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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on on the cases of Crimean Tatar Leaders Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov and journalist Mykola Sermena

3.10.2017 - (2017/2869(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Javier Nart, Petras Auštrevičius, Marietje Schaake, Urmas Paet, Pavel Telička, Louis Michel, Frédérique Ries, Nathalie Griesbeck, Jasenko Selimovic, Gérard Deprez, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Marian Harkin, Dita Charanzová, Cecilia Wikström, Ivan Jakovčić, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Robert Rochefort, Martina Dlabajová, Valentinas Mazuronis on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0545/2017

Postup : 2017/2869(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on on the cases of Crimean Tatar Leaders Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov and journalist Mykola Sermena


The European Parliament,

-having regard to the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, on the one part, and Ukraine, on the other;

-having regard to its previous resolutions on Ukraine and on Crimea, on the European Neighbourhood Policy, on the Eastern Partnership and in particular its resolution of 21 January 2016 on the Association Agreements and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and the resolution of 4 February 2016 on the human rights situation in Crimea, the resolution of 12 May 2016 on the Crimean Tatars and the resolution of 16 March 2017 on the Ukrainian prisoners in Russia and situation in Crimea;

-having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP);

-having regard to the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War;

-having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262 of 27 March 2014 entitled ‘Territorial integrity of Ukraine’ and to the UN General Assembly Resolution 71/205 of 19 December 2016, entitled ‘Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)’

-having regard to the “Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements” adopted and signed in Minsk on 12th February 2015 and endorsed as a whole by the UN Security Council resolution 2202 (2015) of 17th February 2015; (S&D);

-having regard to the report ‘Situation of human rights in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)’ by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, published on 25 September 2017;

-having regard to the Council decisions continuing the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation in relation to the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula;

-having regard to the ruling of the so-called Crimean Supreme Court of 26 April 2016, which found the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People to be an extremist organisation and banned its activity in the Crimean peninsula;

-having regard to the ruling of the so called Crimean Supreme Court of 11 September 2017, sentencing the Deputy Chair of the Mejlis, Akhtem Chyigoz, to eight years of imprisonment for "organizing mass disturbances" in February 2014;

-having regard to the sentencing of journalist Mykola Semena on 22 September 2017 to 2 and a half years of prison, accompanied by a ban on future journalistic activities;

-having regard to the sentencing of Ilmi Umerov on 27 September 2017, to 2 years of penitentiary colony detention, for the alleged crime of ‘separatism’,

-having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure;

A.whereas the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation is illegal and in violation of international law and European agreements signed by both the Russian Federation and Ukraine, notably the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Budapest Memorandum and the 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between Ukraine and the Russian Federation;

B.whereas during the duration of annexation the Russian Federation is to be held responsible for the protection of the people and citizens of Crimea, through the de-facto authorities present in the region;

C.whereas there are numerous and credible reports of increased abuses of human rights in Crimea, not the least against representatives of the Crimean Tatars and against journalists, media workers and against those that speak up against the Crimean de facto authorities or against the Russian Federation; whereas the Russian Federation authorities have failed to effectively investigate most allegations of human rights violations in Crimea;

D.whereas the space for civil society to operate in Crimea has considerably been diminished, as media outlets have been shut down, disproportionately affecting the Crimean Tatar community, their right to information and their right to maintain their culture and identity;

E.whereas the recent court rulings show that the judicial system is being instrumentalized as a political tool to repress those opposed to the Russian annexation, and that the courts are unable to uphold the rule of law and abide by Russia`s own domestic legislation;

1.supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders and reiterates its condemnation of the illegal annexation of the autonomous Republic of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation; fully supports the decision of the EU and its Member States not to recognise the annexation and the restrictive measures taken in this respect; deplores the subsequent decision of the Russian authorities to give all inhabitants of Crimea Russian passports;

2.reminds the Russian authorities that despite the illegality of the annexation of Crimea, Russia is, in a de-facto capacity, fully responsible for the protection of Crimean citizens from arbitrary judicial or administrative measures; emphasises the urgent need for accountability for human rights violations and abuses; reminds the Russian Federation, as an occupational power in effective control over Crimea bound by the international humanitarian law and international human rights law, of its obligation to ensure the protection of human rights in the peninsula and calls on the Russian authorities to grant unimpeded access to Crimea for international institutions and independent experts of the OSCE, the United Nations and the Council of Europe; calls on the Ukrainian authorities to simplify the procedure for foreign journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers to be granted access to the peninsula;

3.condemns the discriminatory policies imposed by the so-called authorities against, in particular, Crimea’s ethnic Tatar minority, the recent harsh sentences against them following dubious court proceedings and questionable charges, the infringement of their property rights, the increasing intimidation of this community and of those that oppose the Russian annexation and the lack of the freedom of expression and association in the peninsula; considers that the rights of the Crimean Tatars have been gravely violated through the banning of the activities of the Mejlis and strongly reiterates its call for the immediate reversal of the related decision and its effects, the evocation of the recent court rulings and the immediate release of those detained;

4.condemns the prevailing practice of transfers of detainees to distant regions of Russia, as this severely hinders their communication with their families and human rights organisations; underlines that this practice is in breach of Russian legislation in force, in particular Article 73 of the Criminal Enforcement Code, according to which sentences should be served in the region in which the convicts reside or in which the court sentence was handed down;

5.calls on European Court for Human Rights to accept all applications for redress from Crimea with the highest priority possible, as the Russian domestic judicial system cannot provide legal remedies in these cases;

6.calls on the EEAS and the EU delegation in Russia to closely follow the on-going trials and to pay attention to the treatment of those detained; expresses particular concern over reports of punitive psychiatric treatments being used; expects the EU delegation, EEAS and Member States’ embassies to closely follow these proceedings and to seek access to those detained, before, during and after their trails;

7.calls on the EEAS to identify the Crimean and Russian officials directly responsible for charging and sentencing Akhtem Chyigoz, Mykola Semena and Ilmi Umerov and include them into the current list of individuals who face the EU’s restrictive measures of travel ban and freezing of bank assets;

8.calls on the European Union's Special Representative for Human Rights to pay continuous attention to the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula; underlines the overall need for the European Union to play a more visible, effective, pro-active role in promoting a lasting peaceful solution;

9.condemns the repression of independent media outlets representing minority communities and urges the Russian authorities to refrain from placing legal and administrative obstacles on their operation;

10.calls for EU support for Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar media projects for Crimea as well as those initiated by European Endowment for Democracy and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as well as in defence of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar schools and other initiatives to protect their cultural heritage;

11.underlines that further restrictive measures can be imposed on individuals responsible for gross human rights violations; including the freezing of assets in EU banks and travel bans; reiterates its support for the EU’s decision to prohibit imports from Crimea, as well as for export of certain goods and technologies, investment, trade and services in Crimea;

12.underlines that there can be only a political solution to the conflict and reiterates its call for the Minsk agreements to be fully implemented, as recently recalled by the members of the Normandy contact group President Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel, noting that both parties have failed to deliver on their promises and that there has been no significant progress in achieving a political solution to the conflict;

13.instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President/High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Member States, the President of Ukraine, the governments and parliaments of Ukraine and of the Russian Federation, the Parliamentary Assemblies of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.