Ukrainian activists confirm more than 500 cases of human rights’ violations since annexation of Crimea


Kyiv, December 29, 2014. More than 500 cases of human rights’ violations were confirmed in the last 10 months since the occupation of Crimea. These were crimes committed against civic, religious, socio-economic and ethnic minorities’ rights. Maksym Mayorov, Olena Syrinska and Oles Yaremchyshyn, co-founders of the “Rights and freedoms cannot be annexed” civic initiative, told this during the press-briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Ukrainian activists created an interactive map to record cases of human rights’ violations in Crimea; anyone can report on cases of abuse. “We have to understand that the very fact of occupation is a violation of human rights of those who live on the annexed territories,” Mayorov explained.

The majority of crimes were against civic and political rights. Activists recorded 342 cases of personal freedom and freedom of assembly rights violations. The fate of Islam Dzhepparov and Dzhivget Islyamov kidnapped on September 27, 2014, remains unknown. The most infamous case became the criminal persecution of film director Oleh Sentsov, activist Oleksandr Kolchenko and historian Oleksiy Chine. The three citizens of Ukraine remain incarcerated in Russia despite the lack of evidence and international support. The self-declared Crimean government have put pressure on the organizers of a political rally in support of Mustafa Dzhemilev, leader of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, which occurred on May 3, 2014.

31.7% of human rights violations were linked with infringement of property rights: threats of land confiscation and nationalization, extortionist policies against business and forceful buyout of enterprises such as “KrymGaz”, “KrymAvtoTrans”, Yalta Film Studio, etc. Crimea’s occupational government continues to violate labor rights by not paying salaries and demanding the return of the funds that the Crimeans loaned from Ukrainian banks.

There were 19.8% (179) cases of breaking the rights of indigenous peoples and national minorities in Crimea. Crimean Tatars were most frequently subject to illegal searches, arrests and detention. The eviction of Mejlis, obstruction of the Crimean Tatars who were going to participate in the Indigenous People’s Conference in New York on September 22, 2014, and arrest and persecution of the “Crimea” Foundation assets are just a few examples of actions directed against the native people of the Crimean peninsula.

There are cases of discriminating religious organizations despite the principles of freedom of conscience and religion declared in the Constitution of Ukraine and even in the “constitution” of self-declared Crimean authorities. Four cases of mosque arson were confirmed, as well as incidents of illegal searches of the Muslims. Crimea’s occupational government restricts opportunities to study Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages, discriminates foreign students and bans branches of Ukrainian universities on the peninsula. “We are coordinating our activities with the public council with the Representative of the President of Ukraine in Crimea, Ms. Natalia Popovych. We hope that our information will help record facts of human rights violations against the Crimeans during the period of occupation,” Mayorov concluded.