Jährlicher Bericht des US-Außenministeriums zur Lage der Menschenrechte in der Ukraine (Krim) und die Reaktion des russischen Außenministeriums
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015: Ukraine (Crimea)
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Ukraine is a republic with a semi-presidential political system composed of three branches of government: a unicameral legislature (the Verkhovna Rada), an executive led by a directly elected president and a prime minister chosen through a legislative majority, and a judiciary. The country last held presidential and legislative elections in May 2014 and October 2014, respectively; international and domestic observers considered both free and fair. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control over security forces. Authorities did not have control over security forces in the eastern part of the country controlled by Russian-backed separatists and in Russian-occupied Crimea.
The most significant human rights developments in the country during the year were:
First, separatists, supported by Russian military and civil officials, continued to control parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions by force of arms, as self-proclaimed “people’s republics.” The United Nations reported that, as of November 15, more than 9,000 persons had died and approximately 18,000 had been wounded as a result of Russian aggression in these regions, including civilians, members of the Ukrainian armed forces, and Russian-backed separatists, since fighting began in 2014. More than two million persons have fled the region. Separatists systematically engaged in abductions, torture, and unlawful detention. To a lesser extent, there were also reports of these practices by government forces. Separatists also employed child soldiers and restricted humanitarian aid. Additionally, the government imposed restrictions on freedom of movement. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) faced difficulties obtaining legal documents, education, pensions, and access to financial institutions and health care.
Second, in Crimea, Russian occupation authorities committed numerous human rights abuses, targeting ethnic and religious communities, particularly Crimean Tatars, as well as independent journalists and anyone perceived as opposing the Russian occupation regime. Russia’s occupation of Crimea displaced more than 20,000 Crimeans.
Third, the country suffered from corruption and deficiencies in the administration of justice. Human rights groups and the UN noted there were few investigations into human rights abuses committed by security forces. In particular, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and Ministry of Internal Affairs operated with impunity. Corruption in the Prosecutor General’s Office and the judiciary was of particular concern.
Other problems reported during the year included abuse of persons in custody, in particular beatings and alleged torture of detainees and prisoners; harsh conditions in prisons and detention facilities; societal violence against women and abuse of children; societal discrimination against and harassment of ethnic and religious minorities; trafficking in persons; discrimination and harassment against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. There also were limitations on workers’ right to strike; forced labor; and failure to enforce effectively labor laws and occupational safety and health standards for the workplace.
The government generally failed to take adequate steps to prosecute or punish most officials who committed abuses, resulting in a climate of impunity. Investigations into the 2014 Euromaidan shootings in Kyiv and riots in Odesa remained incomplete more than a year later. Investigations into human rights abuses related to the Russian occupation of Crimea and the conflict in the Donbas region were also incomplete. Although the country is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, in September the government granted jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court (ICC) under Article 12(3), which allows nonmembers states to grant authority to the ICC to investigate crimes against humanity committed on their territory.
Neither Russia nor Russian-backed separatists conducted investigations of the above-mentioned human rights abuses in Crimea or separatist-controlled areas. (…)
A local authority installed by the Russian government and led by Sergey Aksyonov as “prime minister” of the “state council of the republic of Crimea” administered Occupied Crimea. The “state council” was responsible for day-to-day administration and other functions of governing. In September 2014 Russian occupation authorities held “parliamentary elections” in which only Russia-based political parties won seats. Authorities closed the election to independent observers; it was not free and fair and was held in contravention of the Ukrainian constitution. Russian authorities maintained control over Russian military and security forces deployed in Crimea.
During the year security services worked to consolidate control over Crimea and continued to restrict human rights by imposing repressive federal laws of the Russian Federation on the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
The most significant human rights problems in Crimea during the year related directly to the Russian occupation:
First, Russian security services engaged in an extensive campaign of intimidation to suppress dissent and opposition to the occupation that employed kidnappings, disappearances, physical abuse, and deportations. Russian security forces routinely detained individuals without cause and harassed and intimidated neighbors and family of those who opposed the occupation.
Second, Occupation authorities deprived certain groups, in particular Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, of fundamental freedoms, particularly regarding expressions of nationality and ethnicity, and subjected them to systematic discrimination. Continuing their policy of imposing Russian citizenship on all residents of Crimea, occupation authorities subjected persons who refused Russian citizenship to discrimination in accessing education, health, and employment. These authorities interfered with the rights to expression and assembly, criminalizing the display of cultural and national symbols, preventing groups of private individuals from celebrating their national and cultural heritage, and restricting access to education in the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages.
