Marking the day of remembrance commemorating the deportation of Crimean Tartars, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, Dr Bärbel Kofler, and the Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries, Dirk Wiese, issued the following statement today (18 May):
76 years ago, the deportation ordered by Joseph Stalin of hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tartars, including women and children, got under way. Today, we commemorate all those who died, lost friends and family members, and endured immeasurable suffering due to the deportation. While in exile, survivors faced severe discrimination. Only in the 1980s were the Crimean Tartars permitted to return home.
Today, the Crimean Tartar people can still not live free, self-determined lives. Since the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia, the situation of Crimean Tartars has dramatically deteriorated. They are subjected to systematic intimidation and suppression, and they are not able to freely practice their faith. The Mejlis, their central entity of self-government, remains banned – despite a provisional order by the International Court of Justice that the ban be lifted. Many Crimean Tartars have once again left their homes after having only recently been permitted to return.
We are concerned by the fact that more than 80 Crimean Tartars have been subjected to criminal prosecution by Russia on dubious grounds, some of these individuals being far away from their homes and loved ones. We call on Russia to fully uphold the rights of the Crimean Tartar minority.