Statement of Crimea Human Rights Field Mission on reformatting its activities

Kyiv, 9 September 2015 – The Crimea Human Rights Field Mission issued a statement on changing the format of its work amid new threats and challenges.

Over the past few months, the Crimea Human Rights Field Mission (CFM) has faced new threats, challenges, and obstacles emanating from both Russian and Ukrainian authorities, complicating the implementation of independent monitoring and protection of human rights on the Crimean peninsula.
First of all, it refers to the fact that CFM was put on the so-called "patriotic stop-list" of the Russian Federation Council. On 7 July 2015, the upper house of the Russian parliament submitted to the Prosecutor General, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs a proposal to declare those in the "stop-list" as "undesirable" in Russia. Adding the Crimea Field Mission to this list of "undesirable organizations" may result in criminal prosecution of CFM members and those who interact with it.
At the same time, on 4 June 2015, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a resolution No.367, regulating the entry to and exit from Crimea and containing an exhaustive list of grounds on which foreign nationals may be issued a special permit to enter Crimea. Among these reasons, there are no human rights, legal or journalistic activities. This severely limits further work of human rights defenders, lawyers, and journalists, who are not citizens of Ukraine, in Crimea.
Despite these threats and challenges, the Crimea Field Mission continues its activity, drawing attention to human rights violations in Crimea, stressing the importance of adherence to international standards in this area and the inadmissibility of obstructing the work of human rights defenders and journalists gathering information about human rights violations on the Crimean peninsula.
Over the past 18 months, the Crimea Field Mission has been the only international human rights initiative, constantly monitoring and documenting human rights violations on the peninsula. Now, CFM welcomes the launch of new human rights initiatives working to protect human rights in Crimea - Crimean Human Rights Group and Human Rights Field Centre - and is ready to contribute to their advancement and development.
In connection with the above threats as well as professional development and segmentation of activities, CFM changes the structure and format of its activity and will operate primarily in cooperation with these new associations and organizations of the "Initiative Group for Human Rights in Crimea" coalition.
CFM continues to insist on the necessity of constant and, above all, international presence in Crimea for the purposes of advocacy and appeals to international intergovernmental organizations, whose mandate is to protect human rights (especially the UN, OSCE, and Council of Europe), to provide such presence and effective protection of human rights for the residents of the Crimean peninsula.
The Crimea Human Rights Field Mission is supported by the "Democratization and Human Rights in Ukraine" project, implemented by UNDP and funded by the Ministry of Foreign affairs of Denmark. Supported by a coalition of 15+ human rights organisations from Ukraine and Russia, CFM has become the only independent and most comprehensive source of information about human rights violations in Crimea. Since Crimea occupation in March 2014, CFM has prepared and disseminated reports on human rights violations on the peninsula on a monthly basis.