Human Rights in the 21st Century

Analysis of the Situation in the Occupied Crimea as of September 2022

Author: Eskender Bariiev

This paper presents the outcomes of the analysis of the accounts of human rights violations and war crimes obtained both from open sources and during interviews with activists, lawyers, victims of repressions and their relatives, and the monitoring data of
the Crimean Tatar Resource Center in the temporarily occupied Crimean territories and the new occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions. Based on this analysis, the author has developed recommendations on preventing and minimizing the negative consequences of the occupying authorities’ actions in Crimea.



In 2014, the Russian Federation occupied Crimea, the homeland of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people and part of the territory of the sovereign state of Ukraine, in violation of Article 3 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People1 and its obligations under the Budapest Memorandum2. As a first response following these actions, the European Parliament adopted the resolution “Invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation” of March 13, 20143 and the UNGA adopted Resolution 68/262 on the “Territorial integrity of Ukraine” of March 27, 20144. With this resolution, the UNGA declared the Crimean referendum illegal and called on states, international organizations, and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol on the basis of the illegally held referendum of March 16, 2014, and to refrain from any actions that might be interpreted as recognizing any such status.

According to the Statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Repelling the Armed Aggression of the Russian Federation and Overcoming its Consequences5, February 20, 2014 was recognized as the official date of temporary occupation of Crimea by Russia. In this regard, since February 20, 2014, the Russian Federation has been liable for all the developments in Crimea as the state in control of this territory, in accordance with the provisions of the IV Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 19496. The interim decision of the European Court of Human Rights on the admissibility of the interstate application “Ukraine v. Russia” of December 16, 20207 found that since February 27, 2014 the Russian Federation had been extending its “jurisdiction” to Crimea.

The Crimean Tatar people and pro-Ukrainian activists stood against the occupation. To suppress the non-violent resistance, the occupying authorities launched a program to persecute them and to form an “internal enemy” image using hate speech, violating fundamental human rights and the collective rights of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people. The occupying authorities have been actively applying all possible pressure levers: illegal detentions, arrests, searches, launching fabricated administrative and criminal cases, issuing threats, beatings, using torture, abductions, killings, rejecting re-registration and illegally alienating private property. All these crimes have been persistent.

With the unleashing of a full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the occupation of new territories of Ukraine (Kherson, Donetsk, Lugansk, parts of the Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Chernigov, Sumy, and Kyiv regions) followed, where the occupiers have been trying to use the Crimean practices of attempted annexation of territories, war crimes, and human rights violations.

This article analyzes the information obtained from open sources, interviews with activists, lawyers, repression victims and their relatives, and the monitoring activities of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center.

Based on this analysis, the author has developed recommendations aimed at preventing and minimizing the negative impacts of the actions of the occupying authorities in Crimea and other Ukrainian temporarily occupied territories.

Individual rights


Right to life

Since February 20, 2014, the legal Ukrainian law enforcement system has effectively ceased to perform its functions. This caused the formation of the Self-Defense of Crimea paramilitary controlled by the Russian Federal Security Service, which brutally suppressed any manifestation of dissent with their position. Reshat Ametov, a member of the indigenous Crimean Tatar community, who carried out a one-man protest against the occupation in 2014, became the first victim; he was forcibly abducted by men in military uniform, and his body was later found with signs of torture.

A total of 58 people died during the occupation of Crimea, and, considering that these people were the victims of crimes committed for various reasons, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center developed the Classification of Victims in the Period of the Occupation of Crimea. It includes four categories: “victims of political repressions,” “discrimination victims”, “victims of terror”, and “victims of police impunity”.

Human death statistics by year is as follows: 6 deaths in 2014, 4 in 2015, 4 in 2016, 2 in 2017, 28 in 2018 (including 21 victims of the Kerch terrorist attack on October 17), 8 in 2019, 3 in 2020, and 3 in 2021 (Figure 1). The Crimean Tatar Resource Center recorded 29 murders in the new occupied territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, but after the liberation of the occupied settlements of Kiev, Chernigov, and Kharkov regions, thousands of cases of mass civilian murders have been recorded.



