Crimea: Distressing Human Rights Situation Needs International Attention

Three Ukrainian human rights NGOs and the Human Rights House Foundation call on the UN General Assembly to address the human rights situation in Crimea, which has seriously deteriorated since Russia annexed the peninsula in March 2014.

The General Assembly is currently in session in New York, and is scheduled to table resolutions this Friday 4 November.

HRHF and its Ukrainian partners the Crimean Human Rights Group, Human Rights Information Center, and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union underline the systemic human rights abuses as a consequence of Russia’s occupation of Crimea, and call on the UN General Assembly to address the human rights situation. 

View their November 2016 briefing note on Crimea.

These abuses include a crackdown against civil society and the media, hate speech and the clearing of the territory of undesired people, and severe limitations on Ukrainian and international access to Crimea.

HRHF and its Ukrainian partners urge the UN General Assembly to clearly call for the respect of all human rights for all people in Crimea, and further to hold the de facto authorities to account for the human rights violations committed in the territory under their control. Specifically, they call upon the UN General Assembly to:

  • Adopt a resolution on the situation of human rights in Crimea since the beginning of the occupation and annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.
  • Ensure access to Crimea from all sides and establish the distressing human rights situation in such a resolution, especially in regard to the systemic nature of rule of law and human rights violations, the crackdown against civil society and media, the population transfer, and hate speech.
  • Clearly denounce and demand accountability for the acts of intimidation, harassment, retaliation and other human rights violations against human rights defenders in Crimea.
  • Recall General Assembly resolution 68/262 [in which the UN affirmed Ukraine’s territorial integrity].

Florian Irminger, Head of Advocacy at HRHF, commented: “After its resolution on the territorial integrity of Ukraine in 2014, the General Assembly must now address a clear message to those violating human rights in Crimea: they will be held accountable. The international community must underline that people living in Crimea and people from Crimea have rights and that their rights are to be respected. If the local de facto government fails to do so, at least the international community must give credit to these people.” 

At the Human Rights Council in September 2016, HRHF highlighted the increasing “Russianisation” of Crimea and consequential human rights violations, and called on the international community to further scrutinise the human rights situation. It called on all parties in the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine to fulfil their obligations under international human rights law.

Ukrainian civil society organisations chronicle the occupation and violations of human rights in Crimea in the 2016 report The Peninsula of Fear.

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