For more than nine years, the Russian Federation has illegally occupied and attempted to annex Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. In the time since, the situation of human rights on the peninsula has drastically deteriorated, with even greater concentration since Russia launched its full-scale war against Ukraine in February 2022.

Over the last nine years, residents of Crimea, including Crimean Tatars, have been subjected to enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial punishment, forced conscription into the Russian military, and politically motivated persecution and deprivation of liberty. Occupied Crimea was consistently ranked as unfree on global freedom indices and annual United Nations General Assembly resolutions have highlighted on-going human rights abuses on the peninsula.

As of the end of 2022, human rights organisations report more than 140 citizens of Ukraine have been deprived of liberty due to politically and/or religiously motivated criminal prosecution Increasingly draconian laws limiting the freedoms of assembly, association, and expression and opinion in Russia continue to be applied in occupied Crimea.

This side event, on the margins of the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council and in the context of the Secretary General’s interim report to the HRC on human rights in Crimea, focused on these issues with representatives of the Ukrainian government and civil society organisations.