До четвертої річниці російської окупації Криму - порушення прав людини на півострові та його мілітаризація (англійською мовою)
Human rights violations in Crimea
We are deeply concerned about growing repressions, serious human rights violations and discrimination of the Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
- We witness murders, tortures, harassment, illegal detentions, enforced disappearances, intimidation, raids and searches, attacks on property and arrests under fabricated charges, and the persecution of journalists, human rights defenders and activists.
- Especially cynical became the decision to ban the Mejlis under the false accusation of its extremist activity. Such decision potentially threatens about 3000 members of about 250 central and local Mejlis structures traditionally elected by the Crimean Tatar communities. They could be accused of conducting extremist activity and prosecuted or pushed out of Crimea.
- The atmosphere of fear, intimidation, physical and psychological pressure forced about 35-40 thousand Ukrainian citizens (including over 20 thousand Crimean Tatars) to leave occupied Crimea and settle in other areas of Ukraine.
- The Russian authorities use such methods to eliminate any public opposition to the occupation of Crimea and to the current government.
Grave human rights violations have been reported by NGOs and respective bodies of key international organizations including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Its report of 25 September 2017 "Situation of human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)" concluded that the human rights situation in Crimea has significantly deteriorated since the beginning of its occupation by the Russian Federation with multiple and grave violations committed by Russian state agents.
- The report emphasizes that and the imposition of a new citizenship and legal framework and the resulting administration of justice have significantly limited the enjoyment of human rights for the residents of Crimea. These and other actions have taken place in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law.
- According to the report, grave human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture, and at least one extra-judicial execution were documented.
- These grave human rights violations affecting the right to life, liberty and security have not been effectively investigated. The judiciary has failed to uphold the rule of law and exercise proper administration of justice.
- The Russian Federation authorities in Crimea prevent any criticism or dissent and outlawing organized opposition, such as the Mejlis. The space for civil society to operate, criticize or advocate has considerably shrunk. Media outlets have been shut down, disproportionately affecting the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian communities, their right to information and to maintain their culture and identity.
As of today, Russia continues blatantly violate its obligations and there is no single sign that the Russian Federation as an occupying power will comply the requirements of the Resolution 71/205.
Furthermore, Russia continues to ignore all requests of the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure the proper and unimpeded access of international human rights monitoring mechanisms to Crimea.
In view of the further deterioration of the human rights situation in Crimea, the lack of access to the occupied territory for representatives of monitoring mechanisms, Ukraine has presented to the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly an updated resolution. On November 14, 2017, it has been adopted by the GA Third Committee and then adopted by the General Assembly on December 19, 2017.
We strongly believe that further steps are needed to consolidate the international community and to ensure the constant political pressure on the Russian side. This is the only way to achieve the positive effect for human rights situation in Crimea. As of to-day, of special importance in this regard are the following decisions:
- United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on resolutions of December, 19, 2016 and December 19, 2017, "Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine);
- Order of International Court of Justice of 19.04.2017 which obliged Russia to refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis, and to ensure the availability of education in the Ukrainian language.
At the same time we understand that the ultimate way of resolving the problem of human rights violations is de-occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
Militarization of Crimea
Comparing to the pre-occupation period, Russia has more than doubled personal strength of its military in Crimea (32200 persons as of October 2017) from its before-occupation level of 12.500 persons. In the near future (2020-2025) it is expected further increase up to 43.000 persons.
Russia also has substantially reinforced and modernized its Crimean military land, air and naval components. Since January 2014, as of October 2017, it has increased:
- a number of tanks from 0 to 40 (for 2020-2025 - 100 planned);
- armed combat vehicles from 92 to 583 (1150 planned);
- artillery systems of the caliber more than 100 mm from 24 to 162 (400 planned);
- combat aircraft from 22 to 101 (150 planned);
- combat helicopters from 37 to 62 (95 planned);
- anti aircraft systems from 0 to 120;
- combat ships 15 (33 planned);
- submarines from 2 to 4.
Particularly dangerous are the Russian actions to prepare Crimean military infrastructure for deployment of nuclear weapons, including refurbishment of the infrastructure of Soviet-era nuclear warheads storage facilities. Potential carriers of nuclear weapons, such as warships, short-range missile systems and combat aircraft, have been already deployed there.
Crimea is being used by Russia for doing its outreach military activity, in particular. in Syria.
Militarization of Crimea complicates the security situation in the region and international efforts of de-occupation of the peninsular.