Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union strongly condemns the ban of the Mejlis, which can lead to massive persecution of Crimean Tatars

On September 29, 2016, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation denied the appeal lodged by the lawyers of Mejlis on the judgment of the so-called Supreme Court of the occupied Crimea. The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation classified the Mejlis as an extremist organization and banned its activities. Unfortunately, the verdict of Russian justice is expected. 

According to Russian law, anyone who has any involvement in the organization recognized ‘extremist’ might be punished and prosecuted.

The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people is not a civil organization or a political party, it is an executive representative body of the Crimean Tatars, who exercise their right to participate in decision-making on issues concerning their rights through representatives elected in accordance with their procedures according to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Mejlis is elected by the Qurultay (congress) of Crimean Tatars. Over 90 thousand people attended the last elections. This means that the majority of the Crimean Tatars that are eligible to vote participated in the elections of members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People. So based on the false logic of Russia, these people might be prosecuted for the creation and participation in the extremist organization. The ban of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars actually violates Art. 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. It also violates the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association.

Our Russian colleagues, lawyers of the Human Rights Protection Center ‘Memorial’ also expressed their disagreement with the decision of the court of occupied Crimea to ban the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars.\

In addition, we state that the position publicly expressed by representatives of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people on territorial integrity of Ukraine and the recognition of Crimea as a sovereign territory of Ukraine is the official position of the international community, namely the United Nations General Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and almost all states in the world. The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union calls on the international community to tighten sanctions on the country that violates human rights, to promote the implementation of independent international monitoring of the human rights situation in Crimea and to help to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

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