Plight of Crimean Tatars "biggest concern": Nils Muiznieks

2 October 2014 06:32
(QHA) -

The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights, Nils Muiznieks, says his "biggest concern" in Ukraine is the plight of Crimean Tatars who have remained in Crimea since it joined Russia in March.

Muiznieks made the remarks to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on October 1, RFE/RL reports.

He said security for ethnic Tatars in Crimea "has been shattered by a series of raids by armed, masked security personnel in religious institutions, schools, Tatar-owned businesses, private homes," and the community’s assembly, the Mejlis.

Muiznieks said the raids -- ostensibly "to search for weapons or so-called extremist literature" – are "completely disproportionate" for a community that has no history of violence.

He said internally displaced Ukrainians remain "vulnerable," with receptions that differ widely depending on where they have settled.

The UN says 350,000 internally displaced Ukrainians are from the country’s east and 18,000 are from Crimea.

Crimean seceded from Ukraine and was annexed by Russia in March,  move that is recognized illegitimate by Kyiv,EU and U.S.