Third, Russian authorities engaged in a widespread campaign to suppress free speech and media in Crimea. They refused to register Crimean media and news organizations, preventing them from operating legally. In particular, Russian authorities denied ATR television and the QHA Crimean News Agency licenses, forcing them to close. Security services also detained and abused journalists and threatened them with prosecution for opposing the occupation.
Other problems included poor conditions in prisons and pretrial detention facilities; political interference in the judicial process; limitations of freedom of movement; the internal displacement of thousands of individuals to mainland Ukraine; failure to allow residents of Ukraine’s region of Crimea to exercise the ability to vote in periodic and genuine elections to choose their leaders; official corruption; discrimination and abuse of ethnic and religious minority groups; discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons; kidnapping and transport of orphans to Russia by occupation authorities; and employment discrimination against persons who did not hold a Russian passport.
The Russian-installed authorities took few steps to investigate or prosecute officials or individuals who committed human rights abuses, creating an atmosphere of impunity and lawlessness. Occupation and local “self-defense” forces often did not wear insignia and committed abuses with impunity (…)
Comment by Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov on the US Department of State’s report regarding the 2015 human rights situation in the world (14. April 2016)
In relation to the US Department of State’s publication of an annual report on the human rights situation in the world, we have to state that, as before, this document is presented in an unacceptable mentoring and didactic manner and is based on ideological clichés, labels and politicised, biased assessments.
There is only so much trite insinuations one can take about alleged authoritarianism and the hermetic nature of the Russian Federation’s political system. Incidentally, we cannot recall a situation where the US President has regularly spent several hours on live television answering dozens of questions on the most different current topics from Russian and international media and from his countrymen.
The report’s claims about the “Russian occupation of Crimea,” which stubbornly ignore the free vote by the residents of the peninsula, are clearly a political put-up job. We have repeatedly pointed out to the Americans that the assertions about the “worsening” of the human rights situation in Russian Crimea have no leg to stand on. It is only someone who does not want to see who can be so blind to substantial progress in the development of this multiethnic Russian region, including in the human rights area, by contrast with the disastrous situation in this regard that exists in Ukraine.
One cannot but be surprised by the claim that Russia is to blame for thousands civilian casualties in Donbass. It is common knowledge that the humanitarian and human rights disaster in Ukraine is the doing of the US-controlled Ukrainian authorities and radical nationalist groups in the wake of the unconstitutional coup in Kiev. Instead of bringing, at long last, real pressure to bear on the Ukrainian authorities to stop large-scale crimes and human rights violations in Ukraine and punish the real perpetrators of grievous crimes, including those who set fire to the Trade Union House in Odessa, there is only idle chatter.
Against this background, the State Department’s appeals to free Oleg Sentsov sentenced to a prison term for preparing a series of explosions in Crimea and artillery controller Nadezhda Savchenko, both found guilty of grievous crimes by Russian courts, are absolutely out of place and sound on the verge of interfering in Russia’s internal affairs. Moreover, this is nothing else than an attempt to justify terrorism and the killing of journalists.
In addition, the assertions that the authorities in Russia are “fomenting Russian nationalism” are not only groundless but also hypocritical, particularly in the face of Washington’s endless statements, including at the top level, regarding “America’s exceptionalism.”
As for allegations about continued human rights violations committed by the Russian law enforcement agencies, including in North Caucasus, they do not hold up against criticism and look bleak against the background of the crying, proven, and still uninvestigated facts of torture and inhuman treatment by the US special services in Guantanamo and CIA secret prisons. The special isolation unit on Cuba, which still functions despite Barack Obama’s election promises, is where Russian citizen Ravil Mingazov has been kept for 13 years without charges, along with dozens of other prisoners. There are other Russians confined to US penitentiaries, who, in violation of their legitimate rights, are often imprisoned in America solely for criminal “intent” that has not been duly proved.
It is high time the US authorities remove their spectacles befogged with anti-Russian stereotypes, stop deriding the real state of affairs in the human rights area in Russia, and at last get down in earnest to addressing a vast number of serious problems related to human rights, democracy and rule of law in the US itself.
To mend America’s stained image in the world, it would not be out of place for them to muster up the strength and stop forcing on sovereign countries unpopular ultimatums of the US democratic patterns. We hope that the US realizes this and joins the constructive international effort to find adequate responses to really important and common challenges in the human rights area.
