Lithuania is extremely concerned about human rights violations in the annexed Crimea, including the rights of the Crimean Tatars, with whom Lithuania has close historical ties.
Ukrinform reports that Lithuanian Ambassador to Ukraine Marius Janukonis, who took part in the 4th Baltic-Black Sea Economic Forum as part of a delegation led by the Lithuanian Seimas Chairman Viktoras Pranckietis, spoke about this topic on September 1 at a briefing in Kherson.
"This is the first such visit at the level of the speaker of our Seimas and other deputies. And this shows our solidarity, our support to Ukraine, as well as to the Kherson region, which is on the border with the occupied Crimea. Part of this visit will be devoted to Crimean issues of human rights… To the protection of human rights of all peoples living in the Crimea, including the Crimean Tatars. This year we celebrate the six hundred and twentieth anniversary since the Crimean Tatars settled in the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania; we have very close historical ties. And we are very concerned about the violations of human rights that are occurring there [in the annexed Crimea]," Janukonis said.
He noted that Crimea is the only homeland for the Crimean Tatars and that the Russian authorities in the Crimea are forcing them to leave the peninsula.
"There have already been cases in the history when the Crimean Tatar people were deported. We do not believe that this should happen again, "the Ambassador said.
Janukonis also drew attention to the fact that people disappear in the annexed Crimea; they are found dead, dissidents pursued, searches and arrests occur.
"We see that these cases, which are being conducted against activists [in the Crimea], are political," he said.
Speaker of the Seimas, Viktoras Pranckietis, in turn, congratulated the Crimean Tatars on the Muslim holiday of Kurban Bairam during his stay in the settlement of Novooleksiivka, Kherson region, on September 1.
In the Crimea, mass searches of independent journalists, civil activists, activists from the Crimean Tatar national movement, members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, and Crimean Muslims suspected of links with the organization Hizb ut-Tahrir have increased since the Russian annexation of the territory.