands increased opposition from the international community.

Russia is obliged to comply with the norms of international law, which includes ending the practice of imposing Russian citizenship, protecting the lives and health of the population of the temporarily occupied territories, and ending further crackdown on human rights under the pretext of quarantine measures.

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