June 26 – the date of the opening session of the Second Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People - marks the Day of the Crimean Tatar National Flag.
It was on this date in 1991 that the Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People – the highest national political institution of the indigenous people of Crimea – resumed its sessions after a forced interruption of 73 years. Thus, on June 26, 2021, we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the revival of the Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People.
The Crimean Tatar National flag was adopted in 1917 by the First Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People. There were times when the flag was banned and subject to repressions. In the Crimean Tatar deportation settlements in Central Asia and Siberia, any image or representation of the Crimean Tatar National Flag was considered a crime against the Soviet regime.
Today, just as 77 years ago, the Russian occupation authorities attempt to ruin the Crimean Tatar identity by destroying the memory of Crimean Tatar national symbols and grossly violating the cultural, language, and religious rights of the indigenous people of Crimea.
The Russian occupation administration pursues a systemic policy of oppression of all religious communities, destroys Crimean Tatar religious monuments, conducts illegal archaeological excavations, and removes cultural artifacts from Crimea to bring them to the territory of the Russian Federation in an attempt to use them as a political instrument to demonstrate "ties" between the peninsula on one hand, and the Tsarist, Soviet and modern Russia.
Ukraine condemns the aggressor state’s policies that aim to erase the Crimean Tatar identity, limit the use of national symbols, such as the national flag, violate the right to education in their mother tongue, destroy national cultural and religious monuments, promulgate hate speech and impose discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds.
Today, we once again call upon the Russian Federation to uphold its obligations as an occupying power, stop repressions against Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, comply with the April 19, 2017 Order of the International Court of Justice to lift the ban on the Crimean Tatar Mejlis.
We call upon the international community to apply additional measures of politico-diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation to protect humanitarian law and human rights on the temporarily occupied peninsula.