Our Association sent the submission for the UN Network on Racial Discrimination and Protection of Minorities for the development of the Network`s programme of work for the period 2022-2023. This UN Network brings together over 20 UN Departments, Agencies, Programmes and Funds, all of which have identified focal points for the minorities` protection purpose. “ARC” reminded to the UN Network that minorities’ and indigenous peoples’ human rights violations in the Crimea are now subject to consideration in international courts, including the International Court of Justice (case 166 Ukraine v. Russia) and the European Court of Human Rights (case 20958/14 and others).

In case 166 International Court researches exactly the issue of the violation the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by Russian de-facto “authorities”, by limiting the education on Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages in the Crimea, by “ban” the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, by hate speech usage against Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Russian “official” and Russia-controlled media in the Crimea. European Court established in its Decision on 16 December 2020 in case 20958/14 that such administrative practices against certain ethnic groups exist in the Crimea since 2014, including the suppression of the Ukrainian language in schools and harassment of Ukrainian‑speaking children, discrimination the Crimean Tatars.

So our Association welcomed the provisions of draft the Network Work Plan 2021+ devoted to the countering racial discrimination and protection of minorities in times of crisis, strengthening protection of minorities in security, peacekeeping and the protection of civilians in conflict-affected settings, with Security Council resolution 2475 (2019) and affiliated work as a possible model in this regard. In this framework “ARC” reminded to the UN Network that the Crimean Tatar activists, including old persons with disabilities become victims of enforced disappearances in the occupied Crimea, of the discrimination in their social and cultural rights, and they are hostages of the Russia-controlled punitive structures in the places of non-freedom.

Our Association stressed that the relevant regional organizations’ representatives like OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine must be engaged, also as Red Cross movement structures, representatives on international judicial bodies where the relevant cases are pending, representatives of minorities’ and indigenous’ organizations from conflict zones. Alas the OSCE structures now have no access to the Crimea and other occupied territories of Ukraine due to Russia’s illegal policy and our Association condemns this situation. Racial discrimination and other illegal treatment with Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and other groups in the Crimea, committed by Russian de-facto “authorities”, contribute and exacerbate situation of Ukrainian-Russian conflict giving rise to instability, conflict or crises on the regional and global levels. So it is directly connected with the tackling racial discrimination and strengthening protection of minorities in areas of criminal justice and law enforcement, taking note the systematic above-pointed repressions in the Crimea against ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars as against the allegedly “extremists” and “terrorists”.

“ARC” pointed to the UN Network that the Russia’s occupying “authorities” runs a policy of ethnic discrimination, cultural erasure, social hatred and division, combined with predatory exploitation of the natural resources of the Crimea without paying attention to the rights and needs of indigenous peoples and other ethnic groups. The occupational regime is characterized by systematic injustice, endemic corruption, neglect of human rights, massive persecution of those ethnic groups, whom the occupying “powers” considers its “rivals”, including the Crimean Tatar People. Our Association systematically brings the attention of the UN bodies and agencies, to the situation in the Crimea, including the transitional justice issues for ethnic groups, with a strong background of our experts’ publications in this area.  So “ARC” pointed to the UN Network that the issues of transitional justice for the ethnic groups might be a key part of the relevant Network Work Plan 2021+ measures.