In 2014, 8 persons went missing in the occupied Crimea territory, 4 persons went missing in 2015, 4 in 2016, 2 in 2019, and 3 in 2020 (Figure 2). There is still no information about them. The Crimean Tatar Resource Center recorded 279 cases of forced abductions in the new occupied territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, with 84 of these persons being members of the Crimean Tatar community. Of these, 60 were released, 11 were arrested and are in pre-trial detention facilities in Crimea, and the fate of 208 persons is still unknown. It is important to note that even after the liberation of the occupied settlements in Kyiv, the Chernigov, and Kharkov regions, hundreds of civilians are still considered missing.

Overall, during the Crimean occupation, 21 people became victims of forced abductions, and their fate is unknown. This includes Ervin Ibragimov, a member of the Coordination Council of the World Congress of the Crimean Tatars, whose whereabouts have been unknown for over six years.

Cases of forced abductions with the purpose of intimidating people and inducing them to cooperate with the occupying law-enforcement forces have been recorded repeatedly. It is exemplified by the abduction of Renat Paralamov by Russian Federal Security Service (FSS) officers in September 2017, who had been impelling him to cooperate. The day after his “detention”, he was found at a coach terminal with signs of torture. According to Paralamov’s statement, FSS officers tortured him with electric shocks, injured his jaw, and threatened to rape him with a metal pipe.


Property searches

Searches have become a regular practice since the beginning of the Crimean occupation. As a rule, law-enforcement officers forcefully enter houses early in the morning behaving roughly and brutally. Most of the mass searches are conducted on suspicions of connections with Hizb ut-Tahrir and Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations, which are banned in the Russian Federation, as well as for alleged engagement in the activities of the Noman Çelebicihan Battalion, espionage on behalf of Ukraine, extremism, spreading hatred or hostility, etc. Since 2020, there have been new cases of conducting searches for under-reporting, or “failure to report a crime” (Figure 3).

Law-enforcement officers violate affected persons’ rights when searches are conducted. For example, during property entries there have been recorded cases of property damage or conducting searches in the owners’ absence, or the planting of prohibited literature. By doing this, the occupiers are trying to discredit the indigenous people of Crimea and pro-Ukrainian activists in the eyes of the international community by framing them as “terrorists” and “extremists”. In the new occupied territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, 26 illegal entries into and/or searches of homes have been recorded, and there are certainly more instances where people are intimidated and afraid to report, and the occupiers do not provide documents authorizing the searches, they also seize cars, money, jewelry, and household items.



There is a continuing trend of mass detentions following searches in occupied Crimea, usually on suspicions of involvement with Hizb ut-Tahrir and Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations, which are banned in the Russian Federation, engagement in the activities of the Noman Çelebicihan Battalion, failure to report crimes, public calls for terrorist/extremist activities, participation in the activities of a terrorist organization, espionage on behalf of Ukraine, illegal possession, storage, transportation of explosives and ammunition, and since 2022 people have been detained for public actions to discredit the Russian Armed Forces, propaganda or public demonstration of Nazi symbols, etc. (Figure 4).

Activists visiting sham court hearings to support political prisoners are systematically detained. Since 2020, the occupiers have been massively detaining members of the Crimean Tatar community on their way to the Rostov region via the Kerch Bridge to take part in the trials of the Kremlin detainees who had been conveyed.


Interrogations, questionings and conversations

Interrogations, questionings and conversations have been extensively used to intimidate activists. In 2021, there were 366 recorded cases of interrogations, questionings or conversations in the occupied Crimea, 330 of which involved members of the Crimean Tatar community. In 2020, 280 cases were recorded, 194 cases in 2019, 152 in 2018, and 340 in 2017 (Figure 5).

