UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) condemns Russia's systemic repressive policies including against media, educational and religious institutions.
This was stated at the 12th UNESCO information meeting on the situation in the occupied Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which held online on Wednesday.
The meeting was attended by First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar, UNESCO Assistant Director-General Firmin Edouard Matoko, representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Amnesty International and UNESCO member states.
Member states issued joint statement
During the event, 30 UNESCO member states issued a joint statement condemning the Russian occupying administration's repressive practices in Crimea.
The statement condemned Russia's systemic repressive policies against media freedom, persecution of journalists, restrictions on access to religious institutions, and the militarization of educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Delegations are concerned about reports of illegal archaeological excavations, harmful conservation works and the illegal transfer of cultural property.
UNESCO member states called on Russia to ensure unhindered access of international human rights mechanisms to the territory of Crimea.
The statement also emphasized that UNESCO should continue to be guided by the provisions of UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/262 “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine” of 27 March 2014.
Dzheppar briefed on the situation
First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar spoke about the continuing deterioration of the situation on the occupied peninsula.
Dzheppar thanked the countries that supported the decision of the 210th session of the UNESCO Executive Board in January this year to continue UNESCO's monitoring of the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
"She drew attention to the destruction of the World Heritage sites, human rights violations and oppression of national minorities, restrictions on freedom of religion, suppression of independent media, violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian-occupation administration," the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine informs.
The diplomat pointed out the demographic changes carried out by the Russian occupation-administration through the resettlement of Russian citizens to the Crimean Peninsula, discrimination against Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities, and the systematic violation of their linguistic and cultural rights.
UNESCO members were invited to participate in Crimean Platform
The First Deputy Minister invited UNESCO member states to participate in the Crimean Platform summit and called on the organization to make a practical contribution to the implementation of the objectives of this international coordination mechanism.