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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at Arria-Formula Meeting on Crimea

Thank you, Minister,


I want to thank our briefers this morning and in particular Mr Memedeminov for his courage and his work on the ground in Crimea. 


Minister, I also want to say at the outset that Ireland strongly supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as diplomatic efforts to achieve this. In this regard, we underline the importance of respect for and timely implementation of judicial decisions.  In line with our respect for the fundamental principles of international law, Ireland does not recognize the illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.


We have heard today Minister of the deeply worrying human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula.


Residents of the peninsula face restrictions of their human rights and their fundamental freedoms, such as the rights to freedom of expression, religion, belief and association and the right to peaceful assembly.


The situation of Crimean Tatars is of particular concern.  They, along with Ukrainians and all ethnic and religious minorities in the peninsula, must be allowed to maintain their identities and traditions. Likewise, we call for the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in conflict resolution efforts on the peninsula.


Journalists like Mr Memedeminov, other media workers, human rights defenders and defence lawyers must be able to work independently and without undue interference and intimidation.


Ireland welcomes the valuable work being done by Ukrainian human rights organisations. It is crucial that the regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms as well as the non-governmental human rights organisations have unimpeded access to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.


Ireland calls for the immediate release of all imprisoned human rights defenders and of Ukrainian citizens in Crimea who have been illegally detained, and sentenced in breach of international law.


We call for reports of human rights violations and abuses such as enforced disappearances and torture to be fully investigated. There can be no impunity for violations of human rights.


Minister, we are deeply disturbed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM)’s freedom of movement continues to be restricted and that this Mission’s equipment has been damaged or interfered with. Let me recall that all the signatories of the Minsk Agreements agreed on the need for the Special Monitoring Mission’s safe and secure access to the entire territory of Ukraine.


We call on the Russian Federation to stop changing the demographic structure in Crimea through resettlement of its own civilian population to the peninsula. Furthermore, Ireland stresses that under international humanitarian law, the population in Crimea cannot be compelled to serve in the Russian armed or auxiliary forces, nor be subjected to forced transfer or deportation.


We underline that militarization of the Crimean peninsula continues to have a negative impact on the security situation in the Black Sea region and beyond. We call on Russia to refrain from impeding the lawful exercise of navigational rights and freedoms to and from the Sea of Azov in accordance with international law and for peace and prosperity in the region.


Finally Minister, like others we also recognize the significant economic toll this conflict has had on people in the region, including the most vulnerable members of society. 


Thank you Minister.

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