Our Association communicated with UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Ms. Irene Khan on issue of preparation her thematic report on the freedom of expression and gender justice for the next session of the UN General Assembly. We pointed in our submission that in the modern Crimea, under Russian control, there is no possibility for women to exercise their freedom of opinion and expression online and offline. All independent journalists and bloggers in peninsula are under pressure, being “arrested” or “fined” by Russia’s punitive bodies. The main challenges in this area are the so-called “extremism” countering and permanent hate speech of Russia’s propaganda in the peninsula.

We stressed to the Rapporteur that the key challenges in the Crimea appear for the women who represent the indigenous Crimean Tatar people, who have active social position, for politic prisoners’ family members and for the LGBT representatives. Our submission constanted that Russian de-facto “authorities” ban any independent women social activities in the Crimea, including the protests against the policy that caused water crisis in peninsula, against vaccination by the non-effective Russia-produced drugs, against the limitation the crossing the administrative boundary line with the Ukrainian mainland due to the “epidemic purposes” etc.

ARC reminded to the Rapporteur the case of the Ms. Ludvica Papadoupulu, blogger from Yalta city that was “fined” and persecuted by the Russia’s punitive bodies in 2019-2020 for her posts in the social networks on the ecologic, urbanization and anti-corruption issues, when the Russia’s “officers” used the gender discrimination against this blogger, insulted and blackmailed her exactly as woman.

Our submission points that there is no any possibility for feminism movement in the modern Crimea, occupied by Russia, as the Russian state ideology have grounds on clerical and patriarchal roots and it has a strong part of populism and propaganda. So the feminist ideas are persecuted by the Russia’s “officers” as “too dangerous and independent ones”. And the modern phenomena of Crimean women activism, journalism and women fight for their family members who are the politic prisoners is inacceptable for the Russian de-facto “authorities” in the peninsula.

And in the same time the Russia-controlled media, bloggers and “independent organizations” abuse the freedom of expression in third countries and in the international bodies exactly to justify the gender discrimination in the Crimea. So it is not surprising that Russia’s “authorities” do not provide any administrative, policy, regulatory or other measures in the Crimea to promote and protect women’s freedom of opinion and expression, both online and offline, also as to protect women from sexual and gender based violence and harassment online. As we wrote already to UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, there are no femicide watch or observatory in the occupied Crimea.

Russia’s “authorities” do not have such tasks or activities and as the civil society structures in the Crimea were totally eradicated since 2014, there are no measures including research and studies undertaken to analyse femicide or gender related killings of women and girls, or homicides of women by intimate partners or family members and other femicides. And more, Russia’s punitive system in the Crimea has no practical goal to investigate the crimes against persons, including the femicide cases.

We pointed to Mr. Khan that the ways of influence on above-pointed illegal behavior of the Russia-controlled “authorities” and punitive structures in the Crimea may have forms of decision of international courts and organizations, of sanction policy and on collective interstate negotiation the situation with human rights in the Crimea. Now the Ukraine’s civil society and national human rights institutions gather information on the opressions the freedoms of opinion and expression in the Crimea, on the relevant negative practices and policies of the Russia-controlled “authorities” and punitive structures. But their legal defence efforts have to be supported by the international organizations.

We stressed to the Rapporteur that UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine have in their mandate the research on the situation with the freedom of opinion and expression, also as for gender issues in the Crimea but they do not pay the adequate attention on those issues in their reports. At the same time all the modern Crimea-located internet intermediaries are under full control of Russian “authorities” and Russia block access to key online independent media and all the offline independent media at the peninsula.

So the online and legacy media can not play the adequate role to ensure the rights of Crimean women to free expression and opinion exchange. Our submission points that all independent women journalists in the Crimea are persecuted by the Russia’s punitive bodies, and it mentions the arrests of Lutfie Zudieva and Mumina Saliyeva, activists of the “Crimean Solidarity” public association. We pointed to Ms. Khan the case of journalist of the “ATR TV” channel Gulsum Khalilova, who was declared “internationally wanted” by Russia’s invaders in 2019. ARC pointed on the award of the Crimean Tatar woman, lawyer Lila Gemedzhi, who defends the rights of illegal prisoners, by the Dutch Tulip Human Rights Prize as a good example how the third countries may support the Crimean women – journalists, bloggers and human defenders.