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Crimean Tatars warn Council of Europe of possible conflict in the Crimea

07.02.2008   

Participants in the protest action in Simferopol calling for land to be allocated for the construction of an Assembly (Coborna) Mosque have appealed to the Council of Europe. They are calling for the issue of repatriants’ to be considered at the Council of Europe conference on Ukraine’s regional development to be held in Yalta in April this year.

The letter mentions systematic discrimination by the Crimean regional authorities.  The authors assert that a difficult social situation has developed which could lead to open conflict.

Criticism is also directed at the recent decision of the Simferopol City Council which refused to allocate the land previously agreed for the construction of the Mosque.  Those involved in the protest have called on Halvdan Skard, President of the CE Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to send representatives to the Crimea to study the human rights situation and resolution of urgent issues related to the repatriation of the Crimean Tatars.

As we have already reported, the Crimean Prosecutor has also appealed against the decision taken by the City Council.

On 23 January Muslims in the Crimea began an indefinite protest action alleging discrimination on religious and ethnic grounds. They held a picket and prayer service in the place where the Simferopol City Council had previously given permission to build the Soborna Mosque.  At one of the last sessions, the Council’s deputies reversed this decision which has prompted the Muslims of Crimea to call on Kyiv to dissolve the Council and hold new elections for Mayor of Simferopol.

In November 2007 Crimean Tatar civic organizations approached the OSCE Human Rights Commissioner “over the ever-increasing discriminatory policy of the Ukrainian government with regard to the Crimean Tatar people”.

Based on information from www.korespondent.net

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