ADC “Memorial” submitted information regarding the situation in Crimea to Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination

In August 2017 Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination adopted the Concluding Observations on the report of Russia. In paras 19-20 the Committee expressed its concern regarding the ban and strict limitations on the operation of Crimean Tatar representative institutions, such as the outlawing of the Mejlis and the closure of several media outlets, and violations of Crimean Tatars’ human rights, including allegations of disappearances, criminal and administrative prosecutions, mass raids and interrogations. The Committee also expressed concern regarding restrictions on using and studying the Ukrainian language since 2014.The Committee recommended that Russia allows OHCHR full access to Crimea to take stock of the human rights situation and urged the government to repeal any administrative or legislative measures adopted since it started to exercise effective control over Crimea that have the purpose or effect of discriminating against any ethnic group or indigenous peoples. The Committee recommended the State party investigate effectively the allegations of violations of human rights of the Crimean Tatars, in particular abductions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment, and bring perpetrators to justice and provide victims or their families with effective remedies. CERD also recommended to Russia to take effective measures to ensure the Ukrainian language is used and studied without interference.

In the Concluding Observation the Committee requested the Russian government to provide the information about implementation of that recommendation within a year. In April 2019 Russia provided the follow-up implementation report in which stated that all the ethnic groups living in Crimea have equal rights, and that human rights violations are being investigated.

ADC Memorial prepared the alternative information regarding the situation in Crimea, and submitted to the Committee. Since August 2017, when the Committee considered the situation, it has not improved. On the contrary, ethnic discrimination of Crimean Tatars is documented in Crimea. The main reason for this discrimination is disloyalty of the Crimean Tatars to Russian control over Crimea. De-facto authorities attempt to integrate Crimean Tatars to Russian civil nation forcibly: all the spheres of public life of the Crimean Tatars are controlled by the local authorities, the illegal prosecution within criminal and administrative legislation continues. In 2018-2019 the persecution is focused on civic journalists, activists and human rights defenders. The situation with study and use of the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian languages in the peninsula has not improved.

The Committee will express its opinion whether Russia has fulfilled its recommendations regarding the situation in Crimea during the next session in August 2019