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Civil society takes joint efforts to release hostages from Russia and the occupied Crimea and Donbas

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Religious and public figures, human rights activists and relatives of hostages and political prisoners agreed to cooperate with aim to release Ukrainian citizens, who remain illegally detained in Russia and in the occupied Crimea and Donbas as a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

During the second Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine, which took place on 25 July 2019 in Kyiv, the issues on further cooperation were discussed and the practical steps were developed, ReligiousFreedom.in.ua reports.

This time the topic of the meeting was: “Civil society joining efforts to release the citizens of Ukraine illegally confined in Russia and in the occupied Crimea and Donbas.” The Roundtable was organized in the partnership with the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Center for Civil Liberties with the support of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews.

More than 80 participants took part in the event. Among them there were the representatives of NGOs advocating for Ukrainian warriors; relatives of hostages, political prisoners, and of those who went missing and suffered death, as well as clergymen, human rights advocates, experts, officials from the National Police of Ukraine and the Office of Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, representatives of the embassies and international organizations. 

Irina Semenyaka

Irina Semenyaka

As the result of the discussion, the Resolution on Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia and in the occupied Crimea and Donbas was adopted, which provides for a number of practical recommendations for Ukrainian state’s leadership as well, as the international society, such as:
To demand from Russian Federation to stop political prosecution and to immediately release all the Ukrainian citizens, imprisoned out of political motivation in Russia 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 and other human rights.
Same demands were put forward by the participants of the Roundtable 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. The Resolution demands to transfer them to Ukraine immediately.   
To appoint a Special Representative of the European Union on the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbas. The powers and obligations of the Special Representative should include permanent control of the situation of human rights violation in the occupied territories of Crimea and Donbas and regular public reporting to the Council of the European Union and European Parliament.  
The Resolution as well calls upon the international community to set a demand to the Russian Federation to provide unhindered access to the occupied 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.  
Irina Semenyaka

Irina Semenyaka
Institute for Religious Freedom
irs.in.ua

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