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What Actions Should Be Taken by Ukrainian Government to Efficiently Reintegrate the Peninsula?

On March 28, 2024, online presentation of the report “Developing Comprehensive Vision and Recommendations for Ukrainian Government Authorities to Overcome Occupation Effects and Challenges of AR Crimea and Sevastopol City Reintegration in Information, Educational, Scientific, Cultural, and Religious Spheres” produced by HUMANITARIAN POLICY WG of CRIMEA PLATFORM Expert Network, and its recommendations was held. The event was attended by officials of embassies, diplomatic institutions, and international organizations including representatives of the UK, Lithuania, Switzerland, the Slovak Republic, etc.

Special aspects of the humanitarian policy in Crimea were discussed and major actions to be taken by the Ukrainian government for the efficient peninsula integration were highlighted during the event moderated by Ms. Iryna Baran, a Crimean Human Rights Group manager for international advocation and an expert of HUMANITARIAN POLICY WG of CRIMEA PLATFORM Expert Network.

Ms. Hayana Yuksel, Prof. Assistant of the V.I.Vernadskyi Tavria National University, a member of the Crimean Tatar People Mejlis, described in more detail the information policy to be implemented after the de-occupation of Crimea: “I sincerely believe that it is the information sphere that will become one of the most relevant in the early days of de-occupation, because historical experience shows that major social reformations take place in almost the same sequence: first – the military sphere, then – the administrative sphere, and then – the information one”. “And it will not just be about setting up a newspaper or radio, but about strategic communications and establishing a healthy exchange of information in the society and preventing the spread of fakes, untruth, and, accordingly, panic and destructiveness in the society,” she said.

The cultural aspect and the activity in this sphere are not less relevant, as presented by Ms. Evelina Kravchenko, PhD (History), a senior researcher of Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. “Recommendations in the field of culture have been developed by the working group in two aspects. The first is the development of policies in the field of culture to determine the future practical part of reintegration measures. The reintegration measures would result as we see, in an inclusion policy in the culture for Crimeans, a polyethnic inclusive national cultural space that has been formed up in Crimea. The second is in-depth reforms of protecting and managing the cultural values in Ukraine as a whole. These reforms have become essential when the Russian war against Ukraine started, since the occupation of Crimea has exposed critical bottlenecks of inefficiency of valid Ukrainian laws and administration in the sector”, Ms. Kravchenko said.

Ms. Daryna Pidhorna, a lawyer of the Regional Human Rights Center, who is also a WG expert, thinks that Ukraine should be ready for de-occupation and reintegration: policies and procedures should be developed, instruments should be prepared, people should be trained. She shared specific steps to be taken by the State in this aspect: “We have to admit that the current policies of managing the sphere of culture in Ukraine are not perfect and need significant changes. Ukrainian culture and identity must become a subject of Ukraine’s national security. The State should also:

– bring the national law of Ukraine into line with the international law provisions as well as ratify the Rome Statute of the ICC and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects of 1995;

– include violations against cultural heritage since 2014 in the existing registers of damages;

– increase a sanction pressure on the persons committing crimes against the cultural heritage of Ukraine during the armed conflict, including imposing sector and personal sanctions.”

She added that it is important to refuse cooperation or promotion of Russian culture abroad in any possible way: “Russian culture is not about culture, it is about politics and dissemination of threatening imperialist narratives. Why, at a time when the Russian state is destroying the culture and identity of Ukraine, the event “Splendor of Artistic Heritage of Russia – Works of Graduates of the Federal Higher School of Folk Arts in St. Petersburg” is to be held in the very center of UNESCO in April 2024? Should this be really allowed?”

The full text of the report submitted may be read at this site.

The event was held by the Crimean Human Rights Group and HUMANITARIAN POLICY WG of CRIMEA PLATFORM Expert Network

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