Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 23.12.2018
Late on December 22, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution urging the Russian Federation as an occupying power to end human rights violations and restore fundamental freedoms in Crimea. This comes after the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on December 17 urging the Russian Federation to withdraw its military forces from Crimea and restore freedom of navigation in the Sea of Azov.
The latest UN rebuke to the aggressor state, the Russian Federation, is a resolution called “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine.” It was adopted by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 64 in favour to 27 against, with 70 abstentions.
The human rights resolution just adopted is the third one passed in the UN since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine in 2014. The language used in this one is the strongest yet, thanks to effective Ukrainian diplomacy with the support of over 30 like-minded democratic nations. The UN “Situation of human rights in Crimea” resolution confirms that territory cannot be captured by force, that the Russian Federation’s so-called ‘annexation’ of Crimea must not be recognized by UN member states, and that the Russian Federation must return the occupied territories.
The UN calls for the release of all Ukrainians who are illegally detained in occupied Crimea and in the Russian Federation. It specifically names three of these captives as political prisoners: Sakharov Prize laureate and filmmaker Oleg Sentsov; farmer and Ukraine loyalist Volodymyr Balukh; and Crimean Tatar human rights activist Emir-Usain Kuku.
The Russian occupation regime in Crimea deprives the people who live there of their Ukrainian citizenship and forces upon them Russian citizenship. This is condemned by the UN. Compelling Ukrainian citizens to serve in the Russian army is condemned, as are illegal so-called “elections” that have been held on the de jure territory of Ukraine for foreign, Russian offices such as President of the Russian Federation.
The resolution appeals to the Russian occupation authorities to refrain from criminalizing freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Crimea. People must not be punished if they obey Ukrainian law and respect United Nations resolutions by saying the Russian Federation’s occupation of Crimea is illegitimate.
The peninsula of Ukraine on the Black Sea has an official designation that now will be used by all UN international organizations and specialized agencies. It is “The Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine, temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation.”
27 UN member states sided with the invader-occupier of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and voted against protecting human rights in Crimea: Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Cambodia, Chad, China, Comoros, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Burma, Nicaragua, the Russian Federation, Serbia, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
The Russian Federation invaded Ukraine in February 2014. Over 11,000 Ukrainians have been killed by Putin’s War. Around 1.7 million Ukrainians have been made homeless and jobless by the Russian invasion of their country and have become Internally Displaced Persons. The abuse of human rights in Crimea and in part of Donbas is horrific. Corrupt Russian officials commit war crimes and crimes against humanity daily on territory occupied by the Russian Federation in Ukraine. The war in Europe will only end when Crimea and Donbas are liberated. Only then will human rights violations stop and fundamental freedoms be restored.