The United Nations has called on Russia to protect the rights of Crimean Tatars on the 72nd anniversary of their deportation by Soviet authorities, Radio Svoboda reported.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, noted that persecution of Crimean Tatars has increased significantly since Russia annexed the Peninsula in 2014.
"Since April 2014, Crimean Tatars have been subjected to arbitrary searches, seizure of books, and arrest. Last year, the authorities shut down a number of Crimean Tatar media outlets, and last week were reported to have also blocked Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Crimea news website," Colville said.
On May 18th, 1944, the first group of Crimean Tatars was forced from their homes on the Peninsula to Central Asia. More than 180,000 people were deported.
Recently, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine appealed to the UN, the European Parliament, PACE, the OSCE and world leaders to recognize the deportation of the Crimean Tatars as genocide.
In April 2016, the Supreme Court of the Crimea banned the activities of the Mejlis on the peninsula.