KYIV (QHA) -

The occupation power in the Crimea intensifies the persecution of the Crimean Tatars in order to silence dissent on the peninsula, according to the statement of the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch.

“Russian authorities in Crimea have relentlessly persecuted Crimean Tatars for their vocal opposition to Russia’s occupation since it began in 2014. They have portrayed politically active Crimean Tatars as extremists and terrorists, forced many into exile, and ensured that those who choose to stay never feel safe to speak their mind," Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch Hugh Williamson noted.

The organization stressed that from the very moment of the occupation, Moscow subjected the indigenous population, as well as journalists, bloggers, activists and others, to harassment, intimidation, threats, intrusive and illegal house searches, physical attacks and enforced disappearances.

According to human rights activists, these cases of lawlessness are not being investigated effectively.

Reference: The Russian Federation occupied the Crimea in February-March 2014, calling the rigged referendum on March 16 "the will of Crimeans about joining the Russian Federation." Most of the countries of the world did not recognize Crimea as Russian and imposed a number of economic sanctions.

For Ukraine, the Crimea remains a temporarily occupied territory. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine officially declared February 20, 2014 the beginning of the temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia. October 7, 2015, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed the relevant law.

Immediately after the annexation in the Crimea, mass persecution began against the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians disloyal to the new "authorities".

Source: Human Rights Watch

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