UCC Condemns Continuing Repressions in Russian-occupied Crimea
Calls for Canada to immediately act to sanction Russian human rights abusers
November 23, 2017. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) strongly condemns the latest round of political repressions perpetrated by the Russian occupation regime in Crimea against the indigenous Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian population.
Earlier today, several Crimean Tatar activists had their homes searched and were illegally detained. The Government of Canada must move swiftly to implement sanctions against the Russian officials responsible for these attacks on the human rights of Ukrainian citizens.
“Today’s attack on Crimean Tatar activists by the Russian security services in occupied Crimea underscores the necessity for Canada to move immediately to implement wide-ranging sanctions against Russian officials responsible for these human rights violations,” stated Paul Grod, National President of the UCC. “The perpetrators of these crimes have names. They are judges, prosecutors, politicians, security services and officials of a criminal occupation regime that systematically violates the rights of Ukrainian citizens. Canada must make it clear that these violations cannot be committed by Russian authorities with impunity.”
During the searches, carried out by Russia’s FSB, 82-year old Vedzhie Kashka, a veteran activist of the Crimean Tatar national movement, fell ill. She died in the ambulance.
The Ukrainian Canadian community extends its sincere condolences to the Crimean Tatar People on the terrible news of the death of Crimean Tatar leader Vedzhie Kashka. May Her Memory Be Eternal. Вічная Пам’ять.
Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, stated, “Activists of the national movement Bekir Degermenji, Kurtseit Abdullayev, Asan Chapukh, Ruslan Trubach and Kazim Ametov have been detained. […] Later, we received news from Crimea about the death of a veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement, the legendary Vedzhie Kashka, who became ill during a search of her home. Vedzhie Kashka died in the ambulance. Analysis of the information coming from Crimea indicates a large-scale special operation conducted by the FSB of Russia in occupied Crimea, the goals of which are the arrest of more activists of the national movement and compromising the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People.”
Over a month ago, S-226, the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) became the law of the land in Canada. The Act provides “for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” The law allows Canada to target foreign officials who are responsible for human rights abuses and corruption by implementing asset freezes and travel bans against them.
The Government of Canada has at its disposal the tools to sanction Russian officials responsible for the violations of human rights of Ukrainian citizens. Over 40 Ukrainian citizens have been illegally deported to and imprisoned in Russia. A regime of terror has been instituted by Russia in occupied Crimea and the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in order to repress any opposition to the illegal occupation and to force the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian population to leave Crimea.
In a report published on November 14, Human Rights Watch stated, “Russian authorities in Crimea have intensified persecution of Crimean Tatars, under various pretexts and with the apparent goal of completely silencing dissent on the peninsula. […] Since Russia’s occupation began, Russian authorities and their proxies have subjected members of Crimean Tatar community and their supporters, including journalists, bloggers, activists, and others to harassment, intimidation, threats, intrusive and unlawful searches of their homes, physical attacks, and enforced disappearances. Complaints lodged with authorities are not investigated effectively. Russia has banned Crimean Tatar media and organizations that criticized Russia’s actions in Crimea, including disbanding and proscribing the Mejlis, the Crimean Tatar self-governing highest executive body.” The full report is available here: Crimea: Persecution of Crimean Tatars intensifies