IRF - Institute for Religious Freedom, Kyiv, Ukraine

OSCE Mission recorded significant restrictions of religious freedom in Crimea PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 14:37

Credit: radiosvoboda.org
 
Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, who openly support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and do not support the de facto authorities of the Crimea, are in the especially vulnerable situation.

This is stated in the Report of the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, which was published on September 17, 2015, reports the Institute for Religious Freedom.

Re-registration requirements by the Russian Federation for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), media outlets, and religious organizations have reportedly been leveraged against those opposed to Russian rule, significantly restricting freedom of association, constricting the space for civil society, and decimating the number of independent voices in the media landscape.

The OSCE Mission’s Report also states that religious community with the status of legal entities have to re-register in compliance with Russian law to be eligible to carry on with their activities – to rent premises, to hire staff or invite foreigners to participate in religious events.
 
At the time of the first extended deadline, Russian authorities reported that only 60 religious organizations (including 9 communities) had successfully re-registered under Russian law. Following the second extended deadline, OHCHR reported that fewer than 200 religious communities had applied for re-registration, and that still only 51 of them had yet been successful as of 8 May 2015 (excluding the 9 religious communities).

By 10 August 2015, the website of the Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation listed as registered in the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol a total of 53 local religious organizations (excluding any communities registered under Moscow-based legal entities through the simplified procedure).
 
By excluding thousands of NGOs, media and religious organizations from operating in Crimea (including based on citizenship of founders), under the auspices of mandatory re-registration requirements, de facto authorities have also set the table for violations of other interrelated human rights and fundamental freedoms.
 
 
The pressure on Crimean Tatar religious organizations exhibits a clear pattern of increasing and subsiding periods. From June to September 2014, the de facto Crimean law-enforcement bodies conducted searches in mosques and madrassas (Islamic schools) across the peninsula and interrogated dozens of Crimean Tatars suspected of possession of banned extremist materials or of affiliation with religious organizations banned under Russian Federation legislation, such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Many of these searches took places in mosques and madrassas that belong to the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Crimea (DUMK).

Full text about situation with religious freedom in Crimea from the Report of the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea is available on the web-site of the Institute for Religious Freedom.
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