Crimean Platform sets the scene for deoccupation, all UN members should join – Ukrainian expert at UNSC

Article by: Maria Tomak

Editor’s NoteA United Nations Security Council high-level Arria-formula virtual meeting on Crimea: 7 years of violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity was held on 12 March 2021. It was organized by UN Security Council members Estonia, France, Ireland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the USA, together with additional co-sponsors Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

One of the invited speakers was Maria Tomak, Coordinator of the Ukrainian NGO Media Initiative for Human Rights. Ms. Tomak gave a comprehensive overview of the dismal human rights situation in temporarily occupied Crimea. We publish it below.

Dear Ladies and Gentleman,

First of all, allow me to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia for initiating this event, as well as other UN Member States for co-sponsoring it.

Seven years ago, on these days, when the Russian Federation invaded Crimea, I went to the peninsula jointly with my fellow activists to eyewitness what was going on there and to document human rights violations.

Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine has never faced massive abductions and torturing, massive disappearances of people. But since 2014 we do, it started in Crimea and continued in Donbas.

I would like to stress this date – 27 February 2014. That is the moment when Russia started to exercise its effective control over Crimea, not after the so-called referendum on March 16. And this was recently recognized also as a legal fact – by the European Court of Human Rights.

Ukraine wins crucial round against Russia over Crimea in the European Court of Human Rights

Since 2014, the human rights situation in Crimea has been deteriorating. It is reflected in the data provided by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, as well as in the UNGA resolutions adopted annually since 2016.

Unfortunately, none of the recommendations and demands listed in those five resolutions has been followed by the Russian Federation.

Today in my statement I would like to highlight emblematic stories that reflect human rights trends in occupied Crimea. Kidnappings in 2014 of Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian activists opposing the occupation — Ervin Ibragimov, Tymur Shaimardanov, Vasyl Chernysh — are not investigated, their whereabouts remain unknown for years.

Reshat Ametov, a Crimean Tatar activist who was explicitly protesting against the occupation on March 3rd, 2014, was kidnapped and killed. Awful traces of tortures have been found on his body. Non-investigation of his murder by the occupying authorities is absolutely deliberate, as they are the ones responsible for this crime.

9 killed, 15 kidnapped under Russian regime – Crimean Tatar World Congress

Human rights activists, prisoners of conscience Emir-Usein Kuku and Server Mustafayev whose names were pointed out by the UNGA remain imprisoned.

Currently, at least 108 Ukrainian citizens are held in Crimea and in Russia behind the bars within the politically motivated cases. Most of them are Crimean Tatars. 50 of them are activists of the Crimean Solidarity, the group of courageous people that document human rights violations in Crimea and provide humanitarian assistance to the families of political prisoners.

Any attempts of those subjected to tortures within these 7 years to complain about it, did not result in justice.

In the meantime, the COVID-19 pandemic was used to cut off the access to the courtroom for the public and to prevent political prisoners from seeing their families.

The representative body of the Crimean Tatar people, Medzhlis, is banned and criminalized in spite of the International Court of Justice order. Antiextremism and antiterrorism legislation of the occupying state is misused and directed first of all against the indigenous population of Crimea – Crimean Tatars.

We must protect Crimea’s human rights defenders

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine has been targeted since the beginning of the occupation. As a result of various means of pressure, including physical violence as well as instrumentalization of the occupying courts, out of 49 religious communities of the Orthodox church of Ukraine operating in Crimea as of 2014, only 7 remained as of 2020. Out of 23 priests, only four keep on serving in the peninsula.

Jehovah’s Witnesses became a target in recent years as well, at least 6 of them are currently kept behind the bars.

Civilians are forced to leave Crimea for mainland Ukraine to protect themselves and their families from large-scale and systematic human rights abuse. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of people are arriving in Crimea from the Russian Federation within the policy of direct and indirect relocation.

While the world tries to get rid of the consequences of the colonization practices of previous centuries, Russia does just the opposite – colonizes parts of Ukrainian territory by changing the demographic composition of Crimea.

Russia’s replacement of population in occupied Crimea violates Geneva Convention – UN report

Victims of the attempted annexation of Crimea are mostly men. However, women and children are heavily affected either. As of now, 191 children have been left without their fathers as a result of politically motivated persecutions.

Nevertheless, I would like to specifically emphasize the role of brave women, human rights activists Mumine Saliyeva, Lutfie Zudiyeva, Lilia Hemedzhy. They continue to act despite the fact they themselves being persecuted. Their key message towards the international community is simple but vital – to keep an eye on Crimea, to highlight all the violations taking place there, and express solidarity with those persecuted.

That is why the Crimean Platform, an international initiative proposed by Ukraine, is of huge importance. We believe it will create preconditions for the de-occupation of Crimea, which will happen sooner or later.

Ukraine “satisfied” as Russia gets nervous about Crimean Platform

We appreciate the support provided by the UN Member States to the territorial integrity of Ukraine as well as to human rights in the temporarily occupied territories – both Crimea and Donbas. We appreciate it even more given the great human rights challenges that the world is facing currently with events taking place in Myanmar, Ethiopia, Hong Kong, Belarus.

22 states co-sponsored this event, and that indeed shows the global dimension of the problem of occupied Crimea and Russian aggression.

The attempted annexation of Crimea is an emblematic case, in which the resilience of the international community and its commitment to the UN principles and values are being tested. And we have no choice other than to pass this test.

Therefore, we encourage all of the UN Members States to join the Crimean Platform and to support its operation at all levels.

We also call on the international community to impose personal sanctions against those involved in grave human rights violations in Crimea. In particular, against those persecuting prisoners of conscience Emir-Usein Kuku and Server Mustafayev.

