On November 19, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine released the Briefing Paper “Social Housing in Crimea” . As it is pointed in the Paper, following wide-spread “nationalization” of Ukrainian state, municipal and private property in Crimea, in 2016 the Russian “authorities” initiated a retrospective “review of the lawfulness” of the allocation of social and other state-provided housing to Crimean residents prior to the occupation. In addition, all tenants living in social housing in Crimea on the basis of lease agreements, concluded pursuant to Ukrainian legislation, were required to enter into new “social lease contracts” under Russian law. These measures adversely affected Ukrainian citizens living in Crimea.
During 2016-2019, based on the abovementioned “review”, Russian “authorities” in Crimea initiated at least 73 “court” proceedings to evict tenants who had been residing in social and other state-provided housing long before the occupation. Forty-five of these “cases” concerning 78 individuals (28 men, 41 women, 9 children: 6 boys and three girls) ended with “eviction orders”. In addition, in 30 other cases, 35 Crimean tenants (16 men, 17 women and two children) had to initiate “cases” against the Russian “authorities” for refusing to offer them a “social lease agreement” under Russian law. The “court” dismissed their claims, leaving those involved at risk of receiving “eviction orders”.
The Briefing Paper points that, n violation of international human rights law, “courts” retroactively applied provisions of Russian housing laws when assessing the legality of the allocation of state-provided housing, declined to apply the statute of limitations usually applicable in such cases and failed to engage in any analysis of whether the eviction was proportionate and in pursuit of a legitimate aim. In all of the cases reviewed, there were no instances of victims being provided with compensation or alternative housing. In the Briefing Paper the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights calls on the Russian “authorities” in Crimea to respect the right to adequate housing of all Crimean residents and ensure that access to social housing is consistent with the principle of non-discrimination.