Lithuania's FM calls on EU to condemn violation of rights of Crimean Tatars
On 15 April, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevicius sent a letter to the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini thanking her for a prompt statement by the European External Action Service, which condemned the filing of a request by the so-called Russian-appointed 'Prosecutor' to ban the activities of the Mejlis, a self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, and drew attention to the fact that there was a clear need for a common European reaction condemning the illegal decision that violated human rights.
The activities of the Mejlis were banned on April 13, while a meeting of the Executive Board of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars and the international conference dedicated to human rights violations in Crimea took place in Vilnius, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.
Linkevicius expressed concerns over the safety and security of the members of the Mejlis and their future activities in Crimea after the decision by the Russian occupation authorities to ban the activities of the Mejlis. According to the Foreign Minister, Lithuania regards this decision as politically motivated persecution and a step towards a new wave of repression against the Crimean Tatars who oppose the annexation of Crimea.
Lithuania's Foreign Minister also drew attention to the fact that the official website of the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania had come under cyber-attack on April 11 just as a special session of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars had started. It is assumed that the aim of the attack was to prevent foreign viewers from watching the proceedings of the World Tatar Congress online.
Read alsoMFA Ukraine condemns ban on Mejlis in occupied CrimeaLinkevicius expressed hope that the EU would unanimously condemn Russia's actions and urge the Kremlin to reverse its decision to ban the activities of the Mejlis.
The Mejlis, a self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, is elected in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.