Crimean Tatars: Report
Prepared by the Foundation for Research and Support of the Indigenous Peoples of Crimea about the Situation in Crimea (Ukraine)
Prepared by the Foundation for Research and Support of the
Indigenous Peoples of Crimea
About the situation in Crimea (Ukraine)
Undertaken in accordance with the article 25th of the Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
Of Council of Europe
1. The appearance of this report and the usage of standards and procedures on National Minorities under the Framework Convention doesn't mean that Crimean Tatar People agree with their identification as a National Minority.
2. Crimean Tatar People consequently regards itself as an Indigenous People of Crimea. The reason why this application contains the term “national minority” is predetermined with the terms and procedures accepted by the CoE for the consideration of the problems of the Human Rights in the sphere of the national, ethnic and racial freedoms and equality.
3. The institution responsible for the facts and comments in this report is the Foundation for the Research and Support of the Indigenous Peoples of Crimea, which is the non-commercial and non-profitable local NGO of Crimea.
4. Ukraine is the largest European State with complicated ethnic and political history and a wide variety of political, economic, social and cultural conditions in different regions. The generalized information can not always provide with real facts on observance of human rights in a separate regions concerning a certain national or ethnic groups. Namely, it is going toward such specific region of Ukraine as Crimea and, particularly, in connection with Crimean Tatars, who are the Indigenous People of Crimea.
5. It was rather difficult to collect figures and facts for this communication due to the authorities try to escape the very possibility to search for the comparable data for the ethnic groups which could be used to determine a real situation on observation of their Human Rights especially in political, economical and social spheres and public service. The formal predict is that the Ukrainian Government does not have any concern in the ethnic belonging of the citizens. But actually it allows to hide the factual and sometimes even legal/illegal discrimination on an ethnic basis.
6. Nevertheless the facts included in this report were submitted from different sources. Partially they are found through an expert analyses, partially they are presented by the specialists, partially they are searched by International Agencies through the sociologic pools (the most important is Social Assessment of the Formerly Deported Population in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea: A Participatory Rapid Appraisal by UNHCR, Regional Bureau for Europe, European Series, Volume 4, No l, April 1998.), partially these facts were identified through personal practice. Anyway if it is necessary all these facts may be proved with the documents or evidences in Crimea.
7. The situation is described as existed on May 1, 1999.
8. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is located on Crimean peninsula (the northern coastline of Black Sea) and occupies a whole territory except the city of Sevastopol.
9. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea - is a specific region of Ukraine, which since 1991 has become different from others by its status, so – called territorial autonomy, while other regions - are ordinary territorial units. There is its own representative institution - Supreme Council of Autonomous Republic of Crime and its regional government – Council of Ministers of Crimea. The Autonomous Republic of Crimea has its own Constitution in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine. In 1996 the population of Crimea constituted about 2.69 mln. persons.
10. Despite that the autonomy is legally considered territorial one, in fact it is the autonomy of Russian majority of the Crimean population though (1,5 mln. persons or 64 % of the population). Russian population of the Crimea consists mainly of the settlers brought in after the deportation of the Indigenous People - Crimean Tatars by the Government of the former USSR in 1944.
11. Another large strata of the population are Ukrainians - (0,6 mln. persons or 23 per cent of the population). The third part are Crimean Tatars, who in period of so - called Perestroyka, at last, received the opportunity to return home from the cites of deportation, where they were forcibly deported by Stalin regime in 1944 (mainly to Central Asia).Currently, Crimean Tatars constitute 0,27 mln. persons or 12 % of the population.
12. The central Government of Ukraine, on the whole, controls a situation in Crimea. However, mainly regional authorities determine the position of Crimean Tatars. The Government of Ukraine practically does not interfere in assertion of the principles of racial, national or ethnic equality towards Crimean Tatar People.
13. Crimean Tatar People is a fusion of; 1) ancient and aboriginal tribes of Crimea (Tavrs, Scythians, Sarmatians) that had been populating the peninsula as long as B. C.; 2) some alien European ethnic groups (Goths, anchient Greeks, Genoeses) had been settling here during the I-XIV centuries; and 3) Turkic origin tribes of the Northern Trans-Black Sea Region (Bulgars, Hazars, Pechenegs, Kumans) who had mingled with a forming composition of the people in the first century AD and comprised some mixture of emigrants from Central Asia brought there by Huns and later through Chingis-Khan's (Mongols) invasion. The evidence of autochtonousity of Crimean Tatars is proofed both by their anthropology, mainly European, and culture, organically harmonizing with general traditions of Mediterranean and Middle East's cultural heritage.
14. “So they are (a)descent from the populations which from time immemorial inhabited certain geographical regions of Ukraine in its present state boundaries; (b) preserving cultural, linguistic, religious group identity different from the identity both of the dominant nation and national minorities in Ukraine, and desire to maintain and develop such identity; (c) existence of own historical traditions, social institutions, self-government systems and bodies; (d) non-existence of the ethnically congener national state or homeland beyond Ukraine's boundaries.
15. According to this definition, the Crimean Tatars are the only indigenous people in Ukraine”. (Bill Bowring, “The rights of Indigenous Peoples: international perspectives”, Migration Issues – Ukrainian Analytical – Informative Journal # 2, 1998, page 30)
16. The Crimean Tatars, whose population by the end of XVII century had constituted 1,5-2 mln. people, were a sovereign nation in the Medieval Europe. Their National State - Crimean Khanate was the Southern neighbor of Ukraine. The Crimean Khanate's territory included not only Crimean peninsula but also almost the whole Northern coastline of the Black Sea assumable expanded up to Kishenyov - Zaporozhye - Donetsk - on the North, and to Don River on the East.