A big part of the interrogations/conversations were conducted after illegal detentions, including at the administrative border with Crimea. They were targeting Crimean Tatar and pro-Ukrainian activists, left-wing activists, and religious figures – imams of mosques, detained on suspicions of alleged involvement with Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Noman Çelebicihan Battalion organizations banned in the Russian Federation, of “calls for extremist or terrorist activities”, and “making explosives”. There were recorded cases of interrogations/questionings of relatives of political prisoners and activists of the Crimean Tatar national movement being transferred to trials following their detention.

In the new occupied territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, the occupiers have rolled out more than 20 facilities for “interrogations”, tortures, and intimidation. We know of such facilities in Genichesk in the basement of Vocational School 17, in Novaya Kakhovka, Kherson, and Melitopol, where thousands of people are subjected to interrogations and tortures. For example, in the basement of Vocational School 17 in Genichesk, hundreds of people are being held for re- education. When law-enforcers ask: “Who is Putin?” people have to answer: “The President of the World”, if they refuse to do so, they are subjected to torture.



Crimean occupying authorities pursue the policy of holding activists in pre-trial detention facilities, which is primarily related to launching new cases and extending the time of detention.
In 2021, 210 arrests were recorded in the occupied Crimea, 167 of which were against the members of the indigenous community. Of the 210 arrests, 28 were new; there were 40 arrests on passed “sentences” and 118 due to extensions of political prisoners’ detention in Crimea. We have observed the following dynamics in this category: there were 252 arrests in 2020, 335 in 2019, 207 in 2018, and 46 in 2017 (Figure 6). The policy of targeted detention extensions, new arrests, and passing heavy prison sentences has persisted over the recent years.

In the new occupied territories of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions 18 arrests were recorded, 15 of which against Crimean Tatars, and accounting for those cases where the occupation courts issued arrest decisions in the occupied Crimea. For hundreds of people held in basements in the new occupied territories, no “court” decisions were made, therefore, they are not included in this category.

In the occupied Crimea, new trumped-up criminal cases are opened every year involving Crimean Tatar and pro-Ukrainian activists. In 2021, 28 persons faced criminal charges, including the case of Deputy Chair of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Nariman Dzhelyal who took part in the Crimean Platform Summit. On June 1, 2022, the Russian Supreme Court ruled to recognize the Noman Çelebicihan Battalion a terrorist organization, which is an additional lever for misusing Russian law to persecute the indigenous people. Specifically, in 2022, 15 people were arrested on suspicion of involvement with the Noman Çelebicihan Battalion.



Since 2020, after a nationwide vote on the amendments to the Russian Constitution, some changes have been made to Russian legislation. While before, based on occupation courts’ “sentences”, persons sentenced to imprisonment had to serve their time in penal colonies, now, since 2020, sentences have been passed with a serving time of 3-5 years in prisons. The prison regime is much stricter than in colonies, as in these institutions political prisoners are subject to restrictions and deprived of a wider range of their fundamental rights and freedoms.


Right to a fair trial

Since the beginning of the occupation, in violation of the IV Geneva Convention8, the Russian Federation began to apply its own criminal legislation in occupied Crimea, abandoned the framework of independent Ukrainian courts and replaced them with sham courts to prosecute for actions committed even before the occupation of Crimea.

The indications of violating the right to a fair trial testify to the ongoing targeted discrimination against the indigenous people and pro-Ukrainian activists. In 2021, there were 478 cases of violating the right to fair trial, 393 of which were against Crimean Tatars (Figure 7).

The statistics indicate the misuse of Russian law for political purposes to suppress the non-violent action of the Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists against the Crimean occupation. Mass cases of extension of the time of detention, as well as the rejection of appeals and lawyers’ motions have been recorded.

