UN General Assembly - Concerns about ongoing militarization of Crimea
A lasting and peaceful solution to the six-year conflict in Ukraine can only be achieved through the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, delegates told the General Assembly today, as they discussed ongoing aggression and human rights violations by the occupying Power in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
SILVIO GONZATO, European Union, condemned all of the Russian Federation’s breaches of international law and welcomed Ukraine’s efforts to seek justice using international legal instruments and courts, including the European Court of Human Rights, arbitration courts and the International Court of Justice. The Russian Federation’s ongoing militarization of the Crimean Peninsula continues to negatively impact the security situation in the Black Sea region and beyond. Under the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation the human rights situation in the region has severely deteriorated. Residents of the peninsula face systematic restrictions of human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, religion and the right to peaceful assembly. The human rights of the Crimean Tatars have been particularly targeted.
In accordance with Assembly resolution 74/168 adopted in December 2019, it is crucial that regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms, as well as non-Governmental human rights organizations, have unimpeded access to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, he said. Journalists, human rights defenders and defence lawyers should be able to work independently and without undue interference and intimidation. The European Union remains firm in its call on all sides to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments in full, in order to achieve a sustainable political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The European Union fully supports the efforts of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group.
“The occupied areas have become a territory of fear and terror,” said Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Vadym Prystaiko, as he updated delegates on the bleak situation in his country. Since 2014, the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation has left 14,000 people dead and over 27,000 wounded, while 2 million residents of Crimea and Donbas have fled their homes and 3.4 million remaining are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Despite 20 recommitments for a comprehensive ceasefire, the Russian Federation has continued its attacks, he said, noting that in January 2020 alone, such attacks killed 11 Ukrainian servicemen and wounded 33 others.
Large-scale violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the occupying Power continue in Crimea, he said, spotlighting discrimination against Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and various ethnic and religious minorities, including Muslims and members of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. International solidarity and the promotion of human rights are the only way to stop such discrimination and aggression.
He stressed the vital importance of the General Assembly as a venue to discuss these violations of international law, given the ability of the Russian Federation to undermine the Security Council’s capacities in that area. “A strong voice of the United Nations General Assembly remains a crucial element of international pressure to make Russia abide by international law and stop its aggression against Ukraine,” he said, highlighting seven resolutions by that organ condemning the Russian Federation’s aggression.
Source: UN Meetings Coverage and Press Releases