Russia has committed “grave” human rights violations in Crimea since it annexed the territory in 2014, according to a new UN report.
“Grave human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and torture, and at least one extra-judicial execution were documented,” the report said. The UNHCR, was has been denied entry to the region since it was taken over by Russia three years ago, relied on interviews and fact-finding missions to compile the report.
At least 3 people have died from mistreatment at the hands of the security services while 10 others have gone missing after being arrested. The report found that Crimean Tatars have been most affected by the clampdown on human rights with limitations imposed on their right to express their culture and identity. Journalists, bloggers and Pro-Ukrainian activists have also been detained. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 shortly after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych had been overthrown by protesters in favour of closer ties with the West. Russian laws and citizenship were then imposed on the people of Crimea, in violation of the Geneva Convention. “This has resulted in regressive effects on the enjoyment of human rights, particularly for those who refused to automatically adopt Russian Federation citizenship, were ineligible to obtain it, or were required to forfeit their Ukrainian citizenship in order to remain employed,” the report said. The report found that the Ukrainian language has all but disappeared from Crimean schools. The court system has “often failed to uphold fair trial rights and due process guarantees” since the Russian system has been applied in the region and thousands of prisoners have been transferred to Russian prisons and Siberian penal colonies.
The annexation of Crimea has caused a deep rift between Russian and NATO, both of whom have increased their combat readiness in Eastern Europe while accusing the other of heightening tensions.