Crimea in the dark. The silencing of dissent.

Index number: EUR 50/5330/2016. Since the Russian occupation and annexation of Crimea in February-March 2014, the Russian and de facto local authorities, have demanded total submission to this brute fact. With most opponents of Crimea’s annexation harassed into exile or silence, Crimean Tatar leaders and activists have been the most organized focus of opposition, and have borne the brunt of the repression. Their representative structure, the Mejlis, was banned as an “extremist” organisation and any association with it has been outlawed; its leaders have been exiled or prosecuted on a range of trumped up charges; several have been forcibly disappeared. The most popular Crimean Tatar-language media outlets have been forced to close and have been blocked from reaching their audiences in Crimea via the internet. Public protest has been extinguished. Beyond the fundamental political questions relating to Crimea’s annexation, Russia remains bound by the full range of international human rights law. It has shown that it is only too happy to flout these as it seeks to consolidate its hold on peninsula. Those silenced and bullied need others, internationally, to speak out alongside them.


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