17. Crimean Khanate was a sovereign state, which had been in political and military alliance with Ottoman Empire (it might remind relations between Scotland and England till XVII century). It had independently conducted both internal and foreign affairs. In particular, relations with Ukrainian Cossacks Republic - Zaporozhskaya Sich (Cossack Host) - are mentioned as an armed collisions and frontier clashes so decades – long military and trade alliances.
18. The independence of Ukraine was completely demolished since Pereyaslavskaya Rada was established in 1654, when Russian Empire taking advantage of the political and military agreement with Bogdan Khmeinitski, Hetman of Ukraine, step by step occupied and abolished Zaporozhskay Sich (Cossack Host).
19. 129 years later Crimean Tatar Khanate had lost its sovereignty. Under the Peaceful Treaty which was concluded in Kuchuk - Kaynardzhi, after one of the Russian - Turkish Wars, Crimean Khanate allied with Ottoman Empire, but at the same time its independence was guaranteed both by Turkey and Russia. In 1783 having occupied the territory of Crimean Khanate, the Russian Empire broke off the Treaty and declared Crimea to be a part of the Russian Empire. Thus, Russian annexation of the Crimea was realized.
20. Prior to the Russian annexation, Crimean Tatar people had already been existing as an ethnic and political identity with its linguistic peculiarities, specific life style and social structure based on the centuries - of old cultural and political institutions of its ancestors.
21. Repression and annihilation of some stratas of Tatars' population, partial displacements and deportations, expropriation of the land and property and other forms of the colonial oppressions resulted in the fact that by 1921 the population of the Crimean Tatars residing on their homeland had decreased to 150 thousand turning the people into minority (25 % of total Crimean population). At that moment about 50 % of whole population constituted Russian colonists and 25% - Germans, Greeks, Checks, Estonians, Poles, Bulgarians, etc. brought here by the Tsar's government from the countries of the West Europe. Along with it, the Crimean Tatars residing outside of the Crimean peninsula were a subject to genocide. Those, who survived, moved to the present–day Romania and Turkey. As a result, by the beginning of the 20th century the Crimean Tatar population might be found only on the Crimean peninsula.
22. After the collapse of the Tsar regime in February, 1917, the National Crimean Tatar Congress (Kurultay) was convened. The Crimean Tatar leadership made an attempt to restore national statehood through declaring People’s Democratic Republic of Crimea. In 1918 by the invasion from the base of Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, which had been controlled by the Bolsheviks of Russia, almost all leaders of the national movement were killed, and one more time Crimean Tatar people underwent mass terror.
23. During the Civil War in Russia there were different regimes, including German and Vrangel troops’ occupations, in Crimea. In 1921 Communists completely won the Civil War. Taking into account sustained resistance of the underground national – liberal movement, Soviet authorities tried to compromise with Crimean Tatar People, strongly intending to restore its national statehood. On October 18, 1921 the Council of People Commissars of Russia had adopted Decree about establishment of the Soviet Socialistic Republic of Crimea. Crimean Tatar and Russian languages were declared to be State languages in the Republic. Thus, the Crimean Tatar National Autonomy, within the Soviet Federative Socialistic Republic of Russia, later the USSR, was legalized.
24. Nevertheless, the Central Soviet Government was adamant to annihilate Crimean Tatar People totally. As a prologue to the intention the Crimea had been forcibly settled with Russian settlers brought in from the different oblasts (regions) of Russia and the leadership of the Autonomous Soviet Socialistic Republic of Crimea, being accused of anti-soviet propaganda and nationalism, had been severely murdered for several times.
25. Another available reason for the ethnic cleancing of Crimea was committed during the World War II. After German troops were mainly defeated on the territory of Crimea by Soviet Army, a secret Decree titled “About Crimea Tatars” was adopted by State Committee of War of the USSR on May 11, 1944. Crimean Tatars were accused of collaboration with Nazi troops and sentenced to en masse deportation to the distant sites of Russia and Middle Asia. On May 18, 1944 the whole people was exiled within 24 hours by military units of the USSR. As the male population was recruited for military service in the Soviet Army it was mainly kids, women and old persons who had suffered from the deportation. The exile of 1944, committed by Soviet Government, had separated the indigenous people from their historical motherland for more than 50 years. Moreover, 46% of the Crimean Tatar people died during the first years of the deportation. From 1944 till 1956, all of the those who had pulled through, were detained in special confinement settlements, where living conditions were close to those in the concentration Camps.
26. Thereupon in 1946 Soviet government, notably the Supreme Council of the USSR legally abolished the Autonomous Soviet Socialistic Republic of Crimea, which had been converted into ordinary administrative unit - Crimean Oblast (region). At the same period the Criminal Code was modified by adding a provision that escape from the places of the exile was punished with the 25 years of the hard labor.
27. In 1954 by the Decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of USSR the Crimean Oblast was moved out of the jurisdiction of Russian Soviet Federative Socialistic Republic and transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as its administrative unit.
28. Legal procedure was as follows. On the 5th of February, 1954 the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic had made a decision to transfer the Crimean Oblast to Ukrainian SSR. On the 19th of February, 1954 the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted that proposal of the Russia by its own Decision using the following words: "Presidium of the Supreme Council of Ukrainian SSR expresses cordial acknowledgement of thanks to the Presidium of the Supreme Council of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic for this magnanimous noble act of the brotherly Russian People.
29. Ukrainian People imbued with the feeling of satisfaction and gratitude will meet the decision about the transfer of Crimea into the composition of the Ukrainian SSR as a new bright manifestation of the endless confidence and sincere love of the Russian People to Ukrainian People, a new evidence of the indissoluble brotherly friendship between Russian and Ukrainian peoples". On 19th of February, 1954 the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR approved this transfer through its own Resolution.
