On 1 October the informational meeting of UNESCO Deputy Director General Nicolas Kassianides and the permanent representatives of the state- members was held in headquarters in Paris to discuss the monitoring of the situation in the occupied Crimea. The meeting, held for the seventh time drew an increased attention of more than 100 representatives of the state-members permanent missions, accredited to UNESCO and the officials of the Secretariat.
In his report Nicolas Kassianides emphasized the activity UNESCO aimed at the direct monitoring of UNESCO legal framework violations by Russia in the annexed peninsula to be implemented. Nicolas Kassianides is an official contact person of the Organization on implementation of complex monitoring in Crimea, highly appreciated the partnership with Ukraine relating this issue and stressed on the importance of the tasks faced UNESCO in this context. He noted that it was the first time for the Secretariat to deal with a such scale and complexity challenge.
The intention of UNESCO Secretariat was highlighted to realize the first phase of the monitoring of the situation in AR Crimea and Sevastopol, based on the parameters, developed with the Ukrainian side during the several rounds of consultations. As the speakers at the meeting were the representatives of the institutional UNESCO partners – offices of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Representative of OSCE on Freedom of the Media, International Secretariat ICOMOS, non-governmental Human Rights Organization «Amnesty International».
The speakers presented a detailed information on current situation within the competence of UNESCO, stressing on its significant deterioration since the previous reports. In particular, the representatives of the partners’ institutions gave the examples of human rights violations to freedom of belief, freedom of press and expression, security of journalists, persecution of national minorities, access to education in native language etc.
The Ambassador of Ukraine in France, Permanent Representative of UNESCO in Ukraine Oleg Shamshur informed on significant deterioration of the situation in the peninsula in all areas within the competence of Organization. Oleg Shamshur noted the existence of all necessary preconditions for the mechanism of direct monitoring of the situation in Crimea to be implemented and called on to use the results of the monitoring in order to influence on the Human Rights situation in the occupied peninsula. Furthermore, a continued commitment of Ukraine to strengthen cooperation in this area was noted.
Among the participants of the discussion was the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Lithuania to UNESCOIrena Vaišvilaitė, who on behalf of 30 countries, most of them are the EU state- members as well as Australia, Canada, Georgia, Iceland, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway and the USA confirmed their continued support of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the context of UN General Assembly. Concern was expressed with the worsening situation in the fields of UNESCO’s competence and the need to implement decisions of the Executive Council of the Organization on ensuring appropriate monitoring of Human Rights situation in the peninsula.
Besides, the Permanent Representative of Turkey to UNESCO A. Chengizer expressed the concern of his country over the worsened situation in ARC and Sevastopol, particularly regarding the numerous violations of Crimean Tatars’ Rights. In addition, unacceptability of destruction of cultural and religious Crimean Tatars’ heritage was stressed, by reference to Khan’s Place in Bakhchisaray.