Foreign Policy Research Institute

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Foreign Policy Research Institute

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INTERNATIONAL WEEKLY № 21 (15.11.2018 – 30.11.2018)

What does the new draft of the Crimean UN resolution includes?

The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly approved an updated draft resolution entitled" The Situation of Human Rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol (Ukraine)» on Thursday, November 15. 67 countries voted for the draft resolution. Against voted 26 countries: Armenia, Belarus, Bolivia, Burundi, Cambodia, China, Cuba, DPRK, Eritrea, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Russia, Serbia, South Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Zimbabwe. "The UN General Assembly resolution contains provisions on the fate of the Ukrainian political prisoners in the Kremlin. The daily struggle for their release continues. International responsibility for aggression, occupation, violation of human rights is inevitable. “Grateful to UN Member States for their unwavering solidarity with Ukraine,” Petro Poroshenko wrote in his Twitter. “This resolution is about the Ukrainians, whom Russia is unable to bring to its knees and who are supported by the democratic civilized world”, – Klimkin added.

On December 19, 2017, the UN General Assembly finally approvedthe previous resolution entitled " The Situation of Human Rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol (Ukraine)". Then 70 countries supported the document, 26 voted against, 76 abstained. Belarus, Armenia, Russia, Syria, Zimbabwe and other countries voted against the resolution.[1]

The text of the resolution notes that since the occupation of the peninsula for 4 consecutive years, the Russian authorities have been using torture to obtain false testimony for politically motivated cases. The document also states the need for the immediate release of Ukrainian prisoners of the Kremlin, in particular – Oleg Sentsov, Volodymyr Baluch and Crimean Tatar Emir-Usain Kuk. According to the decision of the most of UN countries, Moscow is required to stop any harassment of human rights against those who live in Crimea. The Russian Federation is urged to repeal laws on forced deportation, eviction and confiscation of property of the Crimeans. And also it is demanded to provide access to journalists and human rights defenders to monitor the human rights situation on the Peninsula without hindrance.[2]

If we analyze the extract from the new draft resolution on Crimea, a few interesting points can be singled out. Firstly, it is once again noted that Crimea is part of Ukraine, but it is important that the document calls for international institutions to call the territory the "Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which is temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation". In the future, it makes impossible for some international institution to oppose the position of most countries. It is likely that the resolution, as planned, will be voted in December, and it will become a certain marker for countries that will help them to understand how to act on this issue.

Of course, there were those who voted against this resolution earlier. Here it is necessary to distinguish the position of Belarus, since recently, President of Ukraine visited the country, after which we were told a lot about this state being impartial and that it may well become the mediator between Ukraine and Russia, as well as participate in the peacekeeping mission, and in the negotiations, and so on. We saw how "impartial" Belarus is – it never supported decisions that were fundamentally important for Ukraine, including when during the UN General Assembly, the country voted against the territorial integrity of our state in March 2014. Therefore, it must be remembered that Lukashenko's smiles and hugs are not apologies for his true behavior, therefore it's not worth to pay much attention to it. It has long been necessary to understand that Belarus is a military ally of Russia, and therefore in the Russian-Ukrainian war, it stands on the side of the Russian aggressor. Hence, along with the aggressor Belarus should be responsible for the aggression committed by Russia. Playing along with Russia Minsk tries to play the role of a "Trojan horse", portraying itself as a "peacemaker" and "mediator" in Ukrainian affairs.

Secondly, it is important that the draft resolution contains several names of Ukrainian prisoners, political prisoners. This increases the pressure on Russia to release prisoners.

Thirdly, the occupation of Crimea in Resolution is condemned as such, as well as the somewhat medieval behavior of a country which, while conquering foreign territories, forces local residents to fall under its jurisdiction. We are well aware that after Crimea was captured by Russia, conditions that were created made it impossible for locals to preserve their Ukrainian citizenship, that is, in fact, Russian citizenship was imposed on the local residents. In addition, the document condemns the involvement of Crimean residents in military operations.

Fourthlythe inadmissibility of changing the composition of the Crimean population is underlined. For example, the research by the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation proves that in Sevastopol to a greater extent and a little less in other cities, occurs a change of composition of the local Crimean population by those coming to the peninsula from the continental part of the Russian Federation.According to estimates, it is already about 170,000 people – this figure is higher than UN envoy Yelchenko voiced because not only official data provided by the Russian Federation took into account but also mediated data. For example, the amount of housing being built for the occupation authorities, the amount of mortgages given to the military servicemen and administrators of the occupiers, etc., as well as the information from our fellow citizens in Crimea, telling how much schools, kindergartens, and other institutions are loaded. Consequently, the new UN resolution will be important for fixing all of these crimes committed by Russia and, accordingly, exerting pressure on the state. Also, the document should oblige the UN Secretary General to establish a certain system for monitoring its implementation. And then it will be possible to try to use the UN system in order to press on the Russian Federation, using the UN bureaucracy.[3]

There is no doubt that the resolution entitled "The Situation of Human Rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol (Ukraine)" will be approved by the general vote in the UN General Assembly, which is expected in December. Nevertheless, the practical implementation of the document is a matter of serious concern, given that such resolutions on Crimea that were adopted earlier, and that the Russian Federation has not fulfilled any conditions of the resolutions of previous years. Therefore, raise questions about the effectiveness of such resolutions and whether the new resolution will help to solve human rights problem in Crimea, because the situation is getting worse.