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

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

Elena Valenciano, Victor Boştinaru, Soraya Post, Tibor Szanyi on behalf of the S&D Group

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

Procedură : 2017/2869(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the cases of Crimean Tatar leaders Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov and journalist Mykola Semena


The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on Ukraine and Russia, and especially those of 4 February 2016 on the human rights situation in Crimea, in particular of the Crimean Tatars, of 12 May 2016 on the Crimean Tatars, as well as of 16 March 2017 on the Ukrainian prisoners in Russia and the situation in Crimea,


- having regard to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine of 27 March 2014, affirming the commitment of the International community to the sovereignty, political independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and to the United Nations General Assembly resolution 71/205 on the “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine)” of 19 December 2016, recognising the Crimean peninsula as Ukrainian territory temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation,


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


-having regard to the international humanitarian law and, in particular, to its provisions on occupied territories and the treatment and protection of civilians,


- having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson on recent developments in Crimea of 11 September 2017, regarding the so called “Supreme Court” of Simferopol sentence against the Deputy Chair of the Mejlis, Akhtem Chyigoz,


- having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson on the sentencing of journalist Mykola Semena of 22 September 2017,


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


- having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson on the sentencing of Crimean Tatar leader and Deputy Chair of the Mejlis, Ilmi Umerov, of 27 September 2017,


- having regard to Rules 123 and 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A.whereas between February and March 2014 the Russian Federation has illegally annexed the Crimean peninsula and, since then, has exercised effective control over this Ukrainian territory;

B.whereas numerous credible reports, including the most recent by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, offer witness of the increased abuses of human rights in Crimea, affecting representatives of the Crimean Tatars, journalists, media workers, bloggers and simple people who speak up against the Russian occupation or just try to document the atrocities of the de facto authorities;

C.whereas abductions, enforced disappearances, as well as the use of torture and cruel and degrading treatment in detention facilities have been reported in various cases; whereas torture has been used to obtain false evidence of guilt; whereas these allegations have not been appropriately investigated to date;

D.whereas the Russian occupied forces have failed to prosecute and ensure accountability of human rights violations and abuses affecting Crimean residents and more in particular Crimean Tatars; whereas, on the contrary, the Russian authorities and the de facto authorities of Crimea misuse the anti-extremism legislation in order to target individuals and organisations who express publicly their opinion about the occupation status of Crimea; whereas, in this context, Crimean Tatar institutions and organizations, including their self-governing body, Mejlis, have been branded as “extremists” and prominent members of this community are arrested or risk to be arrested as “terrorists”;

E.whereas the row of persecution of Crimean Tatar leaders continues and independent voices are being increasingly oppressed; whereas on 11 September 2017 the Crimean Tatar leader Ahtem Chiygoz received an eight years sentence in prison for stirring up mass disorder by calling street demonstrations in February 2014 against the staged referendum; whereas on 22 September 2017 a so-called “court” in the Russian-held Crimea charged the journalist Mykola Semena of separatism and decided a two and a half year suspended sentence; whereas on 27 September 2017 the Deputy Chair of Mejlis, Ilmi Umerov, received two years imprisonment sentence on similar grounds and for stating in a live TV program that sanctions should force Russia to get back to the borders of beginning 2014; whereas also a simple Ukrainian citizen, the farmer Volodymyr Balukh, has been sentenced to three years and seven months imprisonment for openly expressing allegiance to Ukraine and respect for its national flag and heroes;

1. Unconditionally condemns the ban of the activities of the Mejlis and the persecution of its leaders and prominent members; reiterates that the EU and the international community do not recognize the annexation of Crimea in violation of international law and the imposition of the Russian rule through the de facto local authorities; considers their oppressive acts as illegal and a clear infringement of the human, civil, political and cultural rights of Crimean Tatars;

2. Denounces the sentences against Ahtem Chiygoz, Mykola Semena, Ilmi Umerov, and all other convictions on the same grounds, as breaches of the international humanitarian law and calls for their immediate reversal;

3. Calls on the Russian Federation and the de facto local authorities to immediately cease the practices of persecution, to effectively investigate all cases of human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment of detainees, as well as to respect the fundamental freedoms of all residents, including the freedoms of expression, religion or belief and association and the right to peaceful assembly;

4. Strongly discourages the prevailing practice of transfers of detainees to distant regions of Russia, as this severely hinders their communication with their families and friends, and the following of their wellbeing by 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 for unhindered access of international human rights observers to the Crimean peninsula and for the establishment of independent monitoring mechanisms; supports the initiatives led by Ukraine with a view of addressing these issues within the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly; calls on the EEAS, the EU delegation in Russia, and the European Union's Special Representative for Human Rights to pay continuous attention to the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula and to keep the Parliament informed;

6. Calls on the European Commission to support projects and exchanges aimed at improving people-to-people contacts, as well as those promoting peace-building, conflict resolution, reconciliation and intercultural dialogue, including within Crimea; encourages the avoidance of bureaucratic obstacles and encourages more flexible approaches that will allow easier access of international observers in the peninsula, including parliamentarians, with the agreement of both Kiev and Moscow and without this being ironically interpreted as recognition of the annexation;

7. Reiterates its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine and fully supports the determination of the EU and its member states not to recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, including through the restrictive measures taken in this respect; underlines that further sanctions can be imposed if international law and human rights violations persist;

8. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States, the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation and the President, Government and Parliament of Ukraine, as well as the Council of Europe, the OSCE, and the United Nations.