30. In order to understand and evaluate this act it is essential to pay attention to the fact that Crimean Tatar People in this period was totally detained far away from Crimea in the concentration camps in Russia and Central Asian republics of the USSR. And this detention had been lasted till 1956. However, even after the abolition of the concentration camps, the Crimean Tatars were strictly prohibited to return to Crimea. Ukrainian authorities of that time played an important role in preventing the repatriation of the deportees.
31. At that time Soviet authorities had actively continued its policy of resettlement of Crimea by the ethnic Russians from the inner sites of Russia. It was 370 thousand persons in Crimea after the World War II and the deportation, whereas in 1990 (by the moment of mass repatriation of Crimean Tatars to their Motherland) the population of Crimea had grown up to 2.5 mln. persons. Only from 1967 – 1987 about 1.5 mln. persons were driven to Crimea. Thus, 90% of the Crimean population are the settlers brought in here after the deportation or their children. Through out the time the Soviet Government, in particular, the top Communist party leadership, suppressed all the endeavors of Crimean Tatars to come back to Motherland. Tens of thousand of families, trying to return to Crimea, were repeatedly evicted, thousands were accused of violation of the residence regulations and thrown into prisons or mental hospitals. Hundreds were accused of anti soviet propaganda and incarcerated for many years.
32. Since in 1954 the Crimean peninsula was brought under Ukrainian jurisdiction Ukraine has been responsible for such a kind of violations. Despite that Ukraine was one the founders of the UN, and ratified the International Charter on Human Rights, its law enforcement agencies and courts were primarily involved in the post-deportation discrimination. The repression had been carried out on the base of legislation and administrative practice of the Soviet Socialistic Republic of Ukraine. The recent Crimean Tatar hearings on violation of the residence regulation had been handled in 1982-1983. The Criminal cases brought against squatting by the repatriates had been considered in courts in 1992. In 1990 – 1992 local authorities destroyed newly constructed Crimean Tatar settlements.
33. Present-day Ukraine legally declared to be a successor of the USSR and Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine what was particularly manifested in considering the transmission and possession of the territory of Crimea as a legally based act which was realized in the time of the USSR and in accordance to its legislation. At the same Ukraine has been evading responsibility for being privy to the restriction of Crimean Tatar repatriation to Motherland, as well as violations toward many persons, that contradicts to its International obligations. Moreover Ukraine - as a successor of the USSR - avoids responsibility for the restoration rights of Crimean Tatar People, brutally violated by the deportation of 1944.
34. In the period, preceding to its independence - 1990 - 1991 – Ukraine had carried out some legal measures aimed at the elimination of the very possibility to restore rights of Crimean Tatar People who returned to their historical motherland.
35. In the period of Glasnost (Openness) and Perestroyka, the Soviet Government failed to apply direct repression against Crimean Tatars returning to their Motherland. By 1990 the number of Crimean Tatars, who had returned from the sites of deportation to Crimea (Ural, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kirgizstan) had reached 40 thousand persons. In political respect Crimean Tatars demanded the restoration of the Autonomous Socialistic Republic of Crimea as a national and territorial Autonomy of Crimean Tatar People. If all the deported Crimean Tatars could return to Crimea they would have constituted about 20% of whole population, so it would be equated to the percentage of 1921. Moreover, at first in the USSR, now in Russia there are many national autonomies of those peoples who are in the minority on their own motherland (Bashkirs, Udmurts, Komi, Hakasians and so on).
36. Thus, the claims were not ungrounded. However the Ukrainian leadership conducted the Referendum among the Russian - speaking population (January of 1991) concerning the Status of Crimea and approved its outcomes. Afterwards, some corresponding amendments were brought into the Constitution of Ukraine, so that the Republic of Crimea was established, as a supposedly territorial Autonomy. But in fact it became the Autonomy for the Russian speaking settlers, deliberately brought in Crimea to prevent the repatriation of Crimean Tatars. Crimean Tatars boycotted the referendum and opposed its results. However, Ukrainian Government ignored the protests, after all. By doing so the top leadership of Ukraine laid a ground for the local authorities to act against Crimean Tatars, about what the facts will be given below.
37. At the end of 1998 the President and Parliament of Ukraine approved the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, drafted by Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament) of Autonomous Republic of Crimea without participation of Crimean Tatars and inspite of their protest campaign. Since the moment the issue of legal restoration of the Crimean Tatars' rights had appeared in question, so as any Ukrainian law concerning the Crimea has to be brought into line with its approved Constitution. Crimean authorities, representing the Russian-speaking majority, have earned a carte blanche for first-law and forcible assimilation of Crimean Tatar people.
38. The Law on National Minorities of Ukraine is absolutely not enough to guarantee the realization of the Human Rights of Crimean Tatar people because it define only some cultural and linguistic rights but not political, economic and social ones. On the other hand this law provides the rights of the minorities who are the majorities in any region in fact. Crimean Tatars are practically in minority in all administrative districts of their Motherland, in the smallest ones. However the Government doesn't want to consider the situation and undertake an adequate measures.
39. The legal ways for this policy now are:
40. the announcement the Crimean Autonomous Republic so called territorial autonomy populated by so called Crimeans whose will constitutes the source of the legislative and administrative power in Crimea. Crimeans really means Russians –speaking settlers who occupied the territory of Crimean in absence of the Crimean Tatars and now constitute 64 % of population;
41. the establishment of only two official language in Crimean Autonomous republic Ukrainian and Russian. The usage of other languages in public life is allowed only if a certain national group is in majority. However, the Government knows that Crimean Tatars practically are in minority everywhere in Crimea. Before the deportation of 1944 Crimean Tatar language was one of the State languages in Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (another one was Russian). But Government prevents to restore that practice;
42. the establishment of the simple major system in elections, what allows the Russian majority to prevent the appearance of the winners among the Crimean Tatars candidates even in the districts where Crimean Tatars are represented in a major section of the voters. For the comparison, before the deportation of the Crimean Tatars constituted about 1/3 of Crimean Supreme Council members;
43. the preservations against the amendment of Crimean Constitution which means that any measures to restore or to promote the Human Rights of Crimean Tatar People will be prevented by the Crimean regional Parliament because it will affect the interests of Russian majority in this parliament.
