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Serious human rights violations and attacks on minorities and journalists in Crimea
30 October 2014 14:45

On 27 October 2014 Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks, released a report on his mission in particular to Crimea carried out from 7 to 12 September 2014.

The Commissioner’s report highlights specific cases of deaths and missing persons and emphasizes that all cases of serious violations of human rights must be investigated.  

Pressure and intimidation against the Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars. The Commissioner expresses concerns about groups rendered vulnerable by events unfolding in the region, including Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians and all those who have refused Russian citizenship. He draws particular attention to searches carried out by masked and armed members of security forces in Muslim religious institutions, businesses and private homes belonging to members of the Crimean Tatar Community.

According to the Commissioner the Crimean Self-Defence forces should be disbanded.  

Violations of freedom of religion and right to education. N.Muižnieks also expresses concerns about alleged attempts to gain control over churches owned by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate. The Commissioner pays attention of international community to the fact that Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar schools were shut down in Crimea. “Minorities should enjoy secure conditions enabling them to practice their religion in public or private, receive education in their languages and openly manifest their views without fear and intimidation. It is of paramount importance to refrain from any further measures which may worsen their situation. Failure to do so may lead to new cases of displacement from the region”.

Furthermore, the Commissioner condemns the physical attacks and intimidation against journalists in recent months and recalls the obligations to uphold media freedom by allowing the press to perform its vital role of public watchdog. It is also important to uphold safe and favorable conditions for the work of human rights defenders and condemn any instances of harassment against them.

Lastly, the Commissioner stresses the urgent need to ensure “free and unconditional access of international humanitarian and human rights organizations to Crimea from all directions and at all times, as well as unimpeded international monitoring”.

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