Council of Europe publishes decision on Crimea

The Council of Europe`s Committee of Ministers has passed a decision condemning the annexation of Crimea and demanding from Russia to respect human rights on the occupied peninsula.

In their decision concerning the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, referring to their previous decisions concerning Ukraine and underlining that the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine) by the Russian Federation challenges peace and democratic security in Europe, the ministers` deputies reaffirmed their ”commitment to the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes, to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within internationally recognised borders and to the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

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Condemning the ”illegal annexation of Crimea,” the document urges Russia to ”take all measures necessary to respect human rights in Crimea and to bring an immediate end to all violations of these rights, including the denial of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of religion and belief, discriminatory measures and practices, arbitrary detentions, torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and the repression against persons belonging to minorities, including the Crimean Tatars, as well as Ukrainians and persons belonging to other ethnic and religious groups; stresses such annexation constitutes a violation of international law.”

The Council of Europe called for a ”full, transparent and impartial investigation of all allegations of human rights abuses in order to bring those responsible to justice.”

It also underlined that the ”court decision declaring the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People an extremist organisation and banning its activities, and the decision banning leaders of the Mejlis from entering Crimea, gravely violated the rights of the Crimean Tatars and should be revoked.”

The ministers` deputies emphasized ”that a safe and enabling environment for local and international media, human rights defenders and non-governmental organisations should be put in place in Crimea, allowing for all opinions and views in society to be expressed without any discrimination” and reiterated their call for full and unrestricted access to Crimea for all human rights bodies of CE, including the Commissioner for Human Rights.

In autumn of 2017, the Committee will come back to the situation in Ukraine with a view to adopting a comprehensive decision, in light of the discussions on a new Action Plan for Ukraine.

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