44. Now formally Ukrainian Government has lost a possibility to do something because it is not in accordance with the Crimean Constitution, which shouldn’t be changed.
ARTICLE BY ARTICLE INFORMATION
The protection of national minorities and of the rights and freedoms of persons belonging to those minorities forms an integral part of the international protection of human rights, and as such falls within the scope of international co-operation.
Lack of Legal Protection
46. In accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine all international agreements ratified by Ukrainian Parliament are considered as a part of National legislation. So, none of the International mechanisms or standards has a priority over the internal legislative acts. At this juncture, the governmental institutions and officials preferably use the Ukrainian law particularly in the problematic situations. There is no procedure when a private person can make the Government or any official implement an international agreement of Ukraine. Only MPs and some high officials have a right to call for the interpretation of the law in those cases to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. Generally, a private person has no right to apply to the Constitutional Court to protect his rights violated by authorities. It is only an individual or NGO may ask for an explanation of the law and only if there are two or more administrative bodies have some contradictions in their practice one which other concerning the interests of the applicant. If they are consistent in their practice even if it is in obvious contradiction to the law a private person has no legal possibility to apply to the Constitutional Court.
47. Another problem is that there is no legal subject, which has a right to call upon to the court on behalf of any national or ethnic group. So these rights which formally recognized for these groups (for instance enjoying of the national celebrations or holidays or the studying the Mother tongue in the State universities or the protection of the environment) can not be protected through the court procedures in the case of violation. The Law on National Minorities contains the term “National Public Associations” as a representative of any minority (articles 13: 14). But the Law on the Associations of the Citizens does not have this definition or term. It means, that de - jure there are no National Public Associations in Ukraine. Those NGOs, which promote the culture of the National Groups legally cannot represent any National group particularly if there are more than one NGO. Those members of any National Group who are not at the same time the members of any NGO have no influence to them. Thus the realization of the national rights and freedoms is depended on the view of the authorities and is not under the court protection.
48. Finally only the citizens of Ukraine shall be considered as a National Minority in accordance with the article 3 of the Law on National Minorities. Those national groups or the parts of the national groups who don't have Ukrainian citizenship are excluded from the consideration totally.
49. Although the Criminal Code of Ukraine has article 66 fixing the responsibility for the violation of the equal rights of the citizens on the base of their racial, national belonging or the attitude to the religion, no one case had taken place on the complains of Crimean Tatars against the Crimean officials.
50. The prosecutor avoids using this provision of the Criminal Code even under a very obvious circumstances, otherwise, existence of the precedents related to the racial, ethnic or national discrimination in Ukraine would be officially recognized. However even from the very formal point of view this provision concerns only the citizens. This law does not protect those members of the national groups who are not the citizens of Ukraine.
The provisions of this framework Convention shall be applied in good faith, in a spirit of understanding and tolerance and in conformity with the principles of good neighborliness, friendly relations and co-operation between States.
51. For Crimean Tatars the CIS countries multilateral Agreement on the Questions Relating to the restoration of the Rights of the Deported Persons, National Minorities and the Peoples signed on October 9th, 1992 in Bishkek (Kirgizstan) should play a very vital role.
52. Ukraine (in 1993) and Uzbekistan (in 1992) have ratified Agreement on the questions relating to restoration of rights of deported persons, national minorities and peoples” (Bishkek Agreement). Article 1 reads: "Parties shall provide deported persons voluntary returning to places of their residence on moment of deportation with conditions for settlement, education, national, cultural and spiritual development as well as political, economical and social rights equally with the citizens constantly live there". Under the Constitution of Ukraine this agreement is a part of national legislation of Ukraine.
53. The provisions of this and most of the others articles are not observe by Ukraine . After the agreement was ratified in Ukraine, the Crimean Tatars were not provided with the parity of constitutional rights with Ukrainian citizens. In cases dealing with Crimean Tatars, authorities apply other laws putting an obvious difference between citizens and non-citizens.
54. But for the reasons mentioned above nobody can make the Government implement it. For example that Agreement makes free from payment of taxes of deportees, who have not been resettled on their Motherland yet. But those people are to pay taxes, because authorities enforce them to. Article 1 of that agreement says that the State shall ensure for them the equal political, economic and cultural rights with those citizens who are permanently residing in these States. There is no requirement to become a citizen of correspondent State to enjoy equal political rights. In fact because of absence of the Ukrainian citizenship more than 70 000 of Crimean Tatars were refused to take part in the general elections hold March 29, 1998. Although in spite of that it was allowed in the elections of 1994. Other limitations will be shown below.
55. Ukrainian Government from time to time applies to the potential foreign and international donors with the request to grant the money for the repatriation and the resettlement of Crimean Tatars. But the point is that those finances, even if allocated, are used excluding participation and disregarding the interests of the legal representatives of Crimean Tatars.
56. Very important point is deliberate non-including into the official statistics of the fact displaying real situation about the enjoyment of the economic, social and cultural rights by the different national groups. Instead of comparable figures on different groups of population, the average indices are introduced, which are not affecting the true state of affairs.
