Friday

14th Dec 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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."

Lost in Brexit chaos - abortion rights in Northern Ireland

Labour MP Diana Johnson has brought a private members bill to Westminster that proposes to decriminalise abortion in the whole of the UK, which means that, if successfully passed, current provisions for Northern Ireland will also be repealed.

News in Brief

  1. Selmayr has no comment on MEPs' call to resign
  2. May had 'robust' discussion with Juncker
  3. UK to continue talks on EU 'assurances'
  4. EU invests €20m in AI software for self-driving cars
  5. Belgian PM 'not optimistic', urges 'no deal' Brexit preparedness
  6. Romanian president expects no Brexit summit in January
  7. Swedish MPs reject Lofven to lead new government
  8. EU commission's Selmayr 'must resign', MEPs say

Brexit, migration, cities - and the UN pact

It's not surprising that a handful of nationalist European governments – Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Italy – have followed Trump's lead in rejecting the UN's migration pact, to be formally adopted in Marrakech next week.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Fishing quota and no-deal Brexit preparation This WEEK
  2. Kosovo has right to its own army, Germany and US say
  3. EU needs election-meddling stress tests
  4. Russian and US obstruction was 'insult' to climate scientists
  5. EU-27 unimpressed by May, offer little on Brexit
  6. Rutte: New EU sanctions are informal 'Magnitsky law'
  7. EU summit hits asylum fatigue as deadlock continues
  8. Battered May seeks Brexit 'assurances' from EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  2. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  3. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  5. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  6. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  8. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us