UN: situation with human rights in the Crimea is not improving

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine continues to record violations of human rights in the Crimea and notes that there have been no improvements on the peninsula over that last 10 months, stated in an interview with Zerkalo Nedeli, Fiona Frazer, the head of the UN human rights mission in Ukraine.

The mission prepared its second report on the situation in the Crimea. This time they documented violations during the period from September 13, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

"The situation with human rights in the Crimea has not changed. We continue to record violations of human rights and we can state that there have been no improvements over the past 10 months on the peninsula, " Fraser said.

The UN mission analyzes the situation, based on international human rights law and through the prism of international humanitarian law (IHL). Each of these systems gives a certain degree of protection to the inhabitants of the annexed territory. IHL standards began to apply as of December 2016 when the UN General Assembly recognized Russia as an "occupying state".

According to Frazer, the IHL imposes obligations on Russia as "an occupying country". For example, it must exercise its laws without imposing its citizenship. The residents of the annexed territory should not be recruited to the Russian army by force, etc.

“For example, since 2014, according to the official statistics, 12,000 Crimean citizens were conscripted to the Armed Forces of Russia. Moreover, the occupying state should not transfer detained or imprisoned persons from the Crimea to the territory of Russia. In fact, people that were detained or imprisoned before 2014 were transferred to the territory of Russia to stand trial there or to serve a sentence,” Frazer said.

Kyiv demands that Russia stop conscripting citizens of the Crimea to its Armed Forces. The Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea asks Crimean citizens to contact them by phone or email if they are summoned to serve in the Russian army. According to the Kremlin-controlled Crimean government, it planned to conscript over two thousand Crimeans to the Russian army in 2018.

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine reported that in 2017, the Armed Forces of Russia recruited about 4,800 Crimean citizens to serve in the Russian army.

After the annexation, the number of abduction cases, mostly targeting Crimean Tatars, has increased in the Crimea. At the same time, the Crimean department of the investigative committee of Russia stated that “there are no mass disappearances of Crimean Tatars on the peninsula.”

According to activists, 44 Crimean citizens have disappeared after the annexation of the Crimea. Six citizens were found dead, another two are imprisoned and sixteen people have gone missing.

  Ukraine, UN Mission, Crimea, Russia