Latvia is concerned about violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea, in particular the rights of national and ethnic minorities, as well as Russia's militarization of the Crimean peninsula.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said this at the ministerial panel discussion "International Response to Human Rights Violations in the Temporarily Occupied Crimea, Ukraine" on February 23.
"The situation with human rights violations in the occupied Crimea, which is constantly worsening, is of particular concern. UN bodies confirm violence, the capture of people, and disappearances in Crimea," Rinkēvičs said.
He stressed that human rights violations among national and ethnic groups in the occupied Crimea are of concern.
"Human rights abuses must be stopped and all those responsible for these actions must be held accountable. All cases of human rights violations in Crimea must be thoroughly investigated," the Latvian minister stressed.
He noted that the growing militarization of Crimea is also of great concern.
"Latvia once again calls on Russia for full and unrestricted access of international human rights observers to the illegally annexed territory," Rinkēvičs said.
He added that the issues of the occupation of Crimea and the human rights situation must remain among the main priorities on the global agenda in the international arena.
In this context, he welcomed the initiative to create the Crimean Platform - a consultative and coordination format for discussing issues of the occupied peninsula.
On Tuesday, February 23, a ministerial panel discussion held on the human rights situation in the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula, on the sidelines of the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
Participants of the event were as follows: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs, Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey Yavuz Selım Kıran, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada Al-Nashif, as well as deputy head of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Nariman Dzhelyal, a journalist Lutfiye Zudieva and a representative of an NGO which focuses on protecting human rights in the peninsula Maria Tomak.
The Crimean Platform is a new consultative and coordination format initiated by Ukraine to improve the international response to the occupation of Crimea and growing security challenges.
The Platform aims to increase international pressure on Russia, prevent further human rights violations, protect victims of the occupation regime, and achieve the goal of de-occupation of Crimea and its return to Ukraine.
The Crimean Platform will operate at several levels: The first is the highest political level, which will be joined by foreign heads of state and government. The second is the level of heads of foreign policy departments and defence ministers; the third is the inter-parliamentary level; the fourth is the level of non-governmental experts.
The activities of the Crimean Platform will be officially launched at the inaugural summit which is planned to be held in Kyiv on August 23, 2021.