Crimean Tatars reject referendum, affirm right to self-determination within Ukraine
On the eve of the referendum on the status of the Crimea declared unconstitutional by Ukraine's Constitutional Court and condemned by Ukraine's government and most democratic countries, the Crimean Tatars have reiterated their rejection of it. They affirm their right to self-determination within a sovereign and independent Ukrainian state. In an appeal passed on March 15 by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people to the Verkhovna Rada and to the entire Ukrainian nation, they:
1. affirm their recognition of Ukraine as a sovereign and independent state within its existing borders;
2. emphatically condemn the act of aggression by the Russian Federation and its plan for the annexation of the Crimea, viewing these acts as a flagrant violation of law, destabilizing the existing system of inter-state relations;
3. do not consider the Crimean referendum of 16 March 2014 held in order to join the Crimea's territorial allegiance to be legitimate or in accordance with international law and Ukraine's Constitution;
4. categorically reject any attempts to determine the future of the Crimea without the free expression of the will of the Crimean Tatar people - the indigenous people of the Crimea;
5. stress that the right to decide in which country the Crimean Tatar people should live belongs exclusively to the Crimean Tatars;
6. express their conviction that the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatar people and of their right to self-determination in their historical homeland must take place within the sovereign and independent Ukrainian state;
7. believe that any government in the Crimea must be formed and carry out their activities only on condition of the freely expressed will and consent of the Crimean Tatar people;
8. call on the Verkhovna Rada to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
9. call for the status of the Crimean Tatar people as indigenous people of the Crimea to be recognized and enshrined through Ukraine's laws and other legal acts;
10. call on the Verkhovna Rada and other higher state bodies in Ukraine without delay and together with international organizations (the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, EU) to safeguard the inalienable right of the Crimean Tatar people to self-determination in their historical homeland, the Crimea.
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