From 14-18 September 2018 representatives of Human Rights Houses visited the occupied Crimean Peninsula. This was a first-time opportunity for an international human rights mission to document the human rights situation, collect first-hand information, and give a voice to people in Crimea. A full report documenting the findings of the mission will be made public in October.
The primary focus of the mission was on the situation of human rights defenders and the effects of restrictions to the freedoms of expression, assembly and association. Additionally, over the course of the mission, various interlocutors referred to a number of other human rights issues, including violations of fair trial rights, fabricated charges, unacceptable conditions of detention, and the use of torture.
The findings of the mission point to a pattern of systemic violations that have a centralized character, and the creation of an atmosphere of fear to dissuade all attempts of criticism or dissent.
Four years on and despite numerous requests, access for the Human Rights Monitoring Mission Ukraine to Crimea has been consistently denied by the Russian Federation. The blocking of international scrutiny of the human rights situation in Crimea reinforces the impunity with which the occupying authorities violate the human rights of the population.
As one of the participants to the mission commented, for four years now, the “wall around Crimea” has been growing higher and more and more obstacles are set to prevent the world from seeing what is happening. We call upon the Human Rights Council to ensure that this wall does not prevent scrutiny and accountability for the violations which are being committed as we speak.
This statement is supported by Human Rights House Crimea on behalf of the following organisations: Crimean Human Rights Group, Human Rights Information Centre, and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.