Human rights situation in occupied Crimea significantly deteriorates

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 25, 2017

Moscow said it was an extremist organisation and banned it a year ago.

"Grave human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture, and at least one extra-judicial execution were documented", the report reads.

This is stated in the report released on the site of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine after the country's pro-Russian leader was overthrown in 2014.

Many Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russian Federation to punish it for the annexation.

Mr Hussein accused Russian Federation of failing to investigate alleged human rights violations.

"Imposing citizenship on the inhabitants of an occupied territory can be equated to compelling them to swear allegiance to a power they may consider as hostile, which is forbidden under the Fourth Geneva Convention", U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein said in a statement.

Hundreds of prisoners have been illegally transferred from Crimea to Russian prisons, according to the report, which added that at least three detainees had died after not receiving adequate medical care in custody.

The report further condemned Moscow's decision to substitute Ukrainian laws with Russian ones, and also to force people to take Russian citizenship.

Civil servants have had to renounce Ukrainian citizenship or be sacked, while Crimea residents who do not legally qualify as Russians have been deprived of basic civil rights in their homeland, the rights office said.

"Tens of thousands (of people) became foreigners and as a result face significant hardship", Frazer said.

"Education in Ukrainian has all but disappeared from Crimean schools", the report adds.

But Fiona Frazer, head of the United Nations office in Ukraine that produced the report, said it was important to document what was happening in Crimea so that victims could record the human rights violations they were facing and try to ensure justice and accountability.

"Those most affected were opponents of the March 2014 referendum, and other critics such as journalists, bloggers, civil society activists, and supporters of the Mejlis, a representative institution of Crimean Tatars which was declared to be an extremist organization and banned in April 2016".

"Failure to prosecute these acts and ensure accountability has denied victims proper remedy and strengthened impunity, potentially encouraging the continued perpetration of human rights violations", the report continues.

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