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Press Release Regarding Russia's Occupation of Ukraine's Crimea
20 Şubat 2017 13:23

PRESS  RELEASE

Ankara, 20 February 2017

Almost three years have passed since Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol. Russian occupation of the Crimea violates main principles of the international law, the UN Charter and the 1975 OSCE Final Act, in particular the principle of the inviolability of borders, and represent threat to security and stability in Europe. It also violates norms of international humanitarian law as well as Russia's international obligations stemming from the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Statute of the Council of Europe, Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances and Russia-Ukraine bilateral obligations.

In March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution "Territorial Integrity of Ukraine" that reaffirms unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine and urges all countries "to refrain from any actions aimed at disrupting Ukraine's national unity and territorial integrity, including by modifying its borders through the threat or use of force". Thus the international community condemns Russia's ongoing aggression against Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity and rejects Russian policy of the fait accompli in foreign affairs.

Significant deterioration of human rights and freedoms in Crimea must be a subject for particular attention of the international community for providing unfettered access to the occupied Crimean Peninsula of main conventional and monitoring mechanisms of the Council of Europe and of other international organizations.

Ukraine and the international community are deeply concerned over the fate of Crimean Tatars as indigenous people of Crimea and general worsening of human rights situation on the Crimean Peninsula as well as certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied by the Russian Federation. Ukraine and the international community stress the responsibility of Russia under the Fourth Geneva Convention to protect all civilians in the occupied territories.

Conclusions and recommendations of the international organizations and human rights missions testify to the atmosphere of fear, uncertainty and insecurity existing in Crimea due to the intensified repressions of the occupation authorities, including isolation and discrediting of prominent figures of the Crimean Tatar community and the Crimean Tatar Mejlis leadership.

Enforced imposition of Russian citizenship and laws on Crimean residents causes problems and obstacles in every aspect of their lives, including property and business, healthcare, education, social services and employment.

Further strengthening of military logistics units of the Russian Armed Forces located in Crimea must be stopped. Full demilitarization of the peninsula including the withdrawal of all Russian troops, weapons and military equipment must be enforced.

Since Russia's occupation of Ukraine's Crimea, the peninsula has been transformed into the land of interethnic hatred, intolerance, lawlessness and power abuse. Numerous cases when ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars were kidnapped, abducted or killed must be promptly investigated in the most transparent way and those responsible for committing crimes must be held accountable. Russian occupation authorities must stop ongoing practices of torture, killings, disappearances, abductions and kidnapping of dissidents who bravely oppose intimidation and discrimination by Putin's Russia and its proxies.

Reports of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and human rights organizations contribute significantly to the information regarding developments on the ground and serve as valuable sources of credible information regarding consistent and compelling accounts of human rights violations and legal irregularities in the territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia.

International community should galvanize cooperation to stop mounting systemic violations of human rights and prevent further deterioration of the situation in Crimea. Any information of incidents of reported abductions, beatings, murders, ill-treatments, tortures and other serious abuses of human rights and breaches of humanitarian law must be thoroughly and impartially investigated. International monitoring missions, including those of human rights NGOs, must be granted full and unhindered access to the occupied Crimea. All persecutions of human rights defenders must be stopped.

Crimea is part of Ukraine and no Russia's lies and actions can change that.

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