The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly recently approved a further revised draft resolution entitled "The Situation of Human Rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol (Ukraine)."
UNGA resolutions, like all UN resolutions, are not something that can stop Russia's war against Ukraine and bring back Crimea. But that does not mean that they have no meaning. On the contrary, they are important because they fix all the crimes committed by the Russian Federation, and, accordingly, provide arguments that allow to put forward certain demands to Russia.
If we analyze the extract from the new draft resolution on Crimea, a few interesting points can be singled out
If we analyze the extract from the new draft resolution on Crimea, a few interesting points can be singled out.
Firstly, it is once again noted that Crimea is part of Ukraine, but it is important that the document calls for international institutions to call the territory the "Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which is temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation." In the future, it makes it impossible for some international institution to oppose the position of most countries. And I am convinced that the resolution, as planned, will be voted in December, and it will become a certain marker for countries that will help them understand how to act on the issue.
Of course, there were those who voted against this resolution earlier. Here it is necessary to distinguish the position of Belarus, since recently, President of Ukraine visited the country, after which we were told a lot about this state being impartial and that it may well become the mediator between Ukraine and Russia, as well as participate in the peacekeeping mission, in the negotiations, and so on. But we saw how "impartial" Belarus was: it never supported decisions that were fundamentally important for Ukraine, including in March 2014, when during the UN General Assembly, the country voted against the territorial integrity of our state. Therefore, it must be remembered that Lukashenko's smiles and hugs are not apologies for his true behavior, so it's not worth relying on Belarus.
Secondly, it is important that in the draft resolution several names were noted of Ukrainian political prisoners. This is important because it exacerbates pressure exerted on Russia as regards the release of prisoners.
Thirdly, the occupation of Crimea is condemned as such, as well as the somewhat medieval behavior of a country which, while conquering foreign territories, forces local residents to fall under its jurisdiction. We are well aware that after Crimea was captured by Russia, conditions were created that made it impossible for locals to preserve their Ukrainian citizenship. That is, in fact, Russian citizenship was imposed on the local residents. In addition, the document condemns the involvement of Crimean residents in military operations.
In cities, there is an ongoing change of the composition of the local population by those coming to the peninsula from across Russia
Fourthly, the inadmissibility of changing the composition of the Crimean population is underlined. For example, the research by the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation proves that in Sevastopol to a greater extent and a little less in other cities, a change of composition is underway of the local population by those coming to the peninsula from across Russia.
According to our estimates, it is already about 170,000 people – this figure is higher than our UN envoy Yelchenko voiced because we took into account not only official data provided by the Russian Federation but also mediated data, for example, the amount of housing being built for the occupation authorities, the amount of mortgages given to the military servicemen and administrators of the occupiers, etc., as well as the information from our fellow citizens in Crimea, telling how much schools, kindergartens, and other institutions are loaded, which allows to see the real number of citizens.
Consequently, the new UN resolution will be important for fixing all of these crimes committed by Russia and, accordingly, exerting pressure on the aggressor state. Also, the document should oblige the UN Secretary-General to establish a certain system for monitoring its implementation. And then it will be possible to try to use the UN system in order to press on the Russian Federation, using the UN bureaucracy tools.
However, it is difficult to predict how the draft resolution may change, and what will be its final version.
Oleksandr Khara is an expert on foreign and security policy with the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation