Imprisonment of Disabled People in Crimea Is Secured Torture – Human Rights Defenders

Penitentiary institutions in the temporarily occupied Crimea are not adapted for people with disabilities, such people are not provided with medical care there, with their staying in these institutions transforming into torture. This was announced by Maria Yasenovska, President of ‘Public Alternative’, during the press conference at UKRINFORM. According to her, while Ukraine has a penitentiary institution for people with disabilities, there are none in Russia, and in the occupied Crimea, too.

‘The lack of such institutions on the peninsula, the unpreparedness of the penitentiary service medical system to provide appropriate services to people with disabilities leads to making a sentence served by disabled persons, in fact, a guaranteed torture for them,’ Ms.Yasenovska said.

Olha Skrypnyk, Chairperson of Crimean Human Rights Group board, noted that people with disabilities in penitentiary institutions in Crimea were, in fact, deprived of medical care. In general, the situation with respecting the rights of disabled people in Crimea has significantly worsened after the occupation of the peninsula: a system of political persecution was built.

‘We recorded cases when a person with complex diseases was sent to a pre-trial detention center, and the sufferings they experienced there due to non-compliance with all standards. Failure to provide medical care was real torture. Moreover, the FSB can use a person’s illness, trying to pressure such people through pain, deliberately leaving them without medical care.’

In addition, as Ms.Skrypnyk noted, people became disable due to torture and inhuman conditions of detention in the penitentiary institutions in Crimea and Russia. For instance, this happened to Oleksandr Kostenko, from whom the FSB was beating out a confession. His hand was not operated on in time, and as a result he became disabled.

In addition, according to human rights defenders, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, aimed at protecting the rights and dignity of people, is not in force in the occupied Crimea. The occupiers use medical and charitable models of disability. Thus, the medical model does not take into account the opinion of people with disabilities, instead, the opinion of medical experts, society, and authorities is considered important.

‘People with disabilities in Crimea are deprived of the principle “Nothing about us without us”. This contradicts the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was ratified not only by Ukraine, but also by Russia. Pursuant to this convention, disability should be considered as a set of challenges that people face in accessing their rights due to barriers in the society. The convention promotes a human rights approach, according to which failure to remove such barriers is a violation of human rights and discrimination,” Ms.Yasenovska noted.

According to her words, changes in many areas introduced by the Russian authorities do not take into account the needs of people with disabilities.

‘Also, there are no organizations on the occupied peninsula that could protect the rights and defend the interests of people with disabilities. Only organizations engaged in certain services, such as distribution of humanitarian aid, organization of holidays, etc., are acting,” the expert noted.

As mentioned, after the announcement of the mobilization in Crimea, human rights defenders have recorded cases when people with disabilities were handed draft notices.

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