Since Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, Crimean Tatars’ land and right to exist freely have been taken away. Our rights have been grossly violated for nearly a decade, with acts of genocide systematically committed against us.

The Russian media constantly focuses on the rights of Russians and Russian speakers in Ukrainian territory, ignoring the fact that the state language in Ukraine is Ukrainian and that the indigenous people of Ukraine are the Crimean Tatars, who have the right to study and develop their own language and culture.
Prior to the Russian invasion of Crimea in 1783, when imperial policy was aimed at expelling the indigenous Crimean Tatar people from their native land, Tatars accounted for between 80-90% of the population. Soviet authorities continued this ideology in the mid-20th century, deporting the entire Crimean Tatar people in 1944.
Over the past decade, social media in Crimea has been rife with derogatory and insulting comments towards the Crimean Tatars. Comments on social media are largely centred around the elimination of the Crimean Tatars from Crimea, with no punitive action or legal consequences for the perpetrators of hate speech. There have been no fines, court summonses or preventive measures taken, let alone arrests, despite the perpetuation of such hateful rhetoric.
In 2023, simply existing as a Crimean Tatar on one’s own land and fighting to preserve one’s cultural identity can result in imprisonment for years on end. Russian authorities have been known to punish Crimean Tatars for expressing their beliefs and advocating for their rights with sentences 15 or sometimes more than 20 years.   Since 2014, routine searches specifically targeting the homes of Crimean Tatars have become distressingly common in Crimea, coupled with subsequent arrests based on false accusation.

Since 2014, more than 200 Ukrainians have been imprisoned in Crimea on false charges, of which 80% are Crimean Tatars. Crimean Tatars continue to be consistently destroyed.

 Repressions against Crimean Tatars have persisted, marked by accusations solely based on their ethnicity and their unwavering fight for Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The relentless onslaught against the Crimean Tatar people is nothing short of a genocide.

It is imperative that the genocidal actions targeting the Crimean Tatar people are brought to a halt.  The international human rights community, if it wishes to maintain its credibility, must take action to stop the arbitrary arrests and detentions of those who have been wrongfully convicted.