Today, Mustafa Jemilev, Leader of Crimean Tatars, Riza Shevkiyev, Director of the Crimea foundation, and Gayana Yuksel, Chief Editor of QHA website, met with Kees van Baar, Dutch Human Rights Ambassador and Minke van der Sar, Policy Officer for Ukraine.
Refat Chubarov, Mejlis Chairman, was scheduled to attend the meeting but could not make it due to having to be at the Parliament where a motion on giving Crimean towns and villages Crimean Tatar names was being debated.
Kees Van Baar, Human Rights Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, began his address by saying how important human rights are for the Dutch people.
“For the Netherlands human rights is a very important element in its foreign policy. Actually, it’s one of the three pillars of its foreign policy together with prosperity and security. In our foreign policy on of human rights we focusd on support freedom of expression, including freedom on Internet, freedom of religion, human rights and business, most severe violations of human rights – torture and mass atrocities – and also human rights in conflicts . And we have our priorities, our human rights defenders - women and LGBT,” said Kees van Baar.
After more than an hour-long discussion of the situation in Ukraine and Crimea, the Dutch Ambassador told a QHA correspondent about the goal of his visit and support his country has been giving to Ukraine.
“For me the visit here, in Ukraine, in general, is to see what the developments are in Ukraine, to see what Ukraine is doing. We will have a referendum in the Netherlands on the 6th of April. Our government signed for the Association with the European Union and Ukraine and we would like to support Ukraine to become a free, democratic society - all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea. And I was here to hear from the Mejlis, as well as what the situation is in Ukraine and also the situation for Crimean Tatars because it’s a special group, it’s a minority. How they are being treated, say, in Ukraine and in Crimea,” said the Dutch Ambassador.
More than 20 years ago, the Dutch helped a Crimean Tatar library in Crimea. The Netherlands are one of the countries which have always supported such culture initiatives.
In an interview with QHA, Mustafa Jemilev spoke about the questions he and the Dutch Ambassador covered during their personal meeting. He also shared his opinion about the referendum due to be held in the Netherlands on April 6, on the outcome of which Ukraine’s future will depend.
“The Dutch Ambassador talked about bright perspectives Ukraine has. At the referendum, he will be reporting on the situation in Ukraine, and more specifically, on the situation in Crimea. That is the reason why the Dutch guests asked so many questions about freedom of speech, religion and so on. We have not discussed any specific projects, since they are only collecting information now,” Mustafa Jemilev said.
After the end of the meeting, Mustafa Jemilev, on behalf of all Crimean Tatars, gave the Dutch Ambassador a ceramic plate adorned with a Crimean Tatar ornament. Kees Van Baar was really impressed with the plate’s bright colors and thanked everybody for the warm welcome. He also wished that the future of all Ukrainian peoples, including that of the Crimean Tatars, was just as bright as the plate’s colors.