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Joint statement by Human Rights Commissioner Kofler and Coordinator Wiese on the commemoration of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars

On the occasion of the commemoration of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Dr Bärbel Kofler, and the Coordinator for Cross-Society Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership countries, Dirk Wiese, stated

“76 years ago, on Stalin’s orders, the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars, including women and children, began. Today we commemorate all those who lost their lives, friends and family and experienced immeasurable suffering as a result of the deportation. In exile, the survivors faced massive discrimination. Only in the 1980s were the Crimean Tatars able to return to their homeland.

Even today the Crimean Tatar people cannot live in freedom and independence. Since the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia, in violation of international law, the situation of the Crimean Tatars has worsened dramatically. They are victims of systematic violence and repression and are not allowed to practice their religion freely. The Medshlis, the central organ of their self-government, remains banned despite a temporary order by the International Court of Justice. Many Crimean Tatars have left their recently regained homeland.

We are concerned that more than 80 Crimean Tatars are being prosecuted by Russia on the basis of shady accusations, some of them far from their homeland and from their relatives. We call on Russia to fully guarantee the rights of the Crimean Tatar minority.”