In 1944 Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimean Peninsula as a result of state-organized and forcible action, ordered by then Soviet leader J.Stalin. The deportation was a form of collective punishment for alleged Crimean Tatars’ collaboration with the Nazis during 1942-1943 and is known as Sürgünlik in Crimean Tatar (meaning “exile”). A total of 238,500 Crimean Tatars were deported.
In 1967 a Soviet decree withdrew the charges against Crimean Tatars and the USSR government did nothing to facilitate peoples’ resettlement in their native lands of Crimea. Reparations neither for lost lives nor for confiscated property did not take place.
In January 1974 bans to return to places of former Greek, Armenians, Bulgarians and Crimean Tatars’ residences in Crimea were lifted by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
Since proclamation of Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the Government of Ukraine made efforts to provide Crimean Tatars with necessary resources for their resettlement and integration into the Ukrainian society. Almost 270, 000 Crimean Tatars (up to 13% of the population) settled in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
In February-March, 2014 Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea lead to significant deterioration of human rights and freedoms. Crimean Tatars now are facing similar repressions and political prosecutions as in the years of 1944 deportation. Mr.M.Jemilev and Mr.R.Chubarov, leaders of Crimean Tatars are banned to entry Crimea, until 19 April 2019 and July 2019 respectively.
Irrespective of Russia’s actions “on the ground” in Crimea, Ukraine remains committed to protecting rights of Crimean Tatars and establishing necessary and secure environment for their free development.
Russian occupation authorities in Crimea are determined to continue their discriminatory policies, forced application of Russian laws and regulations along with suppressive measures, power and physical force abuses. UN, OSCE ODIHR, Council of Europe and other international organizations draw attention to numerous cases when Ukrainian locals, especially Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists, were kidnapped, tortured, imprisoned by Russian occupation authorities.
The responsibility for all violations of human rights in Crimea rests on the Russian Federation as an occupying authority under international law.
Ukraine calls on the international community to condemn Russia’s illegal actions towards Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and human rights defenders. We call on world democracies to urge the Russian Federation let international organizations and human rights missions in Crimea do their job.