Turkish Heritage Organization, an American NGO, on Tuesday organiseda webinar on “Recent Developments in Crimea: Human Rights Violations and Ongoing Militarisation of Crimea.”
Ukraine’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzheppar attended the webinar together with Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Anton Korynevych.
The event opened with introductory remarks from the event moderator, Bill Clifford, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of America.
Other participants of the event was; Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip T. Reeker and Senior Research Fellow, Director of the Brooking’s Institute Arms Control Program, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer, representatives of international organisations, the US accredited diplomatic corps and leading American political think tanks.
Ambassador Reeker shared the gravity of the details and developments happening in Crimea, and reinforced the American support for Crimea through the policies set forth by the Secretary of State and condemning the rise of aggression and interventions from Russia in this region.
During the discussion, Emine Dzheppar presented the Crimean Platform initiative aiming to advance the de-occupation of Crimea and keep the Crimean issue among the priorities of the international agenda.
She drew attention to recent developments in the temporarily occupied Crimea with the focus on militarization and human rights violations on the peninsula.
The First Deputy Minister emphasised that Russia’s military build-up on the occupied peninsula and systematic violations of the freedom of navigation in the Azov and Kerch maritime area is a threat not only for Ukraine, but also for the entire region of Eastern Europe, Balkans, and Mediterranean states. She noted that Russia has increased its military capacity in the peninsula more than twice since the beginning of the occupation of Crimea.
The diplomat also informed on specific cases of human rights violations in Crimea by Russia as an occupying power, namely the persecution of activists and journalists, illegal detentions, oppression of religious communities, and forcing Ukrainians into Russian citizenship.
She also focused on cases of illegal business activities in the occupied Crimea by certain foreign companies, as well as on the illegal expropriation of Ukrainian property by the Russian occupation administration. In this regard, the First Deputy Minister condemned the “sale” of shares of an illegally expropriated Ukrainian state enterprise “Massandra Winery”.
Dzheppar further informed the event participants on the activities of Ukrainian diplomacy and its international partners within international organisations, particularly in the context of the UN General Assembly resolutions on the militarisation of Crimea and the human rights situation.
Throughout the conversation, Ambassador Steve Pifer reaffirmed the role of the United States and the incoming Biden administration to support those in Ukraine and Crimea to combat the interference and further rise of Russia.
Further in the conversation, Anton Korynevych highlighted many aspects of the realities of human rights issues happening in the region to accompany background and perspective shed from both Ambassador Pifer and Emine Dzheppar.