57. It was pointed out in the Concluding Observations on the report of Ukraine of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1995 that “the consequent exclusion of such persons from certain social indicators, such as those about employment and poverty, may deprive them of the full enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights. In this connection, it recalls the provisions of article 2, which states that the rights enunciated in the Covenant must be exercised without discrimination of any kind, inter alia, as to national or social origin” (UNO Doc.: E/C.12/1995/15). The same things were noticed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 1998 on the Ukrainian Government’s reports that “…. many of the Committee’s previous concluding observations (A/48/18, paras. 42-65) were not taken into consideration for the elaboration of Ukraine’s thirteenth report, especially in regard to the extent to which the Convention is being implemented in the State party (para. 47); lack of information on legislation enacted to implement the punitive provisions of article 4 of the Convention (para. 50); lack of information on complaints and convictions for acts of racial discrimination established under article 66 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code (para. 52); and the inadequacy of demographic data on the different ethnic groups living in the State party.” (UNO Doc.: CERD/C/304/Add 48, 8).
I. Every person belonging to a national minority shall have the right freely to choose to be treated or not to be treated as such and no disadvantage shall result from this choice or from the exercise of the rights which are connected to that choice.
2.Persons belonging to national minorities may exercise the rights and enjoy the freedoms flowing from the principles enshrined in the present framework Convention individually as well as in community with others.
Undermining of Ethnic Self-Identification
58. For Crimean Tatars during the decades after the deportation thus were prohibited to call themselves by their native name of the people. "Crimean Tatars" didn't exist officially in the USSR.
59. At first, legal status of Crimean Tatars was determined "special settlers" afterwards the Soviet legislation repudiated and ignored the existence of Crimean Tatar people in fact. For instance, when taking population census Crimean Tatar were registered as "Tatar", i.e. were identified to other Turkic origin peoples populating Volga region and Siberia.
60. The law of Ukraine and new Ukrainian passports don't determine national belonging of the citizen. But for Crimean Tatars this is a new negative impact on their national identity, dignity and self-respect.
61. Formally Government declares that it undertook very progressive measure excluding the note about the ethnic belonging from the official documents.
62. The governmental officials for their own purposes have the information about the ethnic belonging of any concerned person or a group which can be identified by names, surnames etc. But formally they can refuse to present any data concerning the real situation of the different national groups referring to this point.
63. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of UNO in its Conclusion observations on December 28th, 1995 tried to turn the attention of the Ukrainian Government to this fact: “The Committee calls attention to the difficulties experienced by members of minority groups, including Crimean Tatars, which were deported decades earlier and are now returning to resettle in Ukraine, on the land of their ancestors. In particular, the Committee is concerned that the consequent exclusion of such persons from certain social indicators, such as those about employment and poverty, may deprive them of the full enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights. In this connection, it recalls the provisions of article 2, which states that the rights enunciated in the Covenant must be exercised without discrimination of any kind, inter alia, as to national or social origin." (See (UNO Doc.: E/C.12/1995/15, 15). However, the Ukrainian Government failure to take into account this note and still continues to keep silence about the real situation with the observation of Human Rights of Crimean Tatars.
64. Crimean Tatars expect that their ethnic belonging should be included into official notes to the documents as an optional opportunity for the person who desires to by his own accord.
Legal Status of Crimean Tatars
65. In order to look for the international standards which Ukrainian Government must take into consideration for the solution of this problem we need to pay attention to;
66. Crimean Tatars are not simply ethnic group or national minority, but the entire people so far as all elements of the definition are characteristic to its which were appeared during discussion of the definition by United Nation.
a) the term people means a social identity, possessing a well-defined individuality and which has their own characteristics;
b) it proposes a contact with any territory, if even the present people was unjustly exiled from it or was artificially substituted by other population (as it was directly made with Crimean Tatars).
c) it should not confuse the people with ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities, which existence and rights are recognized by Article 27 of International Pact on Civil and Political Rights (UNO Doc.: E/CN.4/Sub.2/404/Rev.1, 279).
67. UNESCO experts on the furthest search of the human rights gave one of the last and most detailed definitions of the people on February 1990, in Paris.
68. “People regarding as people, possessing the rights, in accordance with the international law, including the right of self-determination is to correspond to the definitions:
a) general historical tradition; b) racial or ethnic identity; c) cultural homogeneity; d) linguistic unity; e) general economical life.
69. The group is to consist of some number of individuals, which is not bound must be large (example, people of micro-states), but it is to be larger, than simply association of individuals within a state.
70. Group, as a whole is to have a will to be identified as a people, or who has a home consent for existence as a people, admitting, that can be the groups or members of those, who possess these characteristics, but they can not have an appropriate will to it.
71. Probably, the group is to have institutions or other means of expression its general characteristics and a will to identity”.
72. Crimean Tatars correspond to all characteristics, which were given above.
73. As a result of the Russian's Empire centuries-old aspiration by the way of repression, deportation and other violence to destroy or at least to assimilate Crimean Tatars, afterwards Soviet Union policy of genocide they have been turned into insignificant minority in their own historical, native land, but they did not become and feel themselves as a minority in juridical international meaning. Currently, only one of the characteristics is lacked to Crimean Tatar People- this is a common economical life. But, it is understandable that, after deportation and settling on a territory of some republics, and now in the hardest period of repatriation, such community was artificially demolished, and it could not be restored in a short time.
74. Currently, the legal status of the Crimean Tatars is not defined in Ukraine, and in this connection, they are officially considered, namely as "national minority", and their status is equated to diasporas of other peoples, living in Ukraine and who have their historical homeland, and often kin – state outside. Interesting fact is that majority of Crimean Tatars is not even the "national minority" in Ukraine because that the status refers only to the citizens and more then half of Crimean Tatar community is not the citizens of Ukraine. Crimean Tatars have no statehood through which they would be able to promote their interests in Ukraine through the external protection and bilateral agreements because the own State of Crimean Tatars Crimean Khanate doesn't exist now and whose territory is under complete jurisdiction of Ukraine.
