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Opposition over Crimean government plan for a register of “repatriants”

16.07.2008   
The Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar people does not oppose a register to record State assistance provided, but any register must be well-thought out and the present plans are not far off taking fingerprints en masse

The Crimean government is preparing to create a Combined Register of Repatriants. This will contain not only all the lists of Crimean Tatars formerly deported and their offspring, but also passport details and information about their housing and land sites, as well as any State assistance received. Most of the repatriated Crimean Tatars are against this. The Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar people has called on their compatriots to boycott the register.

Speaker of the Crimean Parliament Anatoly Hryshchenko has instructed the heads of cities and districts in the Crimea to complete the creation of the Combined Register by 1 September. He asserts that the creation of a full database will make it possible to monitor the distribution of land resources among formerly deported citizens and to finally resolve the land problem for those repatriated.

He is stressing the need for district State administrations to organize the required records- who has already been allocated a flat, who – a piece of land,  who has build a place at their own expense and who still really has an urgent need for land.

Not so fast

However, according to the Simferopol newspaper “Sobytiya” [“Events”], several heads of district administrations immediately approached the Crimean Government suggesting that they don’t be in such haste. The head of the Bakhchysarai Regional Administration says that it is simply impossible to get through such a lot of work in the short timeframe.

Will they want fingerprints next?

First Deputy Leader of the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar people, Refat Chubarov told Radio Svoboda that the creation of such a register which will include a huge amount of confidential information is in breach of the Constitution and current legislation. He added that the data could easily end up on the “black market” causing harm to the average repatriated person. 

Crimean expert Lenur Yunusov says that the authorities should instead put their efforts into creating a Land Cadastre for the Crimea and then it would be clear how much land Refat Chubarov and Lenur Yunusov have, and how much Hryshchenko or other officials. He considers that the creation of such a register would be justified after the adoption of a legislative act on reinstating the rights of the Crimean Tatar people clearly stipulating the terms “repatriant” and “formerly deported citizens and their offspring”. And the moment this idea arouses, in his view, entirely justified opposition.

Local Mejilis have already advised people to not take part in the formation of such a register, and if they fill out forms, to only give general information. Refat Chubarov says that the Mejilis of the Crimean Tatar people is not against a register to record the assistance provided by the State and local authorities to people repatriated, however this should be “a well-thought out and, most importantly, a legal process, since this way it’s not far off mass taking of fingerprints”. The Mejilis is hoping that the Crimean Prosecutor will soon appeal against this decision by the Crimean Government.

Volodymyr Prytula, www.radiosvoboda.org  (slightly adapted)

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