COPENHAGEN (QHA) -

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly called on the Russian Federation to cancel the ban on the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, reads a statement published on the organization's website.

Thus, according to OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Human Rights Chair Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal), the decision to classify the Mejlis to extremist organizations that pro-Russian court has made in annexed Crimea is a new level of discrimination of the Crimean Tatars and should be abolished.

“Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the de facto authorities there have waged a systematic campaign of discrimination against the Crimean Tatars, using accusations of ‘extremism’ to justify this repression,” Santos said in a statement. 

She noted she sees no extremism in an ethnic minority defending its civil, political and linguistic rights, the Mejlis engaged in.

“The Mejlis is guided by principles of non-violence and its ban by an illegitimate court is yet another violation of fundamental freedoms on the Crimean peninsula,” Santos stressed.

The statement says that the OSCE is concerned about such a step made by the Crimean government towards the criminalizing the Crimean Tatars as an ethnic group, and calls to cancel it. 

“I call for a reversal of this decision so that the Mejlis is able to continue its important work,” she said.

It was reported earlier that Natalia Poklonskaya, Kremlin-appointed "Prosecutor of Crimea" announced on April 13, 2016 her decision to suspend activities of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars in Crimea pending a court ruling. 

April 15, 2016, a court hearing in the Mejlis ban was adjourned until 25 April. One of the reasons was the absence of the Mejlis Deputy Chairman Nariman Jelal.

April 18, 2016, the Russian Ministry of Justice has put the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people on the list of public and religious organizations banned “due to their extremist activities.” This action has been condemned by Ukraine, a number of international organizations and human rights defenders.

On April 26, the Russia’s court in Crimea delivered a verdict in the Mejlis case, recognizing it an extremist organization and banning its activities in Russia, including Crimea. 

The Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov said that the international organizations, including the United Nations, will respond to the Russia’s banning of the Mejlis by taking relevant actions in the coming days. He also noted that due to the illegal Russia’s court decision, the representative body of the Crimean Tatar people will carry out its activities in Kyiv, where a Special Council is being implementing, which includes Mustafa Jemilev, Leader of the Crimean Tatars, Refat Chubarov, Mejlis’s Chairman and 8 Mejlis members.

Nariman Jelyal, Mejlis First Deputy Chairman, said at the court hearing on April 26 that international organizations, such as the UN, the OSCE, the Turkish government, the United States and the European Union expressed their support for the Mejlis.

Photo: Internet

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