45th session of the UN Human Rights Council
Agenda items 3&5
Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the rights of Indigenous People
Intervention by Delegation of Ukraine
September 24, 2020
Ukraine is committed to protection of its indigenous people in line with the Constitution and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
The Crimean Tatars, Ukraine’s largest indigenous community, suffers severely under Russia’s occupation.
Due to their open pro-Ukrainian position, the Crimean Tatars are regularly subjected to reprisals by the Russian occupying authorities and often targeted by paramilitary groups in Crimea.
They also has been persecuted because of their culture and religion.
Russia has severely cracked down on education in the Crimean Tatar language.
The representative body of Crimean Tatars – the Mejlis – remains banned despite four UNGA resolutions and ICJ decision. Various buildings and premises associated with the Crimean Tatars are routinely vandalized. Intimidation, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, killings, denial of the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of speech continue to be widely used.
A clear pattern of specific targeting of the Crimean Tatars is reflected in the recent report by the UN Secretary General on the situation in Crimea.
This year, Russia declared the residents of Crimea with Ukrainian citizenship as “foreigners” thereby denying thousands of Crimean Tatars a right to own land plots in their historical homeland. This decision follows the logic of Russia’s "neocolonization" policy aimed at changing the composition of Crimea’s population, which amounts to a war crime.
Robust monitoring of the situation by international human rights mechanisms is critical for addressing these violations. Ukraine counts on close attention by the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism to the situation in Crimea.
We see cooperation with their mandates as a key factor in further improvement of Ukraine’s state policy in the field of indigenous peoples’ rights. Mr Special Rapporteur, allow me to reiterate our invitation to pay a country visit to Ukraine.
I thank you.