Violations of the right to a public trial have become persistent. Political prisoners and persecuted persons in Crimea are deprived of the right to an open, fair, independent, and impartial trial. Court hearings on remand in custody are held in a closed stetting, in violation of the publicity principle. The purpose of these actions is to limit public access to information about the trials, exclude public scrutiny, and put pressure on accused persons. To protect the right to a public trial, lawyers, defendants, and spectators submitted requests, petitions, and complaints to courts and de facto authorities. The courts rejected these applications stating the following grounds: “in order to ensure the safety of participants of court proceedings”, “due to the aggravated social and political situation in the country”, “due to the increased terrorist threat in the country and the probability of terrorist acts”, and “secrecy of investigations”.


Torture or degrading treatment or punishment

All political prisoners complain of inadequate detention conditions, poor sanitation, overcrowded cells, dampness, and non-provision of timely medical care.

In 2021, Crimean political prisoners were placed in punishment cells, special cell blocks, and facilities with strict detention conditions at least 34 times. The most illustrative case is that of political prisoner Teymur Abdullayev, who was held in a punishment cell for six months.
Since 2021 the occupiers have started to conduct preventive activities against political prisoners prone to extremism, escape, and assaulting prison staff. Through this, political prisoners are deprived of the right to parole, walks, meeting relatives, etc.

Political prisoners are systematically tortured and intimidated; for example, the freelance Radio Liberty employee Vladislav Esipenko was subjected to electrical torture for two days. Asan Akhmetov was subjected to similar torture. Forced psychiatric examination has also been used, and in 2021–2022 the following persons were subjected to this type of violation: Azamat Eyupov, Ernest Ibragimov, Lenur Seydametov, Oleg Fedorov, Nariman Dzhelyalov, and Marlen Mustafayev.

Occupiers systematically deny political prisoners’ relatives visits to force them to cooperate with their investigations. For example, the families of the political prisoners Ruslan Suleymanov, Osman Arifmemetov, and Erfan Osmanov were denied standard visits for more than 10 months, without any explanations provided. They saw their families only at “court” appointments.


Political prisoners and persecuted persons in Crimea during the entire occupation period

A total of 266 people became political prisoners and persecuted persons during the occupation of the peninsula, 189 of whom were members of the indigenous Crimean Tatar community. As of October 10, 2022, 105 political prisoners were convicted and are serving their sentences in colonies, of whom 76 are Crimean Tatars; 50 are in pre-trial detention facilities (36 are Crimean Tatars); 30 are on probation or under restraint (19 are Crimean Tatars); 32 are being prosecuted (26 are Crimean Tatars); and 49 political prisoners were released, 31 of whom are Crimean Tatars (Figure 8).


Property rights

Property rights of legal entities and individuals have been consistently violated in the occupied Crimea: for example, Russian President V. Putin extended the list of territories where land cannot be owned by “foreigners” and “foreign legal entities” by adding to this list the coastal areas of occupied Crimea. According to this decree, more than 11,000 foreigners were deprived of land. The list of property owners included citizens from 55 countries.

All the above cases violate Articles 1, 2, 7, 8, 17, 28, 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights9; Articles 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights10; Article 1 of the Additional Protocol and Article 1 of Protocol 12 thereto; and Articles 1, 2, 7, 9 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Collective Rights


Right to freedom of speech

To conceal numerous crimes, the occupiers eliminated all independent media, which covered searches, arrests, detentions, and other repressive actions. Some editorial offices were subjected to searches and repression by security forces.

ATR, the only Crimean Tatar TV channel, Meydan and Leader radio stations, the 15 Minutes news website, QHA news agency, the Black Sea TV and Radio Company, and some other media outlets were expulsed to mainland Ukraine. Around 3,000 media outlets operated in Crimea before the occupation. As early as in May 2015, only 232 outlets remained – and which were loyal to the occupying authorities; the Ukrainian journalist Nikolai Semena was convicted, the QHA news agency founder Ismet Yuksel, the journalist Alena Savchuk, and Alina Smutko were restrained from entering the country, and 14 citizen journalists were arrested. One example is the trial of the citizen journalist Nariman Memedeminov, who in 2019 was “sentenced” to 2 years and 6 months in a penal colony.
Ukrainian news websites, including those of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, were fully blocked in the occupied Crimea.


