Our Association sent submission to the professor Felipe González Morales, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants on issue of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic on the migrants’ rights. We reminded to the Rapporteur that after the attempted annexation of the Crimea by Russia tenth of thousands of Crimean residents displaced to the Ukraine’s mainland and got the statute of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), or resettled to the third countries as refugees, migrants or asylum seekers. But as we pointed now in our submission, the level of violation the IDPs and other Crimean’s rights increased when Russia’s de-facto “authorities” established in 2020 additional limitations for the crossing the administrative boarding line (ABL) between the Crimea and Ukraine’s mainland. They banned some times, fully or partially, as exit for Crimean residents from Crimea “to Ukraine” so the entrance to the Crimea for Ukrainian citizens from other regions of this state.
We pointed to Dr. Morales that Ukraine provided free masks and the COVID-19 testing in 2020 and free vaccination in 2021 for Crimean residents crossing the checkpoints “Kalanchak” and “Chongar” on the ABL with the Crimea. But Russia banned the vaccination the Crimean residents in the Crimea by any internationally certified vaccine and it makes the forcibly vaccination of them by Russian non-certified “Sputnic” COVID-19 vaccine. “ARC” stated in the submission that IDPs in the Ukraine’s mainland have the access to any medical services on the places of their de-facto residing on the same level as local inhabitants. But in the Crimea Ukrainian citizens who did not get the “passport of Russia” or the “residence” and the “special allowance” have no access even to those too limited medical services that are available in the peninsula to the “Russian citizens”. As Russia’s de-facto “authorities” banned, squelched or made impossible all the independent civil society structures’ activities in the Crimea since 2014, the help of the NGOs to the vulnerable Ukrainians in the Crimea is impossible, also as the help them from the international organizations that are banned by Russia to visit and operate in the Crimea.
“ARC” stressed in the submission that all Russian policy and measures “to minimize health risks associated with the COVID-19” by blocking the visits of Crimean residents to the Ukraine’s mainland and of IDPs and other Ukrainians to the Crimea are not and can not be effective as in the same time Russia’s de-facto “authorities” organized in 2020-2021 the mass visits of Russian tourists to the Crimea (more than one million on the summer-2020), lawless colonization of the Crimea by own citizens (more than sixty thousands of Russian were resettled to the Sevastopol only in 2020) and massive military trainings (more that twenty thousands of Russian soldiers were re-dislocated from Russia to the Crimea only in first half of 2021). We reminded to Dr. Morales that Russia’s de-facto “authorities” in the Crimea did not take any actions to prevent and address racial discrimination, hate speech, xenophobia and related intolerance faced by persons displaced to and from Crimea, including the COVID-19 context. More, the racial discrimination of ethnic Ukrainians and indigenous Crimean Tatars in the Crimea, including IDPs now is the subject to consideration in the International Court of Justice.
“ARC” stressed in the submission that measures of Russia’s “authorities” in the Crimea to limit the crossing the ABL were disproportional and brutally violated the Ukrainian citizens’ human rights and fundamental freedoms. They are not effective and may be qualified as part of Russia’s social “iron curtain” and militarization policy in the peninsula. While limiting the crossing the ABL for Ukrainian citisens, Russia’s “authorities”, closely related with criminal groups in area of trafficking, at the same time take part in or cover the transfer to the Crimea working migrants from Russia, first of all in area of the illegal housing construction. So, as we pointed to the UN Rapporteur, all those processes are totally lawless even “regarding the Russian legislation”, implemented illegally in the Crimea, so there are no “regularization programs” or “long-term solutions” in the peninsula for the migrant issue in conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So it is not surprising that Russia’s “authorities” did not have “COVID-19 socio-economic response and recovery plan” and do not use the human rights-based approach in pandemic-related issues, do not use the human rights and gender-sensitive indicators in this area. The only way to make effective influence on Russia on those issues is the UN and other international structures’ decisions and regarding decisions of the international courts. So, as we pointed to the UN Rapporteur, Russia’s “authorities” do not protect the human rights of Crimean population, including IDPs, in the COVID-19 context. Such “powers” violate brutally their right to health, housing, education, information, social protection, basic services, safe and dignified return and sustainable reintegration.