On August, 2021 our Association submitted the responses to the questionnaire of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, for his forthcoming report to be presented at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council. Our submission was devoted to the situation of with freedom of peaceful assembly and association in the Crimea.

Association pointed in the submission that the influence of the military crises, such as Russian-Ukrainian conflict is crucial for the realization the right to peaceful assembly and association for Crimean residents. Illegal attempted annexation of the Crimea by Russia in the framework of the Ukrainian-Russian conflict is the main source of the negative impact on assemblies and other human rights, stressed the ‘ARC’.

Ukraine as State passed the application to the European Court of Human Rights and Ukrainian NGOs, including our Association, give active aid to victims of the illegal punishment for the peaceful assembly and association, including the cases of the illegally banned members of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and local mejlises before the European Court, of the Ukrainian Independent Maritime Trade Union and Foundation of Research and Support the Indigenous Peoples of Crimea in the Ukraine’s courts and in the international structures. As Russia covered the Crimea by own legislation in areas of assemblies and organizations illegally and as it established own “courts” and “police” in the peninsula acting regarding those “norms”, there is no practical possibility to use any human right defense mechanisms in the modern Crimea, stressed the ‘ARC’.

Association pointed to UN Rapporteur that limitation by Russia the possibility to cross the administrative board line between the Crimea and Ukraine’s mainland made strong negative impact on assemblies and on the other relevant human rights. 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, or resettled to the third countries as refugees, migrants or asylum seekers. Manipulations, made by Russia in areas of “countering the extremism” and “fighting with terrorism ideology” in the Crimea made strong negative impact on assemblies and other relevant human rights also.

Submission also reflected the negative impact of the floods in the Crimea, that happened in June 2021 on right to assemblies and other relevant human rights also. We pointed that such disaster was caused by the weak and ill policy of Russia’s “authorities” in city planning, wastes management and water management made negative impact. We reminded to the UN Rapporteur that the climate justice activism, including the peaceful assemblies and associations, is impossible in the modern Crimea. Russia’s “authorities” banned the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People in 2016 and since 2014 they banned and punished hundreds of persons, who tried to hold the meetings, including the meetings against the Russia’s water policy in the Crimea. We pointed in the submission that Crimean residents tried to collect signatures against Russia’s “authorities” ill water management in 2020 in Simferopol and against water desalination station’s construction in Yalta, that the organisers of those signatures’ collection were “fined” illegally by the invaders’ punitive structures.

 Association pointed in the submission that the common ways of restriction the civil activism in the Crimea is a total ban the meetings and NGOs, the illegal fines against its participants and organisers and the oppressions the civil activists and bloggers, who highlight the climate changes and water crisis issues, including arrests, raids and “criminal proceedings”. In 2020 Yalta public activist Ludvika Papadopulu got some “police” raids to her flat, related with her ecologic and human rights publications [1]. In 2021 Russia’s “authorities” proclaimed the “criminal proceeding” on “international terrorism” and “extremism” against some Ukrainian activists and bloggers, including our Association’s members who reflected the negative impact of Russia’s policy on the water crisis in the Crimea [2].

Indigenous Crimean Tatar People has its representative body, Mejlis, in Crimea with a system of local mejlises. They all were banned by Russia’s “authorities” in 2016 as “extremist structures” and now this indigenous people has no any practical possibility to make any influence on the Russia’s industrial, social and military policy that caused the water crisis in the Crimea in the climate changes situation [3]. The abovementioned examples of repressions by the Russia’s “authorities” (“criminal proceeding” against Ukrainian activists Ihor Lutsenko and Borys Babin, raids against Ludvika Papadopulu, “fines” against members of meetings against water policy in Yalta and Simferopol) show how Russia’s “authorities” violate systematically the civil rights, including right to assembly and meetings trying to hide the negative impact of Russia’s policy on the water crisis in the Crimea in the climate change situation.

As we pointed in our submission, COVID-19 pandemic made strong negative impact on assemblies and other relevant human rights also [4]. We informed the Rapporteur that Russia’s “authorities” in Crimea did not take action to prevent and address racial discrimination [5], hate speech, xenophobia [6], and related intolerance [7] faced by persons displaced to and from Crimea, including in the COVID-19 context. Racial discrimination of ethnic Ukrainians and indigenous Crimean Tatars in Crimea, including internally displaced persons is now subject to consideration in the International Court of Justice [8].