I thank you.

Watch the entire meeting here

Maria Tomak is a coordinator of the Media Initiative for Human Rights

(c) EuromaidanPress


  • “Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine has never faced massive abductions and torturing, massive disappearances of people. But since 2014 we do, it started in Crimea and continued in Donbas.”

    It’s about time the UN took actions against the nazi state, instead of setting up another hot air gathering. The annexation of Crimea needs to be punished with massive sanctions, and the removal of Muscovy from the UN. The ineffective sanctions will not stop Putin from expanding into Ukraine. We know he wants to invade the SE to get contol of the canal delivering water to Crimea, he is probably weighing up the cost of such a venture, and if he can get away with it unscathed. As history shows, if it is left to the UN, he will get away with it. I hear talk about Ukraine giving up Crimea in return for Donbas, which is total BS. If Ukraine give up on Crimea, it will give Putler the green light to invade even further into Ukraine. Will the UN and EU finally react when Russia are at the Polish border?

    Liked by 6 people

    • I don’t get this. Ukraine would give up the Crimea… RuSSia owns it and will probably never return it. Ukraine already lost it to RuSSia. The claim will not change this. An official recognition of the theft, or continued non-recognition is cosmetics. RuSSia doesn’t give a shit. So this Crimean Platform is a balloon. All it may do is provoke the enemy and may cause more bullshit, as you mentioned yourself, concerning southern Ukraine and the canal. Ukraine first needs to become a huge army before even thinking about a possible de-occupation, and even then it would still seem unrealistic. Ukraine got defeated in Crimea, and surely Putin enjoys all the ‘whining’. I would leave them the Crimea, without water and power supplied, and enjoy the show. The only way to return the Crimea is if the crimeans themselves demand from Moscow to leave. With the majority collaborating and knowing RuSSia’s military strength, there’s nothing Ukraine can do, except talk. You have like Scradje a different point of view, but this is mine. Not very popular, but realistic i think.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Borders cannot be changed by force in the 21st century. No grey areas, no debate. Failure to accept that simple fact is just playing into the hands of the the worst nazi regime since the last one.
        There must be no reward for mass murder, thieving, lies and torture. EVER.

        Liked by 5 people

        • But RuSSia has been rewarded. They now have the Crimea and will keep it. No sanctions from hell were launched. And McDonald’s, Pepsi, Mars, Siemens and friends there are going after their business as usual. Will Georgia get their lost territory back? Not likely. All RuSSia have to do is keep fucking Ukraine until a pro-ruskie like Oksana Medvedchuk gets elected and the loss of Crimea is official. I may die from Corona sooner or later, but remember my words.

          Liked by 3 people

          • You are making a separate point. Yes they have been rewarded; by the failure of the world to act decisively. That does not mean that it is an acceptable state of affairs. I think that Crimea and Donbas will come back, one way or another. I have no idea when. Same with Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
            Obama could have said to the interim administration when the rat invaded: ‘fight like fuck. Throw everything you’ve got at them, try to hold some territory. We are going to send air, sea and ground support, but it will take a bit of time.’ McCain might have said something like that. Instead they were left to their fate.

            Liked by 6 people

            • I support your point. The same was stated by Facts. I read that Berti Ahern wants a referendum on Irish re-unification in 2028. Seems the UK will get their own border dispute soon.

              Liked by 4 people

              • Bertie Ahern is a decent bloke. People like him are much more representative of Irish people north and south than the scum of Sinn Fein/IRA. The north will rejoin the south when the majority in the Six Counties want it. Which is not now, as Bertie says. However, Catholics breed at a significantly higher rate than Protestants, so the demographics always win eventually.
                The UK govt ought to be more than aware of that fact because they have allowed illegals to settle from cultures whose women produce 5 kids before they are 30. The national average is 1.6.
                IRA Joe knows that too; which is why he is importing RC’s from the south who will join his voter bloc.

                Liked by 5 people

      • “An official recognition of the theft, or continued non-recognition is cosmetics.”
        So, is it your opinion that Ukraine should have official recognition of mafia ownership? If so, this can never be done. You cannot give green light to illegal annexation for this would not only destroy any chances of Ukraine regaining control of the peninsula at some point in time in the future but would also open a Pandora’s Box of other/more illegal annexations. Even if a thousand years have gone by, the Crimea must be official Ukrainian territory. Not an inch of concession can be or should be given to the mafiosi cesspool!

        Liked by 4 people

        • I think i’ll take a time-out from this site for a while. I have lots of work to do and i’m not in a mood to argue with you guys. You all are closer to Ukraine than i am now, and i hope you won’t mind. It’s tiresome here on sometimes. I need to recharge my battery with some positive impressions and then maybe come back. Not too much happening recently anyway.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Mike, you are a fighter and this is a good thing. But, I understand wanting a time out and I definitely understand being frustrated by what’s happening in Ukraine and what concerns Ukraine internationally. I admit that I am too. Maybe you are too hopeful about positive changes, both within the country and outside of it. Staying realistic certainly helps divert most negative emotions away from the current state of affairs. It is worth looking at all aspects of any situation and for this reason alone, among others, your opinions are as valuable as those of anyone else on here even if they at times are different.
            A diamond is also not simply a diamond. Its size and color are important features, but it must also be examined on every facet that it has, and even every edge of every facet and inside of it too to help determine its worth.

            Liked by 3 people

  • Unfortunately, this platform will change nothing. But, it is always good to keep drawing attention to mafia land’s illegal annexation. As sad as it is, there are many who would like to forget and to do business as usual with the crime syndicate.

    Liked by 5 people

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