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Human Rights’ Violations in Crimea and Universal Monitoring Mechanisms

Report prepared by the Association of Reintegration of Crimea 

Attempted annexation of the Crimea by Russian Federation since 2014 have been condemned in a series of international acts, including UN GA resolutions 68/262, 75/192, 75/29 and others, resolutions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Human rights violations in the Crimea, relevant racial and other discrimination now are the subject to consideration in international courts, including the International Court of Justice (case 166) and the European Court of Human Rights (case 20958/14 and others).

Those acts paid special attention to the brutal violation by Russia the fundamental civil, politic, economic, social cultural, ecologic human rights, also as the collective rights of indigenous peoples and other ethnic, linguistic and religious groups in Crimea. Those issues are the permanent subject of consideration by the UN Monitoring Mission and OSCE Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. But now there function a lot of specialized UN agencies and structures in human rights area, whose specialized interests interfere with situation in Crimea. It is worth to mention the role of the UN special rapporteurs that act under aegis of the UN Human Rights Council and provides annual and specialized reports and researches as to this council so to the UN General Assembly.

The Association of Reintegration of Crimea, as a registered international non-governmental organization with offices in Paris and Kyiv, pays a great attention to issue of cooperation with such rapporteurs. In 2021 our Association communicated with such rapporteurs and provided them specialised analytic related to different human rights issues, connected with Crimea, with relevant feedback.

In our communication to the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Dr. Tomoya Obokata [1], Association described the nexus between forced displacement and contemporary forms of slavery, for the Rapporteur’s forthcoming report to the 48th session of the Human Rights Council.

We pointed that the policy of Russian de-facto authorities in Crimea includes the discrimination of the citizens of Ukraine in the Crimea that refused or could not get the so called “Russian citizenship” after 2014, when RF declared Crimean peninsula as allegedly “own territory”. Such Ukrainian citizens resided in the Crimea before the attempted annexation or resettled to peninsula later due to Russian aggression on the East of Ukraine and to ongoing armed conflict there. Such Ukrainian citizens in the Crimea are determined by the Russian de-facto authorities as “foreigners”, which have to get the “residence permits” and the “special allowance” to work. But in reality thousands of such persons can not have the “residence” and the “special allowance” in the Crimea, due to the system of total corruption, bureaucracy and politic position of the Russian de-facto authorities in this region.

As Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) pointed in its thirty-first report by the on the human rights situation in Ukraine, based on the work of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (p. 104), in 2020, “courts” in Crimea issued deportation and forcible transfer orders against at least 178 individuals considered “foreigners” under RF immigration law, including 105 Ukrainian citizens (93 men and 12 women). Those Ukrainian citizens who were ordered to leave Crimea either did not possess RF passports, had registration or “propyska” in mainland Ukraine, or failed to apply for or to obtain Russian “residence permits”, and were thus considered as “not having residency rights in Crimea” [2].

During 2019 more that 360 person were deported from Crimea, first of all from the Simferopol, Sevastopol and Southern Coast of Crimea as the part of the purposeful policy of the RF de-facto authorities to “squeeze out” the population, undesirable for them. For those purposes so-called “courts” in the Crimea used usually the article 18.8 of the Administrative Offences Code of RF (“Violation by the foreigner the regime of residing in RF”). But sometimes so called “courts” used for such deportation the article 18.10 of this Code (“Illegal labour activities of the foreigner in RF”).

Some such cases were used by Russian state propaganda, for its hate speech activities against Ukraine, Ukrainians and citizens of Ukraine. For example, in February 2018 Russia’s official edition “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”, published by the Government of Russia, published the article “23 Ukrainian Gastarbeiters Were Deported from Crimea” devoted to the punishment by the abovementioned articles 18.8 and 18.10 the group of workers, used in the kindergarten’s reconstruction in Novoozernoye settlement (Western Crimea) [3]. Even the term “gastarbeiters”, used before exclusively by the Nazi regime in Germany, shows by itself the real relation of Russian de-facto authorities to the Ukrainian citizens’ labour rights. So all such Ukrainian citizens in the Crimea are vulnerable for possible deportation and their work is used as “illegal” without any guarantees and with minimal possible payments. So such work of Ukrainians in own State’s territory, illegally occupied by Russia, is de-facto a specific contemporary forms of slavery.

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