We stressed in the submission that Russia violated the right to freedom of movement by systematic blockade of all three checkpoints used to enter and exit Ukraine’s mainland due to “COVID-related quarantine measures”. All Russian policies and measures “to minimize health risks associated with the COVID-19” [9] by blocking the visits of Crimean residents to Ukraine’s mainland [10] and of displaced persons and other Ukrainians to Crimea [11] are not effective even potentially, since in 2020-2021 the Russia’s “authorities” organized mass visits of Russian tourists to Crimea (more than one million in the summer-2020) [12; 13], the resettlement of own residents to Crimea (more than sixty thousands of Russians have been resettled to Sevastopol alone in 2020) [14], and by massive military trainings (more that twenty thousands Russian soldiers were re-dislocated from Russia to Crimea only in the first half of 2021) [15]. So measures of Russia’s “authorities” in Crimea aimed at limitation of crossing the administrative line were disproportional and bluntly violated human rights and fundamental freedoms of the citizens of Ukraine.

We pointed to the UN Rapporteur that the systematic economic, social and political crises, crises of poverty and inequality also make strong negative impact on the Crimean residents’ right to assemblies and other relevant human rights also. The real figures of unemployment rates and poverty levels in the modern Crimea are unknown, but some groups of local residents are systematically discriminated by Russia’s “authorities” in issues of employment and labour for their ethnic origin and often for “absence of the Russia’s citizenship” [16]. Russian “authorities” did not provide any institutional mechanisms to gather disaggregated data to allow for in-depth analysis of human rights and social and economic development enjoyment across different population groups, including minority groups in the occupied Crimea [17].

Also our submission stressed that racial discrimination of the ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars by Russia’s “authorities” in the Crimea [18] made strong negative impact on right to assemblies and other relevant human rights also. We reminded to UN that Russian “authorities” do not realize any policy or program approaches in the Crimea to protect the human rights of ethnic groups [19]. Their relevant acts have the propagandistic role only and are the tools of total embezzlement of relevant costs by the de-facto “authorities” and related criminal groups [20]. Actions of the Russian “authorities” are the main reason for the inequalities based on ethnic, religious, linguistic or national identity in relation to social and economic development and the participation of Crimea’s ethnic groups [21]. Russia bans any independent monitoring visit to the Crimea for the international organizations and independent legal defenders and human rights’ non-governmental structures [22].

We reminded to UN officers in submission that the Russia’s “authorities” spent “budget money” allegedly for support the “national cultural autonomies” in the Crimea but those funds are totally embezzled via fake organization like “Cossacks’ unions” or “autonomies” of some Russia-loyal and Russia-controlled diasporas. But the Crimea’s indigenous peoples, ethnic Ukrainians and traditional ethnic minorities in the Crimea have no any practice influence on the planning and realizing the “budgetary allocations” and get no funding from it [23]. And, as we pointed in our report, some other type of crisis may be pointed, that made strong negative impact on right to assemblies and other relevant human rights in the Crimea also. It is the informational crisis when the propaganda [24], fake news [25] and hate speech [26] from the Russia-controlled structures in the Crimea have the human rights as a first-level goal for the destruction.

Association reminded to the Special Rapporteur that his visit to Ukraine, including Crimea would contribute to collection of information, and would enable the Rapporteur to make a first-hand impression of the situation with rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in this region. Also we recommended to UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine to monitor more actively the issues of in the Crimea and human rights’ violations done by the Russia’s “authorities” regarding to this issue.

1. https://arc.construction/5735

2. https://tass.ru/politika/11272139

3. https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/166/166-20191108-JUD-01-00-EN.pdf

4. https://arc.construction/17171

5. https://arc.construction/11306

6. https://arc.construction/15537

7. https://arc.construction/5788

8. https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/166/166-20191108-JUD-01-00-EN.pdf

9. https://arc.construction/1537?lang=ru

10. https://arc.construction/5037?lang=ru

11. https://arc.construction/12003?lang=ru

12. https://arc.construction/15317?lang=ru

13. https://arc.construction/1239?lang=ru

14. https://www.blackseanews.net/read/176965

15. https://arc.construction/12823?lang=ru

16. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Slavery/SR/ReportHRC48/CSOs/ARC.pdf

17. https://arc.construction/13999

18. https://arc.construction/17035

19. https://arc.construction/17035

20. https://arc.construction/15073?lang=ru

21. https://arc.construction/15537

22. https://arc.construction/16135

23. https://arc.construction/15154

24. https://arc.construction/7943

25. https://arc.construction/5881

26. https://arc.construction/15657