Violation of the collective rights of the Crimean Tatar people is a crime against humanity

Eskender Bariiev
Head of the Board
Crimean Tatar Resource Center

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people

The Crimean Tatar people historically formed in Crimea and in the Northern Black Sea region along with small related peoples such as Karaites and Krymchaks. Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks belong to the indigenous population of the Crimean peninsula. They are officially recognized as indigenous peoples in Ukraine.

The Crimean Tatar people became a numerical minority in their homeland, as a result of deliberate policy of genocide after the liquidation of statehood and the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 1783, the apogee of which was the total forcible deportation of the Crimean Tatar people.

So in 1944, 238 thousand people were deported, about 110 thousand died in the first years of deportation, which is 46%.

The regime of a special settlement lasted until 1956, when people were deprived of the right to free movement, for more than 50 years a policy of denying the existence of the Crimean Tatar people, assimilation of the language and culture, falsification of historiography was carried out. Secondary deportations in the 70s and 80s of the 20th century, when people seeking to return to Crimea were forcibly taken out of Crimea by their whole families and thrown into the field. It is impossible not to recall the act of self-immolation of Musa Mamut, committed by him in 1978, only after that his family was allowed to live in Crimea.

The policy of racial discrimination and assimilation of the Crimean Tatars has been going on since 2014, the occupiers are replacing the population of Crimea. The indigenous Crimean Tatar people are systematically intimidated and purposefully squeezed out of Crimea as part of the population disloyal to the aggressor. More than six hundred thousand Russians have already been brought from Russia to Crimea, while tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars were forced to leave it.

And everyone who refuses to accept the yoke of fake “Russian citizenship” is deprived of the right to private property by the occupiers, discriminated against in labor and social rights, or even deported from Crimea.

Impunity breeds new crimes. Therefore, an important factor in deterring crimes against humanity, minimizing all forms of discrimination and violence on the temporarily occupied peninsula should be the recognition by all civilized countries of the world of the deportation of 1944 as a genocide of the Crimean Tatar people.

Today, it is important for the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights to make fair decisions condemning the current racial discrimination against Crimean Tatars by the occupiers.

According to the Crimean Tatar Resource Center during the occupation period of Crimea, 238 political prisoners and those prosecuted in criminal cases, 169 of whom are representatives of the indigenous people. 82 were convicted and are serving terms in colonies on the territory of Russia, 57 of whom are Crimean Tatars, and 42 are in a pre-trial detention centers, 36 of whom are Crimean Tatars; 58 are dead, 27 of whom are representatives of the Crimean Tatar people; 21 victims of violent abductions, 15 of whom are the representatives of the Crimean Tatar people.

Despite the fact that the Russian authorities of Crimea “officially” recognized the Crimean Tatar language as one of the state languages, the scope of its use is very narrow, there have been cases of threats to dismiss workers for speaking their native language, which is a violation of articles 2, 8 and 17 of the UN Declaration on rights of indigenous peoples.

Before the occupation, there were 15 schools and 384 classes in Crimea with the Crimean Tatar language of instruction. According to the data of the de facto authorities, for 2021 there are 7 schools with the Crimean Tatar language of instruction, 3 with Russian and Crimean Tatar and 119 classes, which is a violation of Articles 8, 13 and 14 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Items of cultural heritage of the Crimean Tatars were taken out of Crimea after the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 1783.

Since 2014, the Russian government has been falsifying the historiography of Crimea, including in school history textbooks, conducts excavations without the consent of the representative body of the indigenous people, and exports artifacts to Russia. This violates Article 15 of the UNDRIP.

Under the guise of “restoration” authentic materials of the Bakhchisaray historical and cultural reserve “Khan’s Palace” are destroyed, articles 8, 11, 15, 31 of the UNDRIP.

Violating articles 8, 25, 26, 27 of the Declaration, the Russian authorities illegally use the natural resources of Crimea. Biological resources and minerals are being extracted, the Black Sea shelf is being developed. Quarrying has led to the destruction of the Crimean landscape and has a negative impact on the traditional economy of the Crimean Tatars. The rivers dried up, juniper forests were destroyed. Due to explosions, houses of local residents are destroyed. As a result of the construction of the Tavrida highway in Crimea, more than 237,000 trees and shrubs have been destroyed.

In Crimea, the Russian authorities are building military bases and importing military equipment. Military exercises are held regularly. These actions violate articles 29, 30 of the UNDRIP.

The FSB is persecuting human rights activists of the indigenous peoples of Crimea. In 2016, the Supreme Court of Russia banned the representative body of the Crimean Tatars – the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, accusing it of extremism, thus violating the right of the indigenous people to manage their representative institutions. Russia did not comply with the Interim Decision of the UN ICJ dated April 19, 2017 on lifting the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.

The occupying authorities forbid holding meetings of the representative body of the Crimean Tatars to make important decisions for the people.

Armed people carry out systematic mass detentions of Crimean Tatars, collect personal data from people, take saliva for DNA analysis, fingerprints. This is a direct violation of Article 12 of the UNDRIP.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, a mass conscription into the ranks of the Russian Armed Forces is being carried out, and if people refuse, then criminal proceedings are opened against them.

The actions of the Russian Federation are criminal, politically motivated, grossly violating international law.

The families and more than 200 children of political prisoners and the missing persons need support, and any reaction from the civilized world inspires  and gives hope for the release and return of their parents.

We are confident that only with active joint opposition to the gross violation of human rights in Crimea and the unprecedented aggression of Russia, we will be able to protect not only the indigenous people of Crimea – the Crimean Tatars and Ukraine, but also Europe and the whole world.

Expert article 3223

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