Crimean Tatars’ leader, civil society representative and an MEP speak about the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea for Tatars, say Russian authorities are purposefully worsening it.
Since the Crimea’s annexation Russian authorities have been trying to negotiate or “buy” the loyalty of the Crimean Tatar leaders. After the occupation authorities failed in this, they got to intimidation and repressions. By now they have created all the conditions for the Crimean Tatars to want to leave the peninsula at their own will.
It was stated by Mustafa Dzhemilev, leader of the Crimean Tatar people, Ukrainian MP and President’s envoy on the affairs of the Crimean Tatar people at a press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “The policy aims at forcing the Crimean Tatars out. Conditions are being created to make the Crimean Tatars leave Crimea at their own will. Same thing happened after the first occupation of 1783. Until the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 occurred, [Crimean Tatar] population had decreased from 95 to 25 per cent. Crimean Tatars became a minority in their homeland. Then total deportation of all Crimean Tatars followed in 1944. They [Soviet authorities] were burning books, blowing up mosques and making pavements out of the tomb stones. […] These days Crimea is back to the Soviet times, somewhere in 1937-1938: with denunciations, arrests for voicing an opinion. The difference is that now they are also following your ‘Likes’ on social media,” Dzhemilev said. According to rough estimations, 50 thousand persons were forced to leave the peninsula, 20 thousand of them are Crimean Tatars though they constitute just 13 per cent of the peninsula’s overall population. People from the Russian Federation resettle to take up their place. “We are primarily concerned with the changes in Crimea’s demographics. Half of a million people was brought from the Russian Federation while the Crimeans are being forced out simultaneously,” Mustafa Dzhemilev emphasized. On the peninsula the Ukrainian language has been taken down to zero, there’s just one Ukrainian-language school that is left. Crimean Tatar schools have not been closed down but they are teaching in Russian. People get fired because they speak to their clients “in an incomprehensible language”.
“The first thing that the occupation authorities started doing is marginalizing Crimean Tatars from the rest of Crimea’s population. There have been attempts to ban the Muslim call to prayer. It is from such cases that genocide of a people starts,” emphasized Tamila Tasheva, co-founder and coordinator of the CrimeaSOS NGO.
The EU has to mobilize itself and help the critical situation with human rights in Crimea. Similarly the sanctions imposed due to the annexation of the peninsula have to stay until the Russian Federation leaves the territory of Crimea.
“Jamala’s song ‘1944’ made it possible for Europeans to realize one of the pages of Europe’s history. It also comes as a chance to better understand Kremlin’s cruelty that Crimean Tatars are facing today. The situation with human rights on the peninsula today is the worst one among all the regions of Europe and all the frozen conflicts. As long as Crimea is occupied we will not lift the sanctions related to the peninsula from the Russian Federation. The same concerns the war in Donbas. We also have to improve the situation for internally displaced persons,” reassured Rebecca Harms, German politician, MEP.