STRASBOURG – Almost three months after Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula, Crimean Tatars have announced plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over violations of their rights under the Russian regime.
“Human rights violations in Crimea will be moved to the ECHR,” Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev was quoted by Anadolu Agency in France's Strasbourg on Thursday, June 26.
According to Jemilev, the UN human rights agency (UNHCR) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have documented various cases of human rights violations in the peninsula.
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“After the March 16 referendum in Crimea, Russian authorities have pushed the Tatars in Crimean to accept Russian citizenship," Jemilev said.
"If any Crimean Tatars do not want to accept Russian citizenship or refuse Russian passports, they are being deemed as foreigners within three months."
The 300,000-strong Muslim minority makes up less than 15% of Crimea's population of 2 million and has so far been overwhelmingly opposed to Russia's annexation of the peninsula.
The Russian move to annex Crimea followed an earlier vote in March on the peninsula’s future.
The referendum, approved by 96%, was followed by several steps from pro-Moscow Crimean parliament, issuing a law that allows Russia’s annexation of the disputed peninsula.
The hastily organized March 16 referendum was boycotted by Tatars who rejected as held at gunpoint under the gaze of Russian soldiers.
After Russian annexation of Crimea, fears of Muslim Tatars were doubled, voicing concerns over losing freedom and reviving the memories of exile and prosecution they faced in 1940s.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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