The UN has released a report on human rights violations in the occupied Crimea
The report of Secretary General Antonio Guterres covers the period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
The United Nations has released the fifth report of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on human rights violations in the Russian-occupied Crimea.
According to Radio Liberty, the report covers the period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 and “describes a wide range of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” including:
- cases of torture or ill-treatment, which were probably used by the Federal Security Service of Russia. No culprits were prosecuted;
- transfer of detainees from the Crimea for conviction and imprisonment in Russia;
- arbitrary placement of detainees in penal isolators, including long solitary confinement;
- sanctions against religious organizations and individuals, including convictions against Jehovah’s Witnesses, based on Russia’s anti-extremist laws;
- interference in the holding of public meetings, including the imposition of fines and other sanctions on meeting participants, on the basis of a rule of law requiring prior permission from the Russian authorities to hold any scheduled meeting;
- extramural trials that do not meet international human rights standards against persons considered opponents of the Russian government in Crimea.
“The number of arbitrary detentions of members of religious minorities in the Crimea increased almost fivefold in July 2020 – June 2021 compared to the previous period in July 2019 – June 2020,” the report said.
It also states that in the investigation of 43 cases of enforced disappearances (39 men and four women), documented in Crimea since March 2014, “no tangible progress has been made.”
“Among the alleged perpetrators of abductions, detention, imprisonment in unofficial places of detention, concealment of missing persons, torture and ill-treatment are members of the Federal Security Service, the Crimean Self-Defense Forces and the local police.” No arrests were made, although 28 disappearances occurred in 2014. Relatives of the victims complained to OHCHR about the formal nature of the investigations, the lack of transparency and the denial of access to investigative materials. Those victims who were released or transferred to official places of detention did not receive any compensation and complained of impunity for the violations they suffered. They often faced the inevitable risk of persecution, and most of them left Crimea soon after their release, ”the report said.
According to the UN, the practice of transferring detainees from the occupied peninsula to convict and serve sentences in remote regions of Russia continues in Crimea, and at least 28 such cases are known.
During this period, 61 searches and “raids” of Russian security forces took place in Crimea during this period.
“Most of them were held in houses, meeting places or business premises owned by Crimean Tatars or Jehovah’s Witnesses,” the report said.
In February-March 2014, Russia occupied Crimea and inspired separatist demonstrations in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. The Verkhovna Rada set February 20, 2014 as the official date for the beginning of the occupation of Crimea by Russian troops. Repression against pro-Ukrainian citizens and the free press continues on the peninsula.
In June 2021, the UN Monitoring Mission for Human Rights in Ukraine announced the continuation of the practice of torture by Russian law enforcement officers to detainees and arrestees in the occupied Crimea.
As an example, the monitoring cites the situation with the journalist and freelancer of Radio Svoboda (Crimean Realities project) Vladislav Yesipenko.
Photo: UNIS Vienna / Flickr