Saturday, January 17, 2015

Despite Efforts to Disrupt Meeting, Crimean Tatars Appeal to World to Defend Their Rights

Paul Goble


            Staunton, January 17 – Sixty-two delegates to the Second All-Crimea Conference for the Defense of the Rights of the Crimean Tatar People, today adopted appeals to Turkey, the United Nations and the Ukrainian government to defend their rights, despite the efforts of 30 young people in sports dress to disrupt the Simferopil meeting.


            Nariman Celal, the deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis which opposes the Russian occupation of the Ukrainian peninsula, addressed the meeting. His speech and those of others including the organizers were constantly interrupted by the young insurgents who refused to register and thus have the right to speak in turn.


            The precise allegiance of the protesters is unclear. They may have been from the rival and pro-Russian Kyyrym organization given that when they became rowdy, the police arrested several of them (, and


            The meeting appealed to UN Secretary General Pan Gi-Mun to “use his authority” not to allow “the destruction of the Crimean Tatar people” under Russian occupation and “not to permit the Russian government to draft young people into its army.”


            It also adopted an appeal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which it asked him to speak to the Ukrainian government on behalf of the Crimean Tatars and to help organize educational institutions for them in Ukraine’s Kherson oblast until such time as the occupation ends and the Crimean Tatars can restore and expand their educational system in their homeland.


            And the conference called on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian parliament, and the Ukrainian people to annual what it described as “the shameful Ukrainian law about the creation of a free economic zone ‘Crimea’ on the temporarily occupied territory” and to insist on a discussion of Crimean Tatar issues at the April UN security conference.


            Perhaps most importantly, the meeting called on Kyiv to “study the possibility of giving the Crimean Tatar people the international status of a third side in Russian-Ukrainian relations” and thus the ability to raise human rights and other issues in international judicial bodies, something the Crimean Tatars cannot do collectively now.



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