Critical assessment: new human rights report

Two years after the annexation of Crimea: suppression of the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar identity (Press Release)

The Crimean Tatars suffer from systematic discrimination and harassment. Crimea is supposed to be only Russian. Everything that disturbs this perception is being tracked, that’s the impression after the second year of annexation © servetdemir2014 via iStock

Two years after pro-Russian forces took over power in Crimea, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has published a new report about the human rights situation on the peninsula. On 39 pages, it documents the severe impact on the civil and human rights situation and on the rights of the indigenous Crimean Tatars. “The ruling powers in Crimea and the Russian government in Moscow are trying to put their stamp on Crimea and suppress the Ukrainian and the Crimean Tatar identity – and they are willing to commit serious human rights crimes in order to do so,” stated Sara Reinke, the STP’s expert on the CIS-states. “Within two years, the authorities have destroyed the peninsula’s media landscape, banned assemblies, and are now trying to gain control over what the Crimean people believe, say, and think – by all means. There is nothing like freedom of expression any more. Oppositionists are persecuted and harassed."

On February 27, 2014, Russian soldiers and pro-Russian volunteers had taken over key positions in Crimea, preparing the Russian annexation of the peninsula. Most of the Crimean Tatars were against the annexation, and they continue to speak up. “The pro-Russian authorities are rigorously punishing any open resistance of parts of the Crimean Tatar people: arrests, torture, repeated house searches, people being summonsed for questioning by the intelligence agencies, and other efforts to divide the indigenous people of Crimea and to create an unbearable atmosphere of fear,” Reinke describes the situation in Crimea under Russian administration.

On Monday, the STP’s Russia-expert in Berlin criticized that the initiatives to protect the rights of the Crimean were not efficient and consistent enough – although the international organizations are informed about the poor human rights situation and have largely condemned these activities. “Europe must not simply accept Crimea being turned into a legal vacuum in which serious crimes can go unpunished. The OSCE must finally find a way to show presence on the peninsula. Regarding the serious human rights violations such as the arrests of Crimean Tatars, the leaders in Crimea and in Moscow must be addressed with clear demands. International politics and the media must remain alert and should not allow the human rights situation in Crimea to disappear from the agenda.”

A 39-page-long human rights report on the annexation of Crimea (in German) can be downloaded at bit.ly/gfbv-report-zwei-jahre-annexion-krim

Header Photo: © servetdemir2014 via iStock