On May 18, Ukraine commemorates the anniversary of the forceful deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland, the Crimean peninsula, under the rule of the Soviet dictator Stalin.
A total of more than 230,000 people were deported, mostly to the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. This included the entire ethnic Crimean Tatar population, at the time about a fifth of the total population of the Crimean Peninsula. More than 100,000 deportees died from starvation or disease as a direct result of deportation.
After the Russian annexation of the Crimea, the rights of the Crimean Tatars have been brutally oppressed. Numerous instances of human rights violations, persecution of activists and journalists for their pro-Ukrainian position have become the terrible reality for people living there. Freedom of speech has been significantly limited — almost all independent Crimean Tatar media had been shut down.
The Crimean Tatars have been banned from holding their annual commemoration of their deportation on May 18 by the Russian occupation authorities in Crimea.
Ukraine calls on the international community to condemn Russia’s illegal actions towards Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and human rights defenders. We call on world democracies to urge the Russian Federation let international organizations and human rights missions in Crimea do their job.