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Regarding abductions and violation of access to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea occupied by the Russian armed forces
11 March 2014 12:05

                    PRESS-RELEASE                                                  March 11, 2014

An unprecedented number of blatant violations of human rights, disregard for the Constitution of Ukraine and international law are taking place recently in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, occupied by Russian troops and their accomplice paramilitary forces.

The Russian Federation , acting through the puppet self-proclaimed Crimean authorities, as well as through its armed forces illegally stationed in Crimea, is solely responsible for rude infringement of the rights and freedoms of civilians, in particular the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, honour and dignity of human life and health.

Thus, journalists are exposed to constant moral and psychological pressure trying to objectively cover events in Crimea, to provide accurate and unbiased information to the citizens of Ukraine and the international community about the events on the peninsula, especially about military presence of the Russian armed forces in Crimea and the deliberate actions of the Russian Federation aimed at further destabilizing the situation.

Representatives of the Ukrainian and foreign media are constantly obstructed with restrictions of freedom of movement across the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, they are  exposed to direct threats and even aggressive enforcement actions, beatings and robberies, including by armed groups supported by the self-proclaimed authorities of Crimea.

The names of the individuals and journalists who oppose the attempts of Russia to annex Crimea and voice opposition to unlawful decisions of the illegitimate Crimean officials are put on special lists as unreliable people, their photos and other personal data are put on display in the Internet social networks and on the information boards calling for the brutal reprisals against them.

 

However, thanks to their courageous work the data on mass violation of human rights in Crimea break through the barrage of misinformation that is spread in the media by Russia, overcoming obstacles created by forceful blockade of the direct access to Crimea.

International observers who come to Ukraine for impartial monitoring of human rights violations in Crimea are not allowed into the territory of the Autonomy or are forced to leave the peninsula.

On 5 March the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General Robert Serry was forced to leave Crimea. In addition, four attempts by the OSCE observers to get to the Crimean peninsula resulted in failure, they were not allowed through improvised checkpoints guarded by armed individuals and there were warning shots made by armed persons.

The Ukrainian military unites are also experiencing constant pressure from the Russian armed forces.

Violent kidnapping of journalists, public activists and members of the armed forces of Ukraine is becoming a common practice.

On March 9, 2014 at checkpoint at the entrance to Crimea from the Kherson region two groups of journalists and public activists were detained whose whereabouts is still not known. Before there were also attacks carried out against journalists of TV channels “1+1”, “STB”, “Channel 5”, “Inter”, “HromadskeTV”, representatives of news agencies and their foreign counterparts. On March 9, 2014 in the city of Bakhchisarai a commander of one of the Ukrainian troops has been kidnaped. And that's not all examples of kidnappings and violence committed against civilians by the Russian aggressors.

Forced disappearances undermine the fundamental values of any society which respects the legitimacy of human rights and freedoms. Moreover, systematic exercise of such acts is recognized as crime against humanity by the international community.

There should be a clear legal assessment of the actions of those who for the sake of satisfying their pragmatic interests under the guise of humanitarian slogans actually systematically destroy democratic achievements of the Ukrainian society, try to create a dangerous precedent that threatens not only the state sovereignty of Ukraine, but also regional stability.

It is regrettable that in this situation the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, instead of exercising is regular international functions, assumed the mission of systematic disinformation, sowing unfounded fears among their own citizens and creating a biased picture of the events in Ukraine, in particular regarding alleged “lawlessness” in the eastern regions of Ukraine, that have nothing to do with reality.

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