March 18 marks the seventh anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea- a blatant violation of international law.
We condemn Russia’s illegal annexation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and call on Russia to reverse this act.
Norway reiterates its strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including the Crimean Peninsula, and adjoining territorial waters.
Let me highlight three issues in addition to the Nordic statement that will be delivered later:
First, Norway is concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea as documented by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; including arbitrary persecutions, detentions, enforced disappearances, and forced conscription. Any dissenting voices appear to be at risk, whether they belong to journalists, human rights defenders, civil society actors, or others. With, Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians being particularly targeted. We stress that regional and international human rights monitoring mechanisms must be given unimpeded access to Crimea, and non-governmental human rights organizations must be permitted to operate.
Second, Linguistic and cultural rights, as well as religious freedoms, must be protected. We call for the restoration of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars, as ordered by the International Court of Justice.
And third, Norway condemns: the ongoing militarization of the Crimean Peninsula, the presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian territory, and the resulting environmental impact from the large increase in military personnel. We are concerned by Russia’s military activities in Crimea, as well as the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. It exacerbates tensions in the region, and impedes lawful navigational rights and freedoms.
The Russian Federation continues to violate the Helsinki Final Act, and fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter. Norway does not, and will not, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea.
We join our European and other partners in affirming that our non-recognition policy, and restrictive measures against Russia will remain in place until Russia fully reverses its illegal annexation of Crimea.
We welcome this meeting and other initiatives aimed at keeping Russia’s occupation, and illegal annexation of Crimea, high on the international agenda.