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UN mission in Ukraine has no powers to assess situation in Crimea, diplomats note

In spite of more than convincing results of the referendum, the US and the EU still refuse to recognize the results of the voting

GENEVA, September 25. /TASS/. UN mission monitoring human rights in Ukraine has no powers to assess the situation in the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol, the two constituent territories of the Russian Federation, and that is why its materials and conclusions on the situation in Crimea have no legitimacy, a senior diplomat at Russia’s mission to the international organizations in Geneva told TASS on Monday.

The comments followed a report claiming deterioration in the sphere of human rights in Crimea.

The report is based on the presumption that Crimea and Sevastopol, where the overwhelming majority of residents voted for reunification with Russia in a referendum in 2014, is an occupied region of Ukraine. Proceeding from this stance, the authors of the document invoke provisions of the international law that apply to temporarily occupied territories.

"It’s noteworthy recalling that the report was drafted by the UN mission for monitoring human rights in Ukraine, which is operating there in line with a bilateral agreement between the Ukrainian government and the OHCHR," the diplomat said. "I think it’s a plainly absurd situation when the mission for human rights in Ukraine assesses a situation in the constituent territories of Russia."

"It’s clear as daylight the report and the resolution of the UN General Assembly that contained a request for drafting it don’t have legitimacy, since Resolution 71/205 didn’t rally support of the majority of the UN member-states," the interlocutor told TASS.

"This document [the resolution] stands at variance with the principles of international law," he said.

The 48-page report alleges "grave human rights violations" have taken place on the Crimean Peninsula after its people decide to sever allegiances to Ukraine and to reunify with Russia.

The report contains twenty recommendations to the Russian government, "urging it to respect its obligations as an occupying power, uphold human rights for all and effectively investigate" the alleged crimes "involving members of the security forces and Crimean self-defense."

Pursuant to the underlying assumption that Crimea is a temporarily occupied territory, the report "[…] highlights the severe impact of judicial and law enforcement changes introduced under Russian occupation".

As a supposed instance of this, it mentions "[…] the arbitrary implementation of Russian Federation criminal law provisions designed to fight terrorism, extremism and separatism […]."

"There is an urgent need for accountability for human rights violations and abuses and for providing the victims with redress," UN High Commissioner for Human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein said.

The document admits that it "[…] was drafted on the basis of interviews, monitoring and fact-finding missions conducted from mainland Ukraine […]" and not upon the results of any activities rights inside Crimea.

On March 16, 2014, the authorities of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol held a referendum on the issue of reunification with Russia after an interval of 60 years. More than 80% of registered voters came to the polls and of that number, 96.7% in Crimea and 95.6% in Sevastopol voted in favor of reunification.

On March 18, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty on accession of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, and both houses of Russian parliament ratified it on March 21.

In spite of more than convincing results of the referendum, Kiev and its outside supporters, primarily the US and the EU, refuse to recognize the results of voting.