European Parliament calls on Russia to stop repression in Crimea

At a plenary session in Strasbourg on Thursday, the EU parliament adopted a resolution which accuses Russia of violating human rights in annexed Crimea, especially the rights of Crimean Tatars, Voice of America reports.

European parliamentarians have demanded the release of political prisoners and have called for representatives of the UN, OSCE and the European Council to be granted unobstructed access to Crimea.

The resolution states that the EU Parliament “condemns the sentences given to Crimean Tatar leader and deputy Mejlis chairman Ilmi Umerov, deputy Mejlis chairman Akhtem Chiygoz, and journalist Mykola Semena; demands the revocation of the sentences, the immediate and unconditional release of Umerov and Chiygoz, and the immediate and unconditional retraction of all charges against Semen”.

The document names another 44 persons, including Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, whose conviction the EU Parliament sharply condemns.

The MPs suggested that sanctions be introduced against “all persons responsible for the gross violations of human rights”, including the Crimean and Russian officials directly responsible for the conviction of Akhtem Chiygoz, Mykola Semena and Ilmi Umerov. The sanctions would involve a freezing of assets and a ban from entering the EU.

The European Parliament believes that “the rights of Crimean Tatars were seriously violated by the banning of the Mejlis and the accusations of it being an extremist organization, and the ban on its leaders’ return to the peninsula”.

The MPs urged the European Court of Human Rights to prioritize the consideration of all lawsuits filed from Crimea, because the Russian judicial system cannot and does not give legal assistance in these cases.

Furthermore, the EU parliament urged “all sides to fully implement the provisions of the Minsk agreements, including the cessation of military activity in the Donbas and the exchange of hostages, and also to release and return all prisoners without further delays”. The EU parliament also reiterated the Russian government’s particular responsibility in this regard.

The MPs suggested that the EU Council “investigate the possibility of creating an international format for negotiations, at which the matter of the de-occupation of Crimea would be discussed with EU participation, and which will be based on international humanitarian law, human rights and international principles”.

The EU Parliament also urged the EU Council to “find a way to support Ukraine in the International Court in the matter of holding the Russian Federation accountable for supporting terrorism in Eastern Ukraine, and the acts of discrimination against ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea”.

  European Parliament, repressions in the Crimea, Crimean Tartars, Russia, Ukraine