75. Nevertheless, the Crimean Tatar People not only kept many customs: spoken language, but also are restoring actively by their own efforts, without support, and usually with opposition of the local authorities, basic social and cultural institutions, including the most important of them - Kurultay of Crimean Tatar People (National Congress) and Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People (National Assembly).
76. Thus, the Crimean Tatars are classic example of the entire People on the territory of the independent state of Ukraine.
77. Present ethnic and demographic composition of Crimean population produces the situation where post migrants and settlers prevail in all areas of public life and are totally controlling local administration and regional parliament.
Problem of Re-Establishment
78. Crimean Tatars are deported people. "The formerly deported peoples - these are the peoples which in the Soviet period were deported from their historical Motherland" (UNO Doc.: CISCONF/1996/6, Appendix 2, 9). See as well the article 7, para. 1 (d), para. 2 (d) of Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (UNO Doc.; A/CONF. 183/9).
79. So we have a situation where the Ukrainian State is carrying out the policy which should be overviewed through the standards of articles 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10 of the Draft of the Declaration on the Population Transfer and Implantation of the Settlers, (UNO Doc.; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1997/23, Appendix II).
80. Ukrainian Government uses two approaches to avoid solving this problem. The first one is to try to keep the silence and to escape its responsibility for the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatars as a people. The second one is to propose those kinds of legal measures, which are not in accordance with the international obligations on Human Rights or even with the Constitution and Civil Code of Ukraine trying to minimize the responsibility of the State and to use only the decorative measures. For example the last draft of the law of Ukraine about the rehabilitation ensuring of the rights of the members of the Minorities formerly deported from Ukraine is not in accordance with the principle of the complete and equal rights and just restitution.
81. Formally for taking back of the houses and other possessions confiscated from the Crimean Tatar owners in 1944 it is not required to have the special law. The Civil Code of Ukraine has legal mechanism of the restoration of the ownership in the cases of the illegal confiscation. But the Crimean and Ukrainian courts refuse to consider these cases referring to the absence of the special law. At the same time the property and the land taken off from the Crimean Tatars are transferred to the new-settlers not only to the possession but also to the ownership through the privatization.
82. Ukrainian Government didn't even pay attention to the fact that Special Reporters on population transfer of the Sub-Commission on the prevention and protection of Minorities Mr. Shaukat AI-Hasawne had pointed out in his report that Crimean Tatars coming back to the country of their ancestors face the occupation of their houses and land by the other immigrants that however doesn't prima facie create the material impossibility for the restitution (UNO Doc.: E/CN/4/Sub/2/1994/18, 96).
83. So there is the situation when the national group is denied the right of legacy and the right to the land for the advantage of the other ethnic groups as the Russians and Ukrainians.
84. Ukrainian Parliament will adopt this law then Government will use it in order to deny the necessity to restore the rights of Crimean Tatar People in accordance with the international Human Rights standards (for instance see the Main Principles and Guidelines Relating the Right for the Restitution of the Victims of the Brutal Violations of the Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. (UNO Doc.: E/CN.4/Sub/2/1996/17, Appendix).
85. For example that Draft doesn't have the provisions about real estate and land restitution, restoration of the official status of Crimean Tatar language in Crimea, the right to political representation and participation, right to restitution confiscated cultural values as well as re - establishment of the educational and scientific institutions, to real participation in privatization, to the recognition of the Institutions of Self - Governments of Crimean Tatars such as Kurultay and Mejlis, to the automatic and free granting of Ukrainian citizenship, to the free choice of the place of the settlement etc. But it has a provision stating the the restoration of the Rights of the deportees shouldn’t violate the rights of new-settlers that in the conditions of Crimea means that nothing will be done really due to the absolute domination of new-settlers. The Government having receipted a lot of objections and protest from CT, tries to pass this draft through Parliament aiming only to escape from the criticism and responsibility on the international scene. Practically, there exists in Crimea “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination of one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed to the intention of maintaining that regime" (See UNO Doc.: A/CONF.183/9, 7 para. 2, h)).
86. Crimean Tatars as it was shown in the Background have had a long period of the existence as a sovereign nation. Tsar’s Russia destroyed their statehood but nevertheless the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1921 - 1944 was established as a national and political autonomy of Crimean Tatar People in the framework of the regime of the USSR. The process of the restoration of Human Rights of the Crimean Tatar People naturally expects to have the problem of legal determination and definition of the status of this people in Ukraine.
87. The transfer of the Crimean peninsula, native land of Crimean Tatars, was made when Crimean Tatar People was factually held in concentration camps. Thus the importance of this question is growing obviously. The most acceptable is the concept of Indigenous People including the Right for internal Self-Determination, which allows the Ukrainian State to preserve its territorial integrity and at the same time to promote the vital interests of Crimean Tatars. However the right of self determination of Crimean Tatar People was not an object to the Ukraine's attention, in spite of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People has insistently and repeatedly tried to draw attention of the President, Parliament and Government of Ukraine to the necessity of legal settlement of a state and a status related issues of Crimean Tatar People in Ukraine.
88. The Law on National Minorities of Ukraine is absolutely not enough to guarantee the realization of the Human Rights of Crimean Tatar people because it define only some cultural and linguistic rights but not political, economic and social ones. On the other hand this law provides the rights of the minorities who are the majorities in any region in fact. Crimean Tatars are practically in minority in all administrative districts of their Motherland, in the smallest ones. However the Government doesn't want to consider the situation and undertake an adequate measures.
89. Only the citizens of Ukraine shall be considered a National Minority in accordance with the article 3 of the Law on National Minorities. Those national groups or the parts of the national groups who do not have Ukrainian citizenship are excluded from the consideration totally.
