On the eve of the third anniversary of the temporary Russian occupation of Crimea, the European Parliament is drafting a powerful resolution, which is to draw the world's attention to the violation of human rights in the occupied peninsula. March 16, the European Parliament is expected to vote for its adoption.
Interestingly, four political groups developed their draft resolutions on the Crimea at the same time. All the authors without exception categorically condemn the actions of the Russian Federation to seize the peninsula, underscoring the terrible humanitarian consequences that arose following annexation of 2014. The draft calls for the release of all political prisoners arrested during the three-year occupation period by Russian law enforcement agencies over the human rights activities. The European Parliament requires the Russian authorities to open a list of detainees / arrested / missing persons to understand the holistic picture of the processes taking place on the peninsula during the last three years. Repeated references to the names of activists, who suffered as a result of the occupation, indicate that Europe is not ready to compromise with Russia over Crimea.
The key provisions of the resolution make it quite powerful from a political and legal points of view:
- Support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine;
- Confirm the condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia as a violation of international law, as well as international treaties and bilateral agreements to which the Russian Federation is a party;
- Confirm the occupied status of the Crimea and the status of the Russian Federation as an occupation authority on the territory of the peninsula;
- Confirm the full support for a convincing and consistent policy of non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea;
- Unequivocal condemnation of various forms of human rights violations on the territory of Crimea, first of all the Crimean Tatar community, as well as illegal persecution and imprisonment of citizens of Ukraine by Russia for political reasons;
- Require the Russian Federation to immediately release all illegally detained and imprisoned citizens of Ukraine on the territory of Russia and the occupied Crimea;
- Call for the Russian Federation to provide unimpeded, unrestricted and free access to the peninsula for representatives of international organizations and NGOs working in the field of human rights protection; Support Ukraine's initiatives in the UN;
- Address to the resolutions of the UN General Assembly "Territorial Integrity of Ukraine" (2014) and "Status with human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol (Ukraine) (2016) and consider their provisions;
- Appeal for the extending the EU personal sanctions against persons responsible for human rights violations in the Crimea;
- Request to study the issue of initiating an international negotiation format for the de-occupation of Crimea with the participation of the EU;
- Strong remind of the demand for the Russian Federation to immediately repeal the decision to ban the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, which is a gross violation of his rights;
- Confirm the maintenance of all previous resolutions of the EP on Ukraine and Russia, in particular on human rights in the Crimea, Crimean Tatars and citizens of Ukraine, who are illegally retained by Russia.
A separate important element in the resolution is the call to the Russian Federation to ensure access of international human rights organizations to the peninsula, to carry out assessment of human rights situation in the ARC. It refers to the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, who is directly responsible for monitoring the Russian implementation of the Convention on Human Rights Protection. Torture and ill-treatment of public activists and human rights activists, especially Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians, did not go unnoticed in Europe. It gives grounds to assert that there is really no statute of limitations on the crimes the Russian Federation committed in the Crimea.
It is quite symbolic that the adoption of the resolution on the Crimea by the European Parliament takes place almost immediately after the hearings at the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague on the application of the preventive measure in the case of Ukraine against the Russian Federation. If adopted, the resolution will significantly strengthen Ukraine's position in this process.
Repeated references to UN General Assembly resolutions on the Crimea indicate that the world community gradually forms a single "Crimean file". This process is not fast, but what's important is that it continues. The noose around the neck of the occupying Russian government is getting tighter.
Speaking about the negative. Judging by the analysis of draft resolutions, it seems that some of the EP members try to bind the issue of political prisoners of the Crimea to the Minsk process and the exchange of hostages held by illegal armed groups in Donbas. However, such a position is unlikely to find support among the majority of deputies, since the EU's sanctions policy is divided into two independent processes - on the occupation of Crimea and on Russia's military aggression in Donbas.
Therefore, despite this negative moment, it is clear that no one is going to forget the Crimean tragedy.
Vladimir Denisyuk, Senior Analyst of the Ukrainian Council on Foreign Relations (for QHA)