Situation in Ukraine, CMCE meeting 1254

27 April 2016 Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

The decision becomes the first comprehensive document of the main governing body of the Council of Europe, devoted to purely Crimean issues.
The Committee of Ministers reaffirms its position on Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. Condemning the illegal annexation by the Russian Federation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which undermines peace and democratic security in Europe, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe reiterats that such an act by the Russian Federation is in violation of international law.

Importantly, the CoE Committee of Ministers, as the UN General Assembly did before, recognizes Russia’s responsibility under international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and calls upon Russian authorities to fulfill their commitments in full.

Along with such violations of human rights as restrictions on freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, freedom of religion and belief, repressions against national minorities, in particular Crimean Tatars, are noted. The decision of the so-called «supreme court» of the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea to recognize the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people an «extremist organization» and to ban its activities also saw condemnation by the Committee of Ministers. Thus, the document contains a clear requirement for the Russian Federation to take all measures to ensure human rights in Crimea, including to reverse the Mejlis ban.

One of the central provisions of the Decision is the call to ensure unhindered access for human rights mechanisms of the Council of Europe, in particular its Commissioner for Human Rights, to the temporarily occupied peninsula to monitor human rights in accordance with their mandate.