Sunday

27th May 2018

Opinion

Three years of illegal occupation of Crimea

  • It is high time to elaborate and launch international negotiation mechanism for de-occupation of Crimea to restore Ukrainian sovereignty over the peninsula. (Photo: blu-news.org)

It's now been three years since Russia's illegal occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

Human rights in Crimea has deteriorated at an alarming rate in just a few years.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Russia disregards not only the very fabric of international law but also the basic rights of thousands of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea.

Such actions are part of the Kremlin’s broader pattern, which has also manifested itself in Eastern Ukraine, where Russian forces continue to target civilians as well as strategic infrastructure and have failed to implement the Minsk Agreements.

Despite the repeated calls by Ukraine and the international community demanding the immediate release of the illegally detained Ukrainians, the Russian leadership continues its shameful practice of using Ukrainians as hostages of its aggressive policy against our country.

Repression is rife

Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians continue to face constant discrimination and in many cases murders, tortures, harassment and arrests under fabricated charges.

For the first time since Stalin’s rule, Russia has started targeting dissidents with punitive psychiatry.

Russia has persecuted journalists, human rights defenders and activists as it seeks to eliminate public opposition to the illegal occupation of Crimea.

Local independent media have nearly all been coopted, pushed out, or forced to flee.

Russian forces regularly carry out illegal raids on mosques and Islamic schools under the pretext of confiscating banned Islamic literature.

Perhaps most worryingly of all, the Russian Supreme Court has moved to ban Mejlis, elected, self-governing body of Crimean Tatars, under false accusations of extremist activity.

With this act of repression against pro-Ukrainian communities, the Russian Supreme Court has endorsed a systemic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

This decision threatens around 3,000 members of the almost 250 central and local Mejlis structures, adding to the almost 40,000 Ukrainian citizens – around half of whom are of Crimean Tatar descent – who have already been forced to leave their homes in occupied Crimea and settle in other areas of Ukraine.

The situation shows no signs of improving, on the contrary, the unprecedented militarisation of the occupied Crimea has changed the security landscape in the region and constitutes a direct threat to the whole Europe.

Russian military forces have been nearly doubled and potential carriers of nuclear weapons, including warships, missile systems, and combat aircraft have already been deployed in the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia is clearly signalling that it does not intend to back down.

But this is more than a mere show of strength; its actions are indicative of far more sinister undertones.

Russia tries to persuade all of us that essential principles of international law and our common values - democracy, rule of law, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms – are no longer universal.

If we give in it would be a threat to human liberty as a whole.

it is time to act

After three years of the occupation and military aggression against Ukraine, it is high time for the international community to find a proper political response to Russia’s behaviour.

The UN GA Resolution “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)” (2016) supported by the majority of UN Member States should be upheld and serve as guiding principles.

The EU should be ready to step up diplomatic and political pressure on Russia, including by strengthening its sanctions policy, to show that it won’t stand by and allow further severe human rights abuses on its doorstep.

We should spare no effort to make Russia urgently release all Ukrainian citizens who were illegally detained for political reasons at the territory of Russia or occupied Crimea as well as ensure unhindered access to Crimean peninsula for international human rights organisations and conventional mechanisms to put an immediate end to violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the occupied territories.

It is high time to elaborate and launch international negotiation mechanism for de-occupation of Crimea to restore Ukrainian sovereignty over the peninsula.

Russia should abolish all its illegal decisions, which lead to the occupation of the Crimea.

It is only Russia’s return to the tenets of international law that will ensure peace and stability on the European continent and will lift the threat of chaos and domination of force in the international relations.

Mykola Tochytskyi is chief of Ukraine's mission to the EU

West told Ukraine to abandon Crimea, document says

US moved warships out of Russia's way. Germany urged Ukraine not to fight - newly-published minutes of a Kiev crisis meeting in 2014 show how the West let Putin seize Crimea out of "fear."

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny

Most refugee-related services are outsourced to the private sector and NGOs, which are not adequately monitored and evaluated. When governments and EU institutions provide funding for refugee projects, they should scrutinise the NGOs and private players they work with.

Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny

Most refugee-related services are outsourced to the private sector and NGOs, which are not adequately monitored and evaluated. When governments and EU institutions provide funding for refugee projects, they should scrutinise the NGOs and private players they work with.

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  11. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  12. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations