Russian state agents behind 'grave violations' in Crimea

Former Georgian President and former Ukraine official Mikheil Saakashvili Credit AP

Former Georgian President and former Ukraine official Mikheil Saakashvili Credit AP

Russian Federation violates the rights of annexed Crimean peninsula residents with impunity, a United Nations report published on Monday states, citing arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances and torture. "I think it's a plainly absurd situation when the mission for human rights in Ukraine assesses a situation in the constituent territories of Russian Federation".

The report reiterates that the imposition of Russian citizenship affected tens of thousands of people, particularly three groups: those who formally rejected citizenship; civil servants who had to renounce their Ukrainian citizenship or lose their jobs; and Crimean residents who did not meet the legal criteria for citizenship and became foreigners. At least three detainees who were moved to a prison in Adygea, a republic in the Western Caucasus, died after failing to receive medical treatment for serious health conditions.

"The citizenship issue has had a major impact on the lives of many residents of Crimea", High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a press release.

According to global law, the OHCHR classifies Crimea as a temporarily-occupied territory, which implies that, Ukrainian laws should continue to apply in the region. "Among other implications, this led to the arbitrary implementation of Russian Federation criminal law provisions created to fight terrorism, extremism and separatism, which have restricted the right to liberty and security of the person and the space for the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms". "Pressure from some teaching staff and school administrations to discontinue teaching in Ukrainian language has also been reported", the document says.

Thousands of Crimean residents have refused to live under Russian rule and fled to the Ukrainian mainland.

As a result, they based their assessments on the findings of a human-rights monitoring mission that was set up in Ukraine in 2014 and that has been following developments in Crimea.

"OHCHR documented 10 cases of persons who disappeared and are still missing", reads a report by OHCHR for the period from February 22, 2014 to September 12, 2017, which was published on Monday.

Russian Federation has also illegally extended its laws into Crimea and applied them arbitrarily against opponents of the annexation, the report adds. "Education in the Ukrainian language has nearly disappeared from Crimea", it adds, highlighting numerous impacts across civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Along with the UN General Assembly, the US, the European Union and Turkey do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

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