90. Over a half of the returned Crimean Tatars are not citizens of Ukraine. Thus, Ukraine can make differences, exceptions, restrictions or privileges between citizens and non-citizens of Ukraine. The lack of citizenship by Crimean Tatars was artificially created. The Crimean Tatars were forcibly deported by Stalin's regime in 1944 from Crimea to Uzbekistan and other republics of Central Asia. In April of 1997 the Law "On changes and additions to the Law "On citizenship of Ukraine" was brought in force. In order to obtain citizenship of Ukraine, Crimean Tatars have to reject any citizenship because law of Ukraine prohibits double citizenship.
91. During the decades when Crimean Tatar have been prohibited to return from the exile to their motherland. Those who returned suffered from repression, committed by the authorities of former Ukrainian Soviet Social Republic. Thus, the lack of citizenship of Ukraine by most part of the Crimean Tatars was created by fault of Government of Ukrainian Soviet Socialistic Republic. However Ukraine considers Crimean Tatars foreigners with all consequences following from it.
92. Currently over 70.000 Crimean Tatars at the 18 years old and elder have no Ukrainian citizenship. As a rule their children cannot obtain Ukrainian citizenship, that roughly contradicts to the Convention on Children rights.
93. Those Crimean Tatars are that non-citizens are restricted from:
- Employment in a broadly defined civil service (fax department, courts, government, etc.);
- There isn't free higher education in state universities for them, it is more expensive, and certain faculties are closed (e.g. law school);
- Voting in national and regional elections;
- Travel abroad;
- Participate in privatization of household plots and enterprises.
- Apart from this, according to national legislation a non-citizen can be exiled from country. Thus, all Crimean Tatars who can not obtain Ukrainian citizenship, can potentially be deported from Crimea and Ukraine.
94. In fact the most part of the Russian population in Crimea have second citizenship from Russia. A lot of representatives of other minorities - Greeks, Bulgarians, immigrants of from Russia also have dual citizenship of country of their origin outside of Ukraine. They obtain the second citizenship without informing state bodies of government, so Ukrainian authorities are not able to control or prevent this process. However Crimean Tatars don't claim to the second citizenship, but the citizenship of Ukraine, because their motherland - Crimea -is located outside of Ukraine. Therefore Crimean Tatars are entirely depended from the position of authorities of Ukraine. Thus, the institute of citizenship is used as restrictive measure mainly toward the Crimean Tatars.
95. The situation partly had changed since August of 1998 due to the exchange of notes between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Now till December 31, 1999 those Crimean Tatars who want to give up the Uzbekistan citizenship can do it free of charge and simultaneously apply to Ukrainian authorities for the confirmation of the belonging to the Ukrainian citizenship. However these rules are spread only over the directly-suffered deportees but their wives or husbands of other nationalities. Time limitations are too short. This agreement is practically unknown for those Crimean Tatars are still living in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan authorities do nothing to promote the information concerning this procedure. It is clear that after December 31st the Government of Uzbekistan will finish this procedure and Ukrainian Government will not extend it. So, about 50 % of Crimea Tatars, who still have not come back will face the same problems in the nearest feature.
96. "Citizenship is one example of the difficulties of the Crimean Tatar population in formalizing their situation in Crimea. In interviews with the local Mejlis representatives and in community meetings, citizenship was mentioned as a priority of the population in the contexts of continued employment in government agencies and discrimination.
97. Other issues mentioned included the necessity of obtaining an autonomous status for the Crimean Tatars, political rehabilitation, limitation of discrimination and harassment, the lack of cash for adequate heating of homes, and appropriate recreational activities for youths". (European Series, Social Assessment of the Formerly Deported Population in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea: A Participatory Rapid Appraisal by UNHCR, Regional Bureau for Europe, European Series, Volume 4, No l, April 1998, p.42).
1. The Parties undertake to guarantee to persons belonging to national minorities the right of equality before the law and of equal protection of the law. In this respect, any discrimination based on belonging to a national minority shall be prohibited. 2. The Parties undertake to adopt, where necessary, adequate measures in order to promote, in all areas of economic, social, political and cultural life, full and effective equality between persons belonging to a national minority and those belonging to the majority. In this respect, they shall take due account of the specific conditions of the persons belonging to national minorities. 3. The measures adopted in accordance with paragraph 2 shall not be considered to be an act of discrimination
Political Non and Under-Representation
98. In electoral campaign of 1994 the Crimean Tatars put forward 22 candidates to the Crimean Parliament by majority districts and 5 candidates to the Parliament of Ukraine. None of Crimean Tatar's candidate has got a position in Crimean Parliament, due to the obstruction of the electors of other national groups, who are in absolute majority in all districts.
99. Nevertheless in 1994, 14 Crimean Tatars deputies had seats in the Supreme Soviet of Autonomous Republic of the Crimea (the Parliament). All of them were nominated by Kurultay of Crimean Tatar People. The Supreme Council of Crimea in 1993 gave one term quota of 14 Crimean Tatars mandates in Parliament. But this decision was not a result of a good will the Parliament’s majority. The quota was received by Crimean Tatars through mass civil protest actions, including blockade of railways in the fall of 1993. A great political tension pushed the local authorities (not Ukrainian Government) toward negotiations. In result, a temporary compromise was reached. Nowadays, this quota was abolished.
100. However, Ukraine in its forth periodic report on Implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights submitted to Human Rights Committee on 20 July 1994, under Article 27 (rights of minorities) declared that: "...the equality of rights is not recognized by the Ukrainian authorities in a merely formal and legalistic fashion. When these rights are being implemented account is taken of the actual situation and the real position of a particular national minority. For instance, the process of return and rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatar people requires special attention and a special policy from the State, including a policy on organizing State power and making it effective. As a result under the Constitution of the Autonomous republic of the Crimea the Crimean Tatar People obtained a separate quota in its Supreme Council”. (UNO Doc.: CCPR/C/95/Add.2, 223) It is not in accordance with reality, because neither previous Constitution of Crimea, nor present one provides any representation of Crimean Tatars.
