Ukraine: Resolution requiring Russia to release Ukrainian political prisoners

During the roundtable meeting "Christian Education: Experience and Prospects" more than 50 religious and non-governmental organizations have adopted a Resolution requiring the Russian Federation to stop political persecution and immediately release all Ukrainian citizens imprisoned for political reasons in Russia and occupied Crimea, prisoners of war and civilian hostages in the occupied Donbass. The issue of the release of Ukrainian sailors has also been raised, The Institute for Religious Freedom reports.

Resolution on Ukrainian citizens illegally detained on the territory of the Russian Federation and in the occupied Crimea and Donbass
As a result of Russian Federation occupying the Crimea and starting the war in Donbas several hundreds of people were imprisoned, mostly because of their public nonviolent activities. Among them, there are: film director Oleg Sentsov, student Pavlo Hryb, human rights advocate Emir-Useiyin Kuku, a journalist from Donetsk Stanislav Asieiev, coordinator of Crimean Solidarity Server Mustafayev, farmer Volodymyr Balukh, university teacher Oleh Glaziuk and others.

All of them were either imprisoned by false charges in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea or kidnapped and thrown in vaults in the occupied Donbas. Their life and health is under serious threat, as most of them have become victims of tortures and violence, the access of independent lawyers to them was denied, they receive no effective medical aid, pastoral care, etc.

The Russian Federation demonstratively parries the requirements of international organizations regarding the release of political prisoners. Moreover, their number is constantly growing, while prosecution of civil activists in Crimea has become systematic. Just during two days in March, this year 24 civil activist were baselessly arrested and transferred to the Russian Federation.

The Russian Federation as well as ignoring the provisions of Minsk Agreements, according to which the prisoners of war and civil hostages in Donbas should be released without delay. Instead, some of them are waiting for release in complete isolation for over 4 years. Even the International Committee for the Red Cross has no access to most of them.

Taking into account all the above mentioned, the participants of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine state the necessity of full de-occupation of Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas as an assurance of stopping of flagrant violations of human rights, and address the Ukrainian authorities, UN member-states, European Union, international organizations, World Council of Churches and other inter-faith institutions with the following call to action:

1. To demand from Russian Federation to stop political prosecution and to immediately release all the Ukrainian citizens, imprisoned out of political motivation in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, prisoners of war and civil hostages in the occupied Donbas and 24 imprisoned Ukrainian sailors. Until that time to demand to ensure their rights and freedoms, such as freedom from tortures, right to an effective remedy, right to a fair trial, freedom of religion and unhindered access of clergymen and other human rights. Same demands are put forward as to the protection of rights of those people, who were imprisoned by court decisions before the occupation and who still remain in the occupied territories and we demand to transfer them to Ukraine immediately.

2. To appoint a Special Representative of the European Union for the occupied Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas. The powers and obligations of the EU Special Representative should include permanent control of the situation of human rights violation in the occupied Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas and regular public reporting to the Council of the European Union and European Parliament.

3. To demand from the Russian Federation to provide unhindered access to the occupied Ukrainian territories of Crimea and Donbas and people detained there for the international intergovernmental organizations, such as UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission, OSCE Mission on Observance of Human Rights in Crimea, Commissioner for Human Rights, other conventional and institutional mechanisms of the Council of Europe, etc., and for the international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee for the Red Cross.

4. To initiate constant monitoring of trials of political prosecution victims in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea and to continue the practice of European Union member states diplomats participation in court hearings that take part on the territory of Russian Federation. To organizemissions, involving independent medical workers access to the citizens of Ukraine, who are being detained in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea out of political motivation to control the conditions of detention and health.

5. To appoint a Commissioner for the President of Ukraine on Humanitarian Affairs to work on the release of Ukrainian citizens, illegally imprisoned at the territory of Russian Federation, occupied Crimea and Donbas, and to create the Coordination Council for the President of Ukraine on Hostages Protection and Release.

The Resolution was adopted 25 July 2019 in Kyiv by the participants of the Religious Freedom Roundtable listed below:
І. Churches and religious organizations
1. Orthodox Church of Ukraine
2. Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
3. Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine
4. All-Ukrainian Union of the Churches of Evangelical Christians-Baptists
5. Ukrainian Pentecostal Church
6. Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ukraine
7. Ukrainian Christian Evangelical Church
8. Ukrainian Free Church
9. Union of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine
10. Religious Administration of Muslims of Ukraine
11. Ukrainian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church
12. Ukrainian Lutheran Church
13. Ukrainian Bible Society
14. German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine
15. All-Ukrainian Congress of Judaic Religious Communities
16. Center of Independent Charismatic Christian Churches of Ukraine (Full Gospel)
17. Religious Administration of Muslims of Crimea
18. “Umma” Religious Administration of Muslims of Ukraine
19. Missionary Union of Evangelical Communities of Ukraine
20. Brotherhood of Independent Churches and Mission Evangelical Baptist Christians of Ukraine
21. Victory Center of Christian Evangelical Churches of Ukraine
22. Mission Eurasia
23. Association of Missionary Churches of Evangelical Christians of Ukraine
24. Good News God’s Church in Slavyansk

ІІ. Human rights defending and non-governmental organizations
1. Institute for Religious Freedom
2. Center for Civil Liberties
3. Institute of Geopolitical Dimension
4. Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
5. Association of Jewish organizations and communities of Ukraine (Va’ad)
6. Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine
7. Eleos-Ukraine NGO
8. International charitable foundation Caritas Ukraine
9. “Dialogue In Action” Project
10. Christian Lawyers Association of Ukraine
11. Christian Rescue Service NGO
12. Crimean Human Rights Group
13. Zmina Center for Human Rights
14. Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
15. Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights
16. Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives
17. “Hushai” Association of Christian Lawyers NGO
18. Council of Peace Initiatives NGO
19. Euromaidan Press NGO
20. Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin
21. All-Ukrainian Association of Captives
22. "Release from captivity" Organization of Families of ORDLO Hostages
23. “Bereginya” All-Ukrainian Union of Mothers and Relatives of ATO Participants
24. Institute of State and Church
25. "Hope" All-Ukrainian Association of Families of the Missing and Killed
26. Coming Back Home NGO
27. Blue Bird NGO
(Quelle: www.risu.org.ua, 15. August 2019)

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