Right to peaceful assembly and association

Prior to the Crimean occupation, Crimean Tatars held targeted mass public actions dedicated to the Day of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People on May 18, the Day of the Crimean Tatar Flag on June 26, the Day of Indigenous Peoples on August 9, and Human Rights Day on December 10. However, since 2014 the occupation administration has been inappropriately applying Russian legislation, and the adoption of Federal Law No. 258-FZ of July 21, 2014 introduced criminal liability for repeated violations of the rules of public events organization and hosting. Therefore, on various pretexts, public events are banned, and in the run-up to the above-mentioned dates, Crimean Tatar activists are given notices of the inadmissibility of hosting unapproved events. In 2022, activists were punished with administrative fines and detentions for a period from 2 to 10 days. Administrative proceedings are systematically opened against relatives of political prisoners for one-man pickets.


The right of the indigenous people to governance through a representative institution

The Kurultai and the Mejlis are democratic bodies that regulate all spheres of life of the Crimean Tatar people. The Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar people is the supreme representative body of this indigenous people, elected through direct democratic elections. The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people is the representative executive body of the indigenous people in accordance with Articles 18-20 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples11 and is elected by the Kurultai. In the Ukrainian legal system, the Mejlis received its official status of the Council of Representatives of the Crimean Tatar People as per the Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 518/912 of May 18, 1999, and was also mentioned in the bylaws of Ukraine as a representative institution of the Crimean Tatar people. Through the UN ECOSOC decision13 E/DEC/1995/317 of November 25, 1995, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people was recognized as an organization of indigenous people and its participation in UN activities was approved.

The beginning of the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation brought the persecution of the representative body of the indigenous people for its consistent position and non-violent advocacy of the collective rights of the Crimean Tatar people. The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people was declared an extremist organization and banned through the illegal decisions of the “Supreme Court of the Republic of Crimea” of April 26, 2016 and the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of September, 29, 2016. On April 19, 2017, the UN’s International Court of Justice issued an interim judgment on the case Ukraine v. Russia14 regarding the complaint on violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which obliged Russia to resume the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. However, the Russian Federation has not yet complied with this judgment. The building of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People in Simferopol was seized by the occupiers and has been systematically vandalized. The members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people are restricted from executing representative functions in occupied Crimea under the threat of being prosecuted as members of an “extremist organization”. Criminal proceedings were launched against some members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, and the First Deputy Chairman Nariman Dzhelyalov is being held in a pre-trial detention facility.


Right to observe and recover cultural traditions and customs

Crimea is the historical homeland of the Crimean Tatars, where monuments of the cultural heritage of this indigenous people remained. Between 1944 and 1991 the Crimean Tatar people were deprived of the right to preserve and develop their own culture. Since 2014 the occupying authorities have been destroying cultural heritage monuments of the Crimean Tatar people. For example, under the guise of a “restoration”, the only piece of the Crimean Tatar palatial architecture in the world, the Khan’s Palace, was destroyed. Authentic materials were removed and replaced with modern ones, and lately a wall was taken down. Excavations are made without the approval of the competent authorities of Ukraine and the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, and artifacts are taken to Russia.


Right to education based on mother tongue and the preservation of national history

Despite the fact that the Crimean Tatar language is an official state language, the spheres of its use are minimized, there are no Crimean Tatar language versions of the official occupying authorities’ websites, paperwork is done purely in Russian, court depositions in the Crimean Tatar native language are not allowed, and even some cases of threats of dismissing employees for using their native language in conversations have been recorded.

