Overcoming Russia's ban on entering Crimea for Crimean citizens of Ukraine

30 January 2015, Kyiv - As announced at a press conference, human rights defenders use the term 'deportation' to describe Russian authorities' ban on entering Crimea for Crimean citizens of Ukraine. Mr. Ismet Yuksel and Mr. Refat Chubarov fell victims of such ban and were unable to return home to their family and friends without any legal justification. 

Refat Chubarov, Chairperson of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, calls on world leaders not to overlook the problem, which repeats the tragedy of 1944: "After 70 years, a devilish wheel of Moscow terror, which tore out its people of Crimea and disfigured several generations of Crimean Tatars in exile, broke into the Crimean land again, bringing new deaths, humiliation, and massacre. But it is still not too late to make a difference."
Human rights activists strongly believe the deportation of Refat Chubarov and Ismet Yuksel from Crimea is a sanction for their open civil position that disapproves the annexation of Crimea by Russia. The consequences of such actions are serious violations of the right to private and family life.
Ismet Yuksel, Chief Coordinator of the "Crimean News" Agency, says that the reason for the entry ban to Crimea was his proximity to Mustafa Dzhemilev, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people, and Refat Chubarov, Chairperson of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. "An important reason was also my socio-political position, based on respect for the sovereignty of any state and opposition to interference in its internal affairs, as well as my professional activity related to news coverage on Crimea in various media," said Mr. Yuksel.
Currently, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union supports two strategic cases on entry ban to occupied Crimea for representatives of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people – Ismet Yuksel and Refat Chubarov. The application was prepared and submitted to the European Court on Refat Chubarov's case. The case of Ismet Yuksel is considered by the Russian court, and the defendant is the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, which banned the entry.
Arkadiy Bushchenko, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, said that the government of the Russian Federation did not provide any substantiated evidence that these persons, for example, represent a threat to security, public order, or public health. Moreover, victims of deportation from Crimea were not even provided with the written statement, explaining the reasons of the entry ban. All legal requirements for obtaining these statements are being ignored by Russia.
Valeria Lutkovska, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that the actions of authorities of the occupied territories concerning the Crimean Tatar people demonstrate focused, consistent, and systematic ethnic discrimination. This, in particular, is proved by Crimean Tatars abduction and murder cases, which are not properly investigated by Russian law enforcement agencies; introduction of the ban on peaceful assembly for Crimean Tatars; entry prohibition to Crimea for Crimean Tatar leaders. "I have repeatedly appealed to the influential international organizations with a proposal to create a special international mission for continuous monitoring of human rights and freedoms in Crimea, especially of minorities," said the Ombudsperson of Ukraine.
Ms. Lutkovska also emphasized that the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and other acts of international law, which the Russian Federation is a party to, clearly and unequivocally condemn and prohibit any discrimination on the basis of nationality and impose positive obligations on the government for its prevention and effective combat.
The press-conference was organized by the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union with the support of the Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development Programme in Ukraine.