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14.03.2019 - On the situation of human rights in Crimea

On the situation of human rights in Crimea

 

The Russian Federation has taken and is taking steps concerning the Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Members of the Crimean Tatar community may exercise their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association freely and in all forms in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation. Crimean Tatars are represented in all State bodies of the Republic of Crimea, including the State Council (Crimean Parliament), as well as in the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation (Russian Parliament). They are actively participating in political and social life through a number of non-governmental organizations of Crimean Tatars.

In addition to this, Crimean Tatars actively avail themselves of the opportunities to organize "territorial public self-governance". This form of local self-governance, provided for by Russian legislation, allows members of a particular local community to self-organize in order to implement their initiatives concerning everyday life and protection of their rights and interests.

On 17 February 2018, at the extraordinary session of the extended Qurultay of the Muslims of Crimea, the "Council of the Crimean Tatar People" ("Shura") was elected. The main goal of the Council is to facilitate interaction between the Crimean Tatar community and State organs of the Republic of Crimea.

Besides, further measures have been taken to preserve and support public associations and non-governmental organizations of the Crimean Tatar community.

Inter alia, on 16-18 May 2017, an international conference on "Cooperation of Crimean Tatar non-governmental organizations of the Republic of Crimea with compatriots abroad" was held in the Republic of Crimea. Crimean Tatar diasporas of the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Belarus participated in the event.

Three national cultural autonomies of Crimean Tatars established in 2016 have further developed. According to Russia's legislation and practice, a national cultural autonomy is a specific type of non-governmental organization tailored to preserve the identity of a national minority, develop language, education, national culture, etc. Such organizations may be formed at different levels, from local to federal, and can qualify for State support in the implementation of their goals. They are also authorized to represent the national cultural interests of their membership before the State bodies, establish media and educational institutions. In essence, a national cultural autonomy is a platform for making all voices of the local communities heard irrespective of their political and religious affiliations. In the case of Crimean Tatars these are:

  • "Regional National Cultural Autonomy of Crimean Tatars of the Republic of Crimea", headed by Mr. Aivaz Umerov;
  • "Local National Cultural Autonomy of Crimean Tatars of the city district of Sudak, the Republic of Crimea", headed by Mr. Eskender Umerov;
  • "Local National Cultural Autonomy of Crimean Tatars of the city district of Simferopol, the Republic of Crimea", headed by Mr. Abdurrahman Saliev.

Moreover, a federal national cultural autonomy of Crimean Tatars is currently being established.

Currently there are more than 30 registered non-governmental organizations and associations of Crimean Tatars on the peninsula. They have around 30 000 members. These organizations and associations continue to carry out their activities in various fields - political, economic, social and cultural. Since the reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation, there were no cases in Russian courts (except for the Mejlis) regarding the prohibition or dissolution of Crimean Tatars' non-governmental organizations.

As regards more specifically the organization called "the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People", the Russian Federation notes that the Mejlis has never been recognized as a representative institution of Crimean Tatars in Crimea. Nor has it even sought to acquire such a status in Crimea under any jurisdiction.

The Russian Federation underlines that the protection of the rights and interests of all national minorities, including the Crimean Tatars, is the principled position and policy of Russia as a multinational State. It fully intends to maintain this position at all times and in all circumstances.