Analyses on human rights violations in Crimea over that past six months show that they are purely politically charged and mainly concern the Crimean tartar population and their institutions and organizations.
Kyiv, August 19, 2016. Over the first six months of 2016, there were 112 interrogations, 91 search, 21 arrests, 102 detentions, 3 homicides, and 5 disappearances without trace in Crimea. All the latter concerned Crimean Tatars. This was stated by Eskender Bariev, representative of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Head of Crimean Tatar Resource Center Board, when presenting the results of 6-month monitoring of the situation in Crimea by activists from Crimean Tatar Resource Center. The report covers the period from January to July 2016. Monitoring was done through collecting and analyzing the information, promulgated by Crimean activists, human rights organizations and news agencies. “We verified its reliability and systematized it to show the development of processes,” said Eskender Bariev.
“The Russian Federation internationally argues that there are no political processes and that they are fighting terrorism and extremism in Crimea. This presentation clearly shows that it is the occupation authorities’ response to the activity of Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea and Crimean Tatar national movement. This indicates once again that these repressions are purely political in nature,” stressed Eskender Bariev. He noted that the repressions reach their height on holidays and important historical dates, which are traditionally marked by Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians – February 26 (Resistance Day), Taras Shevchenko’s birthday, anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars (May 18, 1944). “On May 12, there were mass searches in Bakhchisarai – in mosques, schools and Crimean Muslims’ homes,” said Mr. Bariev. He added that on the same day several of them had been detained for the alleged involvement in the activities of “Hizb ut-Tahrir”. There is also a direct relationship between repressions and activities of Crimean Tatar movement. In particular, the so-called Crimean “prosecutor’s office” banned Mejlis activities immediately after its delegates visited Lithuania for a meeting of the executive committee of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars on April 11-13. This was followed by a series of searches in Crimean Tatars’ homes.
Eskender Bariev also reminded about systematic violations of human rights of persons detained in Crimea who are involved in judicial proceedings. “The so-called Crimean court constantly rejects appeals and extends detention of Akhtem Chyyhoz, Muyedyn Alivapov and others” he said. As of today, 14 people are illegally kept in custody in the “Hizb ut Tahrir case”, 3 – in the “February 26 case”, 3 – in the so-called “Crimean case” and there are 4 private cases of illegal detention. Eskender Bariev spoke of the violations of detainees’ rights to healthy conditions of detention and health care – particularly, in the cases of Gennadiy Afanasyev, Olexandr Kostenko, Refat Alimov. In addition, 11 people, including Oleg Sentsov, Olexandr Kostenko, Gennadiy Afanasyev and four persons involved in “Hizb ut-Tahrir” case were illegally convoyed to the territory of the Russian Federation.
Eskender Bariev noted that most victims of repression and harassment were Crimean Tatars, their institutions and organizations, but the Crimean diocese of the UOC-KP also suffered persecution as there had been attempts to take away their buildings.
He also drew attention to the fact that in February and March, Crimean boys received summons on conscription in the Russian army. “We remind that this is a violation of the IV Geneva Convention of 1949. We will take further action to receive response of the international community to these illegal actions of the Russian Federation,” he said.
“We will forward the information to our partners and international human rights organizations. Only in close cooperation with them we can succeed,” stated Eskender Bariev. He also called for immediate dissemination of information in case of abduction or disappearance of people. “The sooner we know about the case, the more likely these people will stay alive and avoid torture,” he stressed.
The next report over the second half of 2016 will be presented in January 2017.