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Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the human rights situation in temporarily occupied Crimea
21 May 2020 15:31

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly condemns the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the territory of the Crimean Peninsula temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation.

Russia persists in disregarding its duty of an occupying power under international humanitarian law to ensure and maintain public health of the population and uses the recent aggravation of the humanitarian situation as a smokescreen for further attacks on the rights and freedoms of the Crimean population.

The spread of the pandemic did not stop the Russian authorities from announcing another conscription into the occupying army of the Russian Federation, which is a war crime.

In March, a decree by the Russian president to deprive Ukrainian citizens of a right to own land in Crimea became yet another uncouth demonstration of Moscow’s disregard for its  responsibilities under international humanitarian law.

Moreover, for more than three years, the occupying power has been showing utmost disrespect for the International Court of Justice by ignoring its order, which demands to restore the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and protect the identity of the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities under temporary occupation. Instead of following the letter and spirit of the decision of the world’s highest judicial institution, Moscow resorted to its traditional methods - fabricating controlled "pocket" national organizations to create an alternative reality.

At the same time, those who have the courage - despite the persistent lawlessness in Crimea and impunity of the ruthless law enforcement - to tell the truth about the real state of affairs in the occupied territories are treated as the main enemies by the Russian authorities.

Handing over of so-called "warnings about extremist activities", ongoing trials, politically and religiously motivated illegal imprisonment, persecution of civil society activists are intended to consolidate the total atmosphere of fear in the occupied Crimea and forcibly expel or intimidate the most active whistleblowers.

Most recently, the true price of "justice" of the occupiers’ judicial system has been experienced by Mr. Nariman Memedeminov, Mr. Denys Kashuk, Mr. Edem Bekirov, Mr. Server Mustafayev, Mr. Edem Smailov, Mr. Marlen Asanov, Mr. Seyran Saliyev, Mr. Tymur Ibragimov, Mr. Server Zekir’yayev, Mr. Memet Belyalov, Mr. Ernes Ametov, Mr. Enver Seitosmanov and many others.

Despite the demand of the UN General Assembly enshrined in resolution 73/263 "Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine" Mr. Emir-Usein Kuku still remains behind the bars of Russian prisons.

While repressions continue in Crimea, the Russian Federation abuses procedural opportunities and manipulatively promotes its emissaries to various international events. According to the Russian creators of the network of fake public organizations, their main task is to justify aggressive policy and instill tolerance to Russia's occupation of the Crimean Peninsula. However, these endeavours have no future.

Neither Kremlin’s blatant propaganda operations nor the occupying power’s quasi-legal acts can change the legal status of Crimea as an inseparable part of the territory of Ukraine within internationally recognized borders or shake the international community’s common position to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

We call on the international community to step up joint efforts to debunk the myths of the Russian propaganda, which is part and parcel of the Russian aggression and destabilizing actions against Ukraine and other democratic states. It is also unacceptable that Russia continues to block a proper and unhindered access of international monitoring missions, primarily by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol pursuant to UN General Assembly resolutions 71/205, 72/190, 73/263 and 74/168.

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