101. In January of 1995 a Deputy group of Crimean Tatars in Crimean parliament which was existing that time only due to the quota (that was by positive way noted in the Conclusion Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of UNO at the 28th of December of 1995) had achieved the agreement with other factions about the procedure of the elections of local self-government in Crimea. The principle was that Crimean Tatars and other formerly deported national minorities as a Greeks, Germans, Bulgarians, Armenians have a number of mandates in the cities and district councils proportionally to their presence in the population of those units. In March of 1995 the Ukrainian Parliament abolished this law. After numerous protests of Crimean Tatars the Ukrainian Parliament in April of 1995 adopted a new demagogic procedure so it was unable to implement. During 2 weeks 150 000 Crimean Tatar's voters were told to write and prepare special applications to the authorities that ask to be allowed to elect their deputies in separate districts. Naturally Crimean Tatars boycotted this procedure and those elections.
102. In accordance with the Law of Ukraine on National Minorities the Non-Governmental Associations of Nationalities shall have a right to put forward the candidates for the general elections. But the Law on the elections doesn't have this provision, so the electoral commission refused to register the candidates proposed by those associations.
103. In accordance with the Law on Elections in the regions where the National Minorities live, special electoral districts must be arranged the way that National Minorities' voters should constitute more then 1/2 of all voters. The Crimean Tatars faction in the Supreme Council of Crimea (had been existing that time) officially applied to the Central electoral Commission of Ukraine in February of 1998 claiming to arrange that district in Crimea. No response was received.
104. Currently, no legislative act provides an effective representation, political participation and self-government of Crimean Tatar People including the rights of self-determination. So the situation is as follows
105. In 1998 Ukrainian Government firstly deprived those Crimean Tatars who had not obtained Ukrainian citizenship of the right to vote. But:
106. the exclusion of those Crimean Tatars from the elections transgresses the Agreement on the questions relating to restoration of rights of deported persons, national minorities and peoples, which states: "Parties shall provide deported persons voluntary returning to places of their residence on moment of deportation with conditions for settlement, education, national, cultural and spiritual development as well as political, economical and social rights equally with the citizens constantly live there"
107. the lack of Ukrainian citizenship was the consequence of the provisions of the Ukrainian law, which didn't allow Crimean Tatars to apply for it (see above).
108. in accordance with article 22 of the Constitution of Ukraine it is prohibited to abolish or to reduce the Human Rights established earlier. Crimean Tatars were allowed to take part in the elections of 1994 (Parliamentarian and Presidential) independently of the Ukrainian citizenship. So it was the conscious action aimed to eliminate the political rights of the Crimean Tatar People.
109. Nevertheless in March of 1998 two deputies of Crimean Tatars were elected to Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. They are Mustafa Dzhemilev - Chairman of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (from the Rukh Party’s ticket) and Refat Chubarov. Ukrainian Government uses this fact for the suggestions that the right to the political representation of the Crimean Tatars exists actually as it was with the representation in Crimean Parliament earlier. But the result was, a minor achievement by the Crimean Tatars since they have fail in election at all other levels of the State bodies. An important point is that the representation in the Ukrainian Parliament is still in question because if there won't be special legal procedures to ensure it the Crimean Tatars will always be in a risqué to loose that representation as it happened in Crimea at the elections of 1998. Crimean Tatars can't be sure that any political party will include their candidates in the advantageous position. And they have their own interests, which should be presented in Ukrainian parliament without dependence on the views of any Ukrainian party or Government.
110. While the 1998 elections to the Supreme Council of the Crimea 70 Crimean Tatars were put forward as candidates at 44 of 100 polling districts. In 20 of them, only one candidate of Crimean Tatar was presented and in 24 two and more candidates were represented. None of the representatives of Crimean Tatars was elected to Supreme Council of the Crimea. Among newly elected deputies to local councils at all levels 579 persons of Crimean Tatars were elected as follows:
- in district councils - 40 persons (5,1 % of general number of deputies);
- in settlement's councils - 32 persons (3,9 %);
- in rural councils - 489 persons (11,8 %);
- in municipal councils of district significance - 12 persons (8,8 %);
- in district councils of Simferopol - 6 persons (4,9 %);
- 5 persons were elected as head of rural councils.
111. The Election Observation Mission of OSCE and PACE marked in their Preliminary Joint Statement issued on March 13, 1998 that “further steps could have been taken to ensure full participation of Returned Tatars in the election and a better possibility for them to be represented in the Crimean Parliament”. Specially describing the situation in the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea it emphasizes “out of a total of 165 000 Crimean Tatar returnees of voting age only approximately 80 000 are Ukrainian citizens and thus enjoy the right to vote. Of the remaining 85 000 non – citizens, approximately 15 000 are stateless and 70 000 are citizens of other CIS states? Mostly Uzbekistan. The Election Observation Mission strongly supports the efforts of the OSCE Mission to Ukraine and High Commissioner on National Minorities to simplify procedures for issuing citizenship to all returned Tatars. The Observation Mission regrets the failure of initiatives for granting returnees with permanent residence, regardless of citizenship, the right to vote. Such an arrangement was made for the 1994 parliamentary elections, and by repeating the arrangement the representative nature of the Crimean Parliament would have been greatly increased.
112. The 100 deputies to the Crimean Parliament are elected in single – member majoritarian constituencies. The quotas for the national minorities which existed in the outgoing Parliament have been abolished. The new system does not guarantee a population of the size of the Tatars (11%) representation in the local parliament, because Crimean Tatars settlements are widely scattered throughout the peninsula with no large concentrations. The Election Observation Mission strongly regrets that a system guaranteeing representation for a significant minority has not been established in the Crimean Parliament.”
113. The issue is further compounded due to Crimean Tatars have only a few participat