Ukrainian World Congress joins in remembrance of victims on anniversary of deportation of Crimean Tatars from Ukraine
On 18 May 2018, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) and the 20-million strong Ukrainian diaspora join Crimean Tatars worldwide in remembrance on the 74thanniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars from Crimea.
On this day in 1944, on the order of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars were deported from the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine to various regions of the Soviet Union with close to half perishing either during the journey or within a year of being exiled. In 2015, the Parliament of Ukraine declared 18 May as the annual Day of Remembrance of the victims of the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people.
The Crimean Tatars had lived peacefully on the peninsula since their return in 1987 until the illegal occupation of Crimea by Russian forces in February 2014.
In 2018, history is being repeated as the Crimean Tatar people continue to face persecution, and the curtailment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Russian occupying forces. In 2017 alone, among activists who openly oppose the peninsula’s occupation by the Russian Federation, the Crimean Tatar Resource Center documented 4 deaths, 16 new political prisoners, 16 disappearances, 286 detainees, 340 interrogations, 62 searches, 46 arrests and 104 fines.
The UWC continues its efforts to highlight the plight of the Crimean Tatars in occupied Crimea, calling for the deployment of an OSCE monitoring mission to Crimea to reduce the number of human rights violations and to prevent the isolation of the peninsula’s residents from the West.
“May this day, on which we remember the victims of the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people, serve as a reminder of the fragility of human rights and strengthen the resolve of the international community to increase efforts to secure the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Crimean peninsula and the release of all illegally detained by the Russian Federation political prisoners,” stated UWC President Eugene Czolij.