Von der Aussetzung der Tätigkeit zum Verbot des Medschlis des Krimtatarischen Volkes auf der Krim (13.–26. April 2016)
Crimea: Ban on ethnic Crimean Tatar assembly aimed at snuffing out dissent (13. April 2016)
Today’s decision to suspend the Mejlis, a representative body of ethnic Crimean Tatars in Crimea, demolishes one of the few remaining rights of a minority that Russia must protect instead of persecute, said Amnesty International.
The decision—announced by the de facto prosecutor of Crimea, Natalia Poklonskaya—signals a new wave of repression against Crimean Tatar people. It comes after increased attacks to the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine two years ago.
“Anyone associated with the Mejlis could now face serious charges of extremism as a result of this ban, which is aimed at snuffing out the few remaining voices of dissent in Crimea,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia. “The decision to suspend the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and ban all its activities under Russia’s anti-extremism legislation is a repugnant punitive step denying members of the Crimean Tatar community the right to freedom of association.”
The de facto authorities have increasingly targeted those who oppose the annexation of Crimea or are suspected of being pro-Ukrainian in the days before and after Russia’s formal takeover on 18 March 2014. Most of the vocal critics have left the peninsula, including two Crimean Tatar leaders who have been barred from returning.
Earlier the de facto Prosecutor of Crimea asked the Supreme Court of Crimea to suspend the Mejlis as an extremist organization. Central to the Prosecutor’s arguments for the requested ban are statements made by exiled Mejlis leader Refat Chubarov, who refuses to recognize the legality of the Russian annexation of Crimea and is calling for an economic and energy blockade of the peninsula from mainland Ukraine.
“The suspension of the Mejlis makes the fate of those members of the Crimean Tatar community who have remained in Crimea even bleaker as they are now at even greater risk of intimidation, harassment and criminal prosecution,” said Denis Krivosheev. (…)
Statement by the Spokesperson on suspension of Mejlis activities of the Crimean Tatars (14. April 2016)
Yesterday’s decision by the so-called prosecutor of Crimea to suspend the activities of Mejlis, a self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, is extremely worrying and constitutes a grave attack on the rights of the Crimean Tatars. This decision, taken in the context of the on-going court case aiming at banning its activities as an extremist organisation, must be reversed immediately.
The EU has consistently reiterated its concern about the deterioration of the human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula since its illegal annexation by the Russian Federation in 2014, including as regards the persecution of persons belonging to minorities. The EU reiterates its call for full compliance with international human rights standards and other obligations under international law.
Secretary General Jagland: statement on the decision by the Prosecutor in Crimea to suspend the Mejlis (14. April 2016)
Responding to the decision by the Prosecutor in Crimea to suspend the Mejlis, Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said:
“I strongly urge that no action is taken to restrict the Mejlis’s activity or to label it extremist. The Mejlis must be able to continue its activities in Crimea. The human rights mission I sent to the peninsula in January raised this issue and I immediately expressed my concern to Foreign Minister Lavrov. This situation is urgent and, as our recently published human rights report makes clear, banning the Mejlis would discriminate against the whole Crimean Tartar community and is therefore unacceptable.”
The Secretary General today issued a report on the situation of human rights in Crimea.
Justizministerium der Russischen Föderation
Am 18. April 2016 wurde der Verein »Medschlis des Krimtatarischen Volkes« in die Liste der gesellschaftlichen und religiösen Vereinigungen aufgenommen, deren Tätigkeiten wegen Ausübung extremistischer Aktivitäten ausgesetzt sind.
Der Verein wurde auf Grundlage der Entscheidung des Staatsanwalts der Republik Krim über die Aussetzung der Tätigkeit des Vereins in die Liste aufgenommen.
Crimea: Commissioner urges a reversal of the ban on the Mejlis (26. April 2016)
“I am very concerned about today’s court decision in Crimea to ban the Mejlis by declaring it to be an extremist organisation. As the highest representative body of the Crimean Tatars, the Mejlis is indissociable from their aspirations to reestablish themselves in the peninsula after decades of exile during the Soviet era.
Concerns have also been expressed that a very wide range of persons associated with mejlis structures at the local level could be exposed to possible criminal prosecution, as the local mejlis bodies would themselves fall within the ambit of the ban.
The Mejlis is an important traditional and social structure of the Crimean Tatar people. Equating it with extremism paves the way for stigmatisation and discrimination of a significant part of the Crimean Tatar community and sends a negative message to that community as a whole.
I strongly urge a reversal of this ban in the interests of human rights protection and social cohesion on the peninsula.”