European Parliament adopts resolution on human rights in Crimea
The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution on Crimea accusing Russia of violating human rights on the peninsula, primarily Crimean Tatars.
MEPs demanded the release of a number of political prisoners and called for specialized structures of the UN, OSCE and Council of Europe to have unhindered access to Crimea.
In its resolution, the European Parliament “condemns the sentencing of Ilmi Umerov, Crimean Tatar Leader and Deputy Chair of the Mejlis, Akhtem Chiygoz, Deputy Chair of the Mejlis, and journalist Mykola Semena; demands that these convictions be reversed and that Mr Umerov and Mr Chiygoz are immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against Mr Semena are immediately and unconditionally dropped.”.
The document lists the names of 44 other people, including Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, the judgments against whom the European Parliament strongly condemns.
“[The European Parliament] strongly condemns the harsh sentences handed out to leaders of the Crimean Tatar community and others opposing the Russian annexation, such as Uzair Abdullaev, Teymur Abdullaev, Zevri Abseutov, Rustem Abiltarov, Muslim Aliyev, Refat Alimov, Ali Asanov, Volodymyr Balukh, Enver Bekirov, Oleksiy Bessarabov, Hlib Shabliy, Oleksiy Chirniy, Mustafa Degermenji, Emil Dzhemadenov, Arsen Dzheparov, Volodymyr Dudka, Pavlo Gryb, Rustem Ismailov, Mykola Karpyuk, Stanislav Klykh, Andriy Kolomiyets, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Oleksandr Kostenko, Emir-Usein Kuku, Sergey Litvinov, Enver Mamutov, Remzi Memethov, Yevhen Panov, Yuri Primov, Volodymyr Prisich, Ferat Sayfullayev, Eider Saledinov, Oleg Sentsov, Vadym Siruk, Oleksiy Stogniy, Redvan Suleymanov, Roman Sushchenko, Mykola Shiptur, Dmytro Shtyblikov, Viktor Shchur, Rustem Vaitov, Valentyn Vygovsky, Andriy Zakhtey and Ruslan Zeytullaev, following farcical court proceedings and questionable charges; demands the repeal of their court rulings and the immediate release of those detained,” reads the resolution.
The EP considers that the rights of the Crimean Tatars have been gravely violated through the banning of the activities of the Mejlis and declaring it an extremist organization on April 26, 2016, and through the ban on their leaders re-entering the peninsula.
The resolution recalls that the reality of repression and the application of legislation on extremism, terrorism and separatism has led to a severe deterioration in the human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula and to the widespread violation of freedom of speech and association, and that forced imposition of Russian citizenship has become systematic and fundamental freedoms are not guaranteed on the Crimean peninsula.
MEPs called on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to consider all applications for redress from Crimea with the highest priority possible, as the Russian domestic judicial system cannot and does not provide legal remedies in these cases.
The resolution condemns the repression of independent media outlets representing minority communities and urges the Russian authorities to refrain from placing legal and administrative obstacles to their operation. It also for the establishment of independent monitoring mechanisms; supports the initiatives led by Ukraine with a view to addressing these issues within the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly; calls on the EEAS and the European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights to pay constant attention to the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula and to keep Parliament informed.
The European Parliament called on the European Commission to support projects and exchanges aimed at improving people-to-people contacts, as well as those promoting peace-building, conflict resolution, reconciliation and intercultural dialogue, including within Crimea.
The European Parliament encouraged the “avoidance of bureaucratic obstacles and encourages more flexible approaches that will allow easier access of international observers in the peninsula, including parliamentarians, with the agreement of Kyiv and without this being interpreted as recognition of the annexation.”
MEPs supported sanctions against “all individuals responsible for gross human rights violations, including those Crimean and Russian officials directly responsible for charging and sentencing Akhtem Chiygoz, Mykola Semena and Ilmi Umerov, and these should include the freezing of assets in EU banks and travel bans.”
The EP reiterated its support for the EU’s decision to prohibit imports from Crimea and the export of certain goods and technologies, investment, trade and services to Crimea.
The European Parliament supported the “sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders” and reiterated its “condemnation of the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.”
MEPs supported the policy of the EU and its member states not to recognize the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula and to impose restrictive measures taken in this respect and expressed “deep concern about the ongoing large-scale militarization of the Crimean peninsula by Russia, which threatens regional and pan-European security.”