Before the occupation there were 15 schools and 384 classes with schooling provided in the Crimean Tatar language in Crimea. According to the occupying authorities, only seven schools remain with schooling in the Crimean Tatar language and three schools that use both the Russian and Crimean Tatar languages. Education using the Crimean Tatar language is allowed only until the 9th grade and following an application from parents. School management bodies are opposing the submission of applications on these pretexts: “Crimea has Russian as its single native language”, “a lack of classrooms, teaching staff, textbooks”, some rough refusals have also been registered: parents’ applications are not accepted, or hours of the Crimean Tatar language and literature studies are reduced. There have been attempts of closing schools with the Crimean Tatar language as the language of study in the Annovka township and the town of Staryi Krym. The ratio of children studying in Russian, Crimean Tatar, and Ukrainian languages is an important indicator. In the 2020–2021 school year, there were 73,900 students in 554 educational organizations of the Republic of Crimea, with 72,600 being educated in the Russian language (98.3%), 1,200 in Crimean Tatar (1.6%), and 93 in Ukrainian (0.1%).

School managers reprimand children for using their native language, and sweeps are conducted to search for banned literature. FSS officers conduct counselling conversations with Crimean Tatar children. Students are surveyed to identify family sentiment and attitude to report on others.

The historiography of Crimea and the Crimean Tatar people is being revised and forged. A 10th grade history textbook included perspectives inciting ethnic tensions. The book contained prejudiced statements about the history of the Crimean Tatar people, also demonstrating xenophobic attitudes. Being pressed by the public, the occupying authorities withdrew this textbook from schools, but the textbook was used in the studies in 2020.


Right to territories, land and resources

The occupying authorities illegally apply Russian legislation and adopt inappropriate local laws. On January 15, 2015, the Law of the “Republic of Crimea” on the Provision of Municipally Owned Land and Certain Matters of Land Relations was adopted. Land registration issues of the indigenous community members remain unresolved in Simferopol and the Simferopol district, Evpatoria, Sudak, and on the South Coast of Crimea. At the same time, land sale auctions are held in Crimea. Given the ongoing policy of population replacement on the peninsula, the occupying authorities are supporting Russian citizens in purchasing land in Crimea, offering them favorable employment terms. Furthermore, with the start of the full-scale aggression against Ukraine, the occupying authorities are giving away land to Russian military personnel participating in the war against Ukraine.

In addition to depriving the Crimean Tatar people of the right to land, the inalienable right of the indigenous people to resources and minerals on the territory of Crimea is being ignored. On November 17, 2019, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People adopted the “Statement on the Respect of the Inalienable Rights of the Indigenous Crimean Tatar People under the Temporary Occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation”15. However, the practice of using resources, subsoil reserves and minerals of the Crimean Peninsula without free, preliminary, and informed consent of the representative body of the indigenous Crimean Tatar people continues until today. As a result of the replacement policy, tens of thousands of the 300 thousand Crimean Tatars were forced to leave their native land, and over 600 thousand Russian people were brought into the territory of Crimea according to the monitoring data of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center.

Analysis of the Situation


According to the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, since 2017 and as of July 1, 2022, 7,524 basic human rights violations have been recorded in the occupied Crimea. Out of these, violations of the right to a fair trial accounted for 40% cases, 15% for detentions and interrogations, 13% for arrests, 7% for violations of the right to the highest attainable physical and mental health standard, and searches and illegal convoys contributed 5% each (Figure 9).

The UN General Assembly adopted six resolutions under the title of “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol”:
– Res. No. 71/205 of December 19, 201616,
– Res. No. 72/190 of December 19, 201717,
– Res. No. 73/263 of December 22, 201818,
– Res. No. 74/168 of December 18, 201919,
– Res. No. 75/192 of December 28, 202020, and – Res. No. 76/179 of December 16, 202121.

