Facts Collected by CHRG Included into US Department of State Human Rights Report

The US State Department published 2020 Ukraine Human Rights Report that included, inter alia, violations of human rights by Russia in Crimea.

A major part of the data used in the report are based on the information of the Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG).

Significant human rights issues highlighted in the report included: forced disappearances and abductions; torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of detainees n prisons and pre-trial detention centers by the Russian “authorities”, including punitive psychiatry; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; as well as the illicit transfer of Ukrainian nationals to the territory of the Russian Federation; arbitrary arrests; political persecution; significant issues with the independence of the occupying judiciary; restrictions on freedom of expression, including violence, threats of violence, or unjustified arrests and prosecution against journalists; censorship and blocking of sites; substantial interference with freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, including the activity of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People; severe restrictions on religious freedom of faith, etc.

According to the Crimean Human Rights Group, “the use of torture by the FSB and the Russian police against Ukrainian citizens has become consistent and unpunished.”

Significant attention in the report is paid to the conditions of detention in prisons and pre-trial detention centers. The monitoring data of the Crimean Human Rights Group were included not only in the report, but also in the June interim report of the UN Secretary General stating that unsatisfactory conditions in places of detention in Crimea “can be equated with inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.

According to information received from the CHRG and other human rights organizations, prisons in Crimea are overcrowded, medical care for prisoners is insufficient, with detainees complaining of repeated beatings and humiliating strip searches by prison guards. The overcrowding of the cells has forced the inmates to take turns to sleep.

The document notes that according to the Crimean Human Rights Group, detainees in the Simferopol Pre-trial Detention Center have complained about poor sanitary conditions, broken WCs and insufficient heating. Inmates diagnosed with HIV, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases were kept in one cell. The detainees were reported to have been denied medical assistance even in serious cases.

The Report also states that the occupation authorities do not allow independent non-governmental observers or international organizations to monitor the conditions of detention in prisons and pre-trial detention centers.

The section of the report dedicated to freedom of the press and the media, including online media, points out that independent media in the occupied territory cannot operate freely. Most independent media outlets were forced to close down in 2015 when the occupation authorities had refused to register them.

According to the Crimean Human Rights Group, once the occupation had started, many local journalists left Crimea or abandoned their profession. Without independent media, professional journalists who remained in Crimea faced serious risks when reporting from the peninsula. And civil activists have become the main sources of information about the events in Crimea

The occupation authorities have banned the broadcasting of most shows and programmes in the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages, replacing them with Russian-language content.

For a full report in English, use this link 

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