Europarat: Crimean Tatars’ struggle for human rights

Vorwort der Redaktion:
Am 18. April 2023 veröffentlichte die Kommissarin für Menschenrechte des Europarats, Dunja Mijatović, einen 42-seitigen Bericht zur Menschenrechtslage der Krimtataren auf der von Russland annektierten Krim. Im Folgenden drucken wir die Zusammenfassung am Ende des Berichts ab, der eklatante Menschenrechtsverletzungen feststellt.


The illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 has, once again in the history of Crimean Tatar people, set in motion a tragic cascade of events and measures characterised by the common motif of grave and repeated violations of the human rights of the long-suffering indigenous people of the peninsula. Numerous patterns of serious violations of human rights, persecution, discrimination, and stigmatisation targeting a significant part of the Crimean Tatar people in Crimea, especially those opposing the illegal annexation or expressing dissent, emerge clearly through consistent testimonies shared with the Commissioner over the years by many Crimean Tatars, human rights organisations, and many other reputable sources. The overwhelming scale and gravity of the human rights violations that have affected individual Crimean Tatars in the past years have additionally been reinforced by an ‘entrenched culture of impunity’ for serious human rights violations on the part of the Russian occupying authorities in the peninsula.

Many of the acts and measures described above likely reflect a deliberate strategy on the part of the Russian occupying authorities. It is important to mention that the above-mentioned measures overall contribute to an environment which stigmatises Crimean Tatars and sows ethnic division, both against and within the community. In particular, the prevalent conflation of arrests of Crimean Tatar activists with ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’ activity by pro-Russian propaganda paves the way for the stigmatisation of a significant part of the Crimean Tatar people, antagonising the general population of Crimea against them and creating an anti-Muslim climate.

The Commissioner reiterates her call for the persecution of Crimean Tatars to stop. In particular, she condemns the Russian-imposed ban on the Mejlis. The Mejlis is a key traditional and social representative body of the Crimean Tatar people and it should be able to function without any hindrance. She further calls for an immediate end to all arbitrary arrests, harassment, and searches of homes of Crimean Tatar human rights defenders, activists, leaders, and journalists, as well as ordinary members of the group. Recalling that international humanitarian law forbids an occupying power from applying its penal laws on occupied territory, the Commissioner calls for an end to all criminal prosecutions based on misuse of Russian anti-extremism and counterterrorism laws, or other similarly spurious charges, imposed on many Crimean Tatar activists in Crimea. All Crimean Tatars who have been convicted or detained in connection with such abusive criminal prosecutions should be released immediately and exonerated. Crimean Tatar victims of human rights violations should receive adequate redress and support.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner also calls for the humane treatment of all those held in detention in Crimea and of Crimean detainees held in detention centres in Russia. She recalls that they are entitled, under international law, to food and hygiene which will be sufficient to keep them in good health and to receive the medical attention required by their state of health. International human rights monitoring mechanisms and humanitarian organisations should be afforded safe and unhindered access to all detainees, including Crimean Tatars. Transfers of detainees from Crimea to detention centres in Russia—a practice which is at variance with international humanitarian law—should cease immediately and all persons transferred in this way should be allowed to return to Crimea.

All Crimean Tatars should be able to fully make use of their freedom of assembly without fear of reprisals or criminal prosecution. Crimean Tatars, including journalists and media workers, should also enjoy secure conditions enabling them to exercise their freedom of expression without fear and intimidation. All Crimean Tatars should be able to practice their religion in public or private and to receive education in the Crimean Tatar language.

The Commissioner further considers that Crimean Tatar lawyers and lawyers representing Crimean Tatars should be allowed to exercise their activities free from any intimidation, harassment, or hindrance. They should be given unfettered access to their Crimean Tatar clients, including to detainees who have been transferred to Russia or to Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.

The forced conscription and mobilisation of Crimean Tatars in Crimea into Russian armed forces should end. The Commissioner recalls that the enlistment of protected persons, such as Crimean Tatars and other civilian residents of Crimea, in the occupying power’s armed forces, violates international humanitarian law. Prohibited by Article 51 of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power is also a grave breach of Article 148 of that Convention.

The most recent waves of departures of Crimean Tatars from Crimea, forced by mobilisation and intensifying persecution, are disturbingly and fleeing their homeland. The Commissioner considers that Crimean Tatars who try to evade illegal enlistment in the Russian armed services should be afforded adequate humanitarian and legal care and assistance in all countries where they may seek refuge. Council of Europe member states should review the legal provisions and practice regulating entry so that Crimean Tatars fleeing forced enlistment may be able to reach safety even in the absence of valid identity or travel documents, or in cases where they may be compelled by circumstances to use Russian-issued documents.

Relatives of many Crimean Tatars who went missing in the peninsula have been waiting, for many years now, to discover the truth about the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. The fate and whereabouts of all Crimean Tatars and other persons who have disappeared since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 should be clarified in prompt, effective and adequate investigations, in compliance with the principles established in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. All those responsible for cases of enforced disappearances of Crimean Tatars must be brought to justice, and relatives of the missing persons and their associations should be provided with the necessary support.

The Commissioner welcomes the steps taken by the Ukrainian authorities in recent years, aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s legislative framework and the adoption of other measures taken to protect the rights of Crimean Tatars. To name but a few examples, in March 2014, Ukraine’s parliament (Verkhovna Rada) adopted a statement on guarantees of rights of the Crimean Tatar people within the Ukrainian state. In November 2015, it recognised the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars as ‘genocide’ and established 18th May as the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People. In May 2014, the ‘Crimean House’—‘Krymskyi Dim’—was established to help Crimean Tatars and other displaced persons in Kyiv to maintain their identity, language and culture. In July 2021, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a Law on Indigenous Peoples, providing a legal framework for the protection of the rights of the three peoples indigenous to the Crimean Peninsula, including Crimean Tatars. In August 2021, Ukraine established the ‘Crimean Platform’ (‘Qırım Plaforması’), a diplomatic initiative and forum dedicated, among other things, to the protection of the human rights of Crimean Tatars. It also adopted a ‘Strategy for the Development of the Crimean Tatar Language for 2022-2032’ and announced the creation of a ‘National Corpus of the Crimean Tatar Language’—an online repository of educational, scientific, and other materials in the Crimean Tatar language. The Commissioner welcomes the active involvement of Crimean Tatar representative bodies, including the Mejlis, in the development of the above measures. She notes that legislative work on a bill which would regulate in detail the legal status and rights of the Crimean Tatar people is currently being carried out by the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. She encourages the Ukrainian authorities to pursue these efforts. She further encourages the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that Crimean Tatar TV and radio outlets are provided with adequate and sustainable financial support to continue broadcasting for the benefit of the Crimean Tatar people.

Quelle: Der gesamte Bericht ist frei zugänglich unter

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