On Wednesday, 24 April, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Saeima adopted a statement on the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars and expressing support for the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea. The statement cites evidence of a deliberate genocide by the Soviet regime against many nations and ethnic groups living in the Soviet Union and its occupied territories, including the Crimean Tatars, in order to destroy their cultural and social heritage and historical presence on the Crimean Peninsula and to force the Crimean Tatars out of their homeland.
In the statement, the Foreign Affairs Committee recaps that five years ago Russia illegally annexed Crimea and condemns the Russia's policy of repression and violence against the Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea.
According to Rihards Kols, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Crimean Tatars who refuse Russian citizenship and do not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea are facing discrimination: "They are being denied access to education and health care, they are denied the right to speak their own language and nurture their traditions and culture. It is unthinkable that Crimean Tatars are being violently repressed, persecuted and forced to leave their homeland for the second time in a 75-year period. It is frightening to imagine that history might repeat itself."
The statement urges the international community and authorities to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars and to monitor the current developments in Crimea. "Being well aware of the gravity of this statement, we are calling a spade a spade — deportations that took place 75 years ago and the terror taking place now should be considered a genocide committed by the Soviet regime," said R.Kols.
At the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee, where the statement was adopted by seven votes in favour and one against, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on the situation in Crimea, and after the vote Olexandr Mischenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Latvia and Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and a member of the Verkhovna Rada, reported on the current situation and potential future scenarios in Ukraine, with both officials expressing appreciation of the support Latvia provides to Ukraine.
Commenting on the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea, R.Chubarov stated that: "Crimean Tatars cannot wait, for example, 50 years for Crimea to be returned to Ukraine and for our persecution to end. There are only 300 000 of us, and in 50 years’ time we might not exist anymore."
R.Kols stated that the draft decision will be submitted to the Saeima for consideration at the Plenary Session of 16 may.
Saeima Press Service