Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1164th meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council,
The delegation of Ukraine welcomes Ambassador Lamberto Zannier back to the Permanent Council in his new capacity as the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and thanks him for the presented report.
We appreciate the close cooperation with the High Commissioner and his engagement in assisting Ukraine. A substantive meeting of the Ukrainian Foreign Minister P.Klimkin and High Commissioner L.Zannier took place on 24 October 2017. The Government of Ukraine stays committed to further protecting and promoting the rights of all national minorities in Ukraine in line with the OSCE commitments and international standards.
Ukraine believes that the HCNM has a particular role to play in addressing grave violations of national minorities’ rights resulting from the illegal occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.
These violations were extensively registered in the 2015 ODIHR/HCNM HRAM Report on Crimea and most recently in the UN OHCHR thematic report of September 2017 on “Situation of human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)”, which concluded that Russia’s occupying “authorities in Crimea have denied various manifestations of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar culture and identity by groups perceived as hostile to the Russian Federation and to Crimea’s status as a part of it.”
Only in October 2017 the occupation authorities in Crimea initiated 11 new politically motivated criminal cases on involvement in extremist Islamic religious organizations. All arrested persons were Crimean Tatars.
Having released under international pressure the leadership of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis - Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chiygoz - the Russian occupation authorities maintain the ban on the Mejlis, in violation of the ruling by the International Court of Justice of 19 April which ordered the Russian Federation to “refrain from maintaining or imposing limitations on the ability of the Crimean Tatar community to conserve its representative institutions, including the Mejlis“.
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