In August 2019, the first report of the UN Secretary General entitled “Situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine” was published pursuant to UNGA Resolution No. 73/26322. Two further reports pursuant to this resolution were published in June and September 2020. The European Parliament also regularly adopted resolutions on the situation in Ukraine and, in particular, on the occupied Crimea. These include the “Eastern Partnership countries and in particular destabilization of eastern Ukraine” of April 17, 201423; “Resolution on the Russian military aggression against Ukraine and the urgent need for a peaceful resolution to the conflict” of March 17, 201524; “The strategic military situation in the Black Sea Basin following the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia” of June 11, 201525; “Russia, in particular the cases of Eston Kohver, Oleg Sentsov and Olexandr Kolchenko” of September 10, 201526; “Human rights situation in Crimea, in particular of the Crimean Tatars” of February 4, 201627; “Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia and situation in Crimea”28; “EU priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2017”29 of March 16, 2017; “The cases of Crimean Tatar leaders Akhtem Chiygoz, Ilmi Umerov and the journalist Mykola Semena” of October 5, 201730; and “Russia, notably the case of Ukrainian political prisoner Oleg Sentsov” of June 14, 201831.

In addition to the adoption of the resolutions mentioned above as related to political sanctions, economic sanctions were also introduced. The US was the first to respond: to this date, all the sanctions against Russia related to its aggression against Ukraine are governed by the four Executive Orders: EO1366032, EO1366133, EO1366234, and EO1368535. These sanctions concern high-ranking officials of the Russian Federation responsible for the aggression against Ukraine, as well as legal entities, and are described in more detail in the analytical report of the Office of Foreign Assets, “Control on Ukraine-/Russia-related Sanctions”36. Economic sanctions were also imposed by the European Union. The EU sanctions concern high-ranking Yanukovych-era officials responsible for mass murders during Euromaidan, as well as those involved in corruption, high-ranking Russian officials responsible for aggression against Ukraine, and legal entities of several categories (paramilitaries, terrorist forces in Eastern Ukraine), as well as legal entities engaged in trade activities with the occupied territories).



During the 8 years of struggle for the deoccupation of Crimea, some measures have been taken, including the protection of Crimean residents’ rights, but this has not gone far enough. In 2021, the Crimean Platform was created, with its establishing summit attended by the leaders of 43 states and 3 international organizations, having in its mandate the task to protect human rights in the occupied Crimea. In 2022, an online summit was hosted bringing together 60 states and international organizations. Today the member countries of the Crimean Platform are providing both diplomatic and financial support for Ukraine.

That said, I would like to suggest the following recommendations:

  1. Increase pressure on the Russian Federation, in particular, to improve the mechanism for monitoring and follow-up of the sanctions policy implementation, with streamlined updates of the sanction list. Introduce a mechanism of personal sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations similar to the Magnitsky Act;
  2. Step up the efforts to protect human rights in the occupied Crimea, such as providing political guidance for political prisoners of Crimea and their families. Include in human rights monitoring reports sections on collective rights monitoring in Crimea/Ukraine, including the rights of indigenous peoples;
  3. Develop an action plan to improve the situation of indigenous peoples in the OSCE region
  4. Develop a UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Crimea;
  5. Explore possible means of institutional cooperation with the Mejlis of the Crimean
    Tatar People, the representative body of the Crimean Tatar people. The leadership of the EU and the member states of the EU, CoE, OSCE, and UN should demand that Russia implement the ICJ’s interim judgment and the statement of the CoE Commissioner for Human Rights on the reversal of the decision to ban the Mejlis;
  6. Secretariats of international organizations should not accept official reports or other documents of the Russian Federation which mention Crimea as part of its territory.


[17] A/RES/71/205
[18] A/RES/72/190
[19] A/RES/73/263
[20] A/RES/74/168
[21] A/RES/75/192
[22] A/RES/76/179
[23] A/74/276
[27] 82192689&from=EN
[28] 82884950&from=EN
[29] 83436493&from=EN
[30] = 83679837&from=EN
[31] 84023948&from=EN
[32] 84318249&from=EN