CrimeaSOS: the occupiers conducted at least 59 arbitrary searches in Crimea during 2023 

1 / 03 / 2024

This was reported by the representative of CrimeaSOS on February 26, 2024, on the Day of Crimean Resistance to the russian Occupation, during the event “10 years of resistance. Violation of human rights and international humanitarian law in the temporarily occupied Crimea”. The topic was discussed at the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels. 
During the event, representatives of 5 human rights organizations talked about the resistance on the peninsula and its suppression by the russians. The occupiers have created conditions under which almost anyone in Crimea could become a victim of politically motivated persecution. 

“Every three days in the occupied Crimea, people are abducted and accused of collaborating with Ukrainian intelligence or the army. Every day, one Crimean man is detained for posts on social networks where he sings Ukrainian songs, and women for manicures in the colour of the Ukrainian flag. Every few hours, at least 140 civilian hostages and political prisoners are subjected to inhumane treatment in penitentiary institutions. In 2023 alone, at least 59 arbitrary searches took place in the occupied Crimea; 40 of them in the homes of Crimean Tatars. At least 43 people were convicted in politically motivated criminal cases, more than 40 Crimean political prisoners were illegally transferred to penitentiary institutions on the territory of russia”, — said Sabina Iliasova, CrimeaSOS project coordinator. 

In her speech, the representative of CrimeaSOS noted a dangerous trend: the intensification of repression against independent lawyers. Threats, fines, arrests, revocation of licenses – this is what threatens the defenders of Crimean political prisoners. 
Tetiana Zhukova, manager of international advocacy at the Human Rights Centre ZMINA, spoke about the lack of freedom of speech and the persecution of journalists. In particular, it was about at least 15 journalists who are in captivity on fabricated and politically motivated cases.  
The representative of the Crimean human rights group, Iryna Baran, added that two Crimean political prisoners, Kostiantyn Shyrinh and Dzhemil Hafarov, died in 2023 due to the lack of medical care.  

Mariia Sulialina from the Centre of Civil Education “Almenda” emphasized that children also suffer during the occupation: “The statistics are as follows: 503,965 children currently live in Crimea alone, of which 285,963 are school-age children. The entire education system from the first days of the occupation was transferred to russian standards”. 

During the event, Daryna Pidhorna, Regional Centre for Human Rights, raised the topic of cultural heritage: illegal appropriation of objects, destruction of monuments under the guise of restoration and archaeological excavations. She noted that russia appropriated 12,612 monuments of national and local importance, the property of 773 libraries, 26 museums, 5 historical and cultural reserves, where 1,247,360 museum exhibits were kept. 
Human rights activists propose to support the following actions of the resistance in Crimea: 

  • express a strong consolidated protest against repression against lawyers in the occupied Crimea through public statements;   
  • introduce personal sanctions against persons involved in gross violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea, including FSB employees, judges, investigators, heads of penitentiary institutions, etc.;   
  • increase diplomatic, sanction and other pressure on the russian federation in order to prevent new atrocities in Crimea and on the mainland of Ukraine, as well as to accelerate the de-occupation of all territories of Ukraine;  
  • provide comprehensive support to victims of political repression in Crimea and their families;   
  • assist the Government of Ukraine in the investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity and gross violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea.   

The event was attended by MEP Anna Fotyga and Ambassador of Ukraine to the European Union Vsevolod Chentsov, and opening remarks were made by journalist Emine Dzheppar and Deputy Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Olha Kuryshko. 

In addition to CrimeaSOS, participants of the event included the Human Rights House, Human Rights Centre ZMINA, the Crimean Human Rights Group, the Regional Centre for Human Rights, the Centre of Civil Education “Almenda” with the support of the Delegation of Ukraine to the EU. The purpose of the events is to remind Ukrainians and foreigners about the resistance in Crimea, which has been lasting for 10 years. 

Source of the image: Human Rights Centre ZMINA.


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