Pubic hearing in the European Parliament: Human rights violations in Donbass and Crimea

The situation with human rights in the occupied Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine is getting worse. On 1 December 2015, European Parliament organized a hearing to discuss the situation with prominent NGOs and human rights experts from the region.Simon Papuashvili, International Partnership for Human Rights (Brussels), presented results of the recent studyNew report: Fighting impunity in Eastern Ukraine”.  Both war crimes and crimes against humanity are taking place on the territory of Donbass, stressed Mr. Papuashvili. “Majority of these crimes are committed by the separatists supported by Russia” . Among the persecuted those that are identified as pro-Ukrainian as well as religious groups that do not belong to the Russian Orthodox church. The expert called upon Ukrainian government to properly investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes and on the EU to support this process.  Furthermore, in order to increase coordination between different departments and ministries, Mr. Papuashvili believes it is necessary to create a high-level coordination unit to take charge of this issue. Finally, Ukrainian government should ratify Rome Statues, but international courts cannot replace national justice system.

The second presenter, Ridvan Bari Urcosta, Crimea SOS, described human rights violations on the occupied territory of Crimea. Crimean-born expert stressed that today people on the peninsula experience a full-fledged list of human rights violations. Among them: torture, deprivation of access to basic rights, discrimination and failure to provide adequate living standards, prohibition of peaceful assembly etc. In order to understand the full scale of these violations, Crimea SOS created a map of human rights violations in Crimea. “People are afraid to speak on the phone and even sometimes put likes on Facebook”, said Ridvan Bari Urcosta . Furthermore, most of human rights violations are committed by the so-called self-defence forces in Crimea. When police does not want to dirty their hands, the self-defence gets involved. These forces are unaccountable and they commit the most violations.