Comment by Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation, on recent searches in the houses of Crimean Tatars

November 20, 2017

Searches that have been conducted over the past weeks in the houses of Crimean Tatars, as well as the subsequent detention and seizure of assets of several individuals, are illegal. The European Union does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.

The European Union expects Russia to reverse the decision to ban the activities of Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, and respect the rights of the Crimean Tatars, including those of freedom of assembly and expression. All illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in the Crimean Peninsula and in Russia must be released immediately.

As recently reported by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula has led to the "arbitrary implementation of Russian Federation criminal law provisions designed to fight terrorism, extremism and separatism, which have restricted the right to liberty and security of the person and the space for the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms".

As recommended in that report, the Russian Federation security services must put an end to police actions, including house searches, summons, detentions, taking of DNA samples, targeting disproportionately members of the Crimean Tatar community.

The European Union is made up of 28 countries and the people of those countries. It is a unique political and economic partnership founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule of law and human rights. Over more than fifty years we have created a zone of peace, democracy, stability and prosperity on our continent while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The EU looks to share its values and achievements with neighbouring countries and peoples and those farther afield.