First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar took part in the 12th UNESCO information meeting on the situation in the occupied Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
"Emine Dzheppar spoke about the continuing deterioration of the situation on the occupied peninsula. She drew attention to the destruction of the World Heritage sites, human rights violations and oppression of national minorities, restrictions on freedom of religion, suppression of independent media, violations of international humanitarian law by the Russian-occupation administration," the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine informs.
The First Deputy Minister pointed out the demographic changes carried out by the Russian occupation-administration through the resettlement of Russian citizens to the Crimean Peninsula, discrimination against Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities, and the systematic violation of their linguistic and cultural rights.
The meeting was also attended by UNESCO Assistant Director-General Firmin Edouard Matoko, representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), Amnesty International and UNESCO member states.
During the event, Permanent Delegate of Poland to UNESCO Magdalena Marcinkowska issued a joint statement on behalf of 30 UNESCO member states.
The statement condemns Russia's systemic repressive policies against media freedom, persecution of journalists, restrictions on access to religious institutions, and the militarization of educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. Delegations are concerned about reports of illegal archeological excavations, harmful conservation works and the illegal transfer of cultural property.
UNESCO member states call on Russia to ensure unhindered access of international human rights mechanisms to the territory of Crimea.
In addition, the statement emphasizes that UNESCO should continue to be guided by the provisions of UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/262 “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine” of 27 March 2014.
Dzheppar thanked the countries that supported the decision of the 210th session of the UNESCO Executive Board in January this year to continue UNESCO's monitoring of the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The First Deputy Minister invited UNESCO member states to participate in the Crimean Platform summit and called on the organization to make a practical contribution to the implementation of the objectives of this international coordination mechanism.
As reported, the Crimean Platform is a new consultative and coordination format initiated by Ukraine to improve the efficiency of the international response to the occupation of Crimea, respond to growing security challenges, step up international pressure on Russia, prevent further human rights violations, protect victims of the occupying power and to achieve the de-occupation of Crimea and its return to Ukraine.
The Crimean Platform is expected to operate at the level of heads of state and government, foreign ministers, in the dimension of inter-parliamentary cooperation and expert network.
The Crimean Platform is to be launched officially at an inaugural summit in Kyiv in 2021.