It is forbidden to force people in occupied areas to swear allegiance to an occupying state /érémy LARROQUE

Ukrainians who have been illegally detained in the territory of the Russian Federation and the temporarily occupied Crimea were forced to vote for amendments to the constitution of the occupying state, says Verkhovna Rada Human Rights Commissioner Liudmyla Denisova.

The Ombudsperson shared on Facebook the information she received that administrations of penitentiary facilities had forced Ukrainian political prisoners to participate in an all-Russian vote, since Russian government perceives them as Russian citizens.

At the same time, Denisova noted, psychological pressure was applied against those who initially refused to cast ballots.

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In accordance with Article 45 of the IV Convention on the laws and customs of the land war and its annex, "The Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land" of 1907, it is forbidden to force people in the occupied territories to swear allegiance to the occupying state.

Read alsoUkraine pushes for international sanctions against Russia over vote on Constitution in Crimea

Also, as the Ombudsperson added, Part 4 Article 5 of Law of April 15, 2014, on Ensuring the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and the Legal Regime in the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine, clearly defines that the forced automatic acquisition by citizens of Ukraine who reside in the temporarily occupied territory of Russian citizenship shall not be recognized by Ukraine and is not a basis for losing citizenship.

"I consider coercion to citizenship another type of repressive policy of the Russian Federation towards citizens of Ukraine under occupation. I urge representatives of international human rights organizations to apply all levers of influence available to force the aggressor state to comply with international humanitarian law and cease repression of citizens of Ukraine, who became victims of occupation," said Denisova.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on July 1, the main voting took place in the Russian Federation on amendments to the Constitution that would allow President Vladimir Putin to be reelected at least two more times as  the count of his presidential terms is being reset.