UN CERD’s statement on the situation of Crimean Tatars in Crimea

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) has published its assessment of discrimination against Crimean Tatars in the Russia-controlled Crimean peninsula and Russia’s compliance with the Committee’s previous recommendations published in 2017.

The Committee’s experts once again called on the Russian government to provide the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with full access to Crimea in order to monitor the situation there. The Committee noted that legislation and administrative measures that discriminate against certain ethnic groups and indigenous peoples continued to be applied in Crimea. These included measures concerning matters of citizenship, learning the Ukrainian language, registration of religious communities and activities of Crimean Tatar self-government bodies, including the Mejlis. In addition to that, UN CERD noted that Russia had not provided information on what actions had been taken to investigate and prosecute those responsible for violating the rights of Crimean Tatars, which included the cases of forced disappearances of people, arbitrary detentions and inhuman treatment. The Committee concluded that the government of the Russian Federation had not complied with the Committee’s previous recommendations.

Meanwhile, on January 9, 2020, the trial in the so-called “Hizb-ut Tahrir case” against Crimean Tatars accused of terrorism began in Rostov-on-Don, Southern Russia. In December 2019, human rights defenders and activists in Crimea had adopted a resolution concerning the human rights situation on the peninsula, which had noted the continued repression, militarization of education and Russia’s policy of population replacement in Crimea.

Anti-Discrimination Centre “Memorial”, in partnership with other organizations, has earlier submitted several reports (1) (2) on discrimination of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians in Crimea to the UN CERD.