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FANvoices | Ukraine

Crimea Platform: securing our common future

by Dmytro Voiuta, Muhammed Umerov, Kadyr Tataris, Alpbach 2017, 2018, 2019 alumni

 

While rules are designed to be followed, some will inevitably be broken. But what about international rules, better known as a part of the international order? Could international actors be allowed to apply them at their discretion?

The RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision-making, defines international order as the body of rules, norms, and institutions that govern relations among the players in the international environment. The international order is enshrined in the UN Charter and other key international agreements signed in the aftermath of World War II. It was built on the notion that all nations would be more secure if the international players bound themselves by a set of rules. These included the rule that sovereign states should respect the borders between them. And, of course, the international players that break these rules should be held accountable.

In 2014, the international order was threatened by the Russian Federation’s actions. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 68/262 was adopted on March 27, 2014, by the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to Russia’s attempt to annex Crimea and was entitled “Territorial integrity of Ukraine”. The resolution was supported by 100 United Nations member states and reaffirmed the General Assembly’s commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

During the last seven years, Russia deems these issues closed and non-negotiable.

Nevertheless, the illegal occupation of Crimea has been addressed on an ad hoc basis. The international players imposed sanctions in response to the so-called “elections” in Crimea, militarization, and illegal detentions of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. The situation in Crimea is on the agenda of international organizations, and relevant provisions have been included into the adopted resolutions and documents.

However, there is a need to elaborate a long-term strategic vision of the de-occupation of Crimea in the international arena. Similar to the European Forum Alpbach, which was created 76 years ago as an intellectual platform of discussion, where Europe’s cultural, scientific, and humanitarian heritage could be developed in a future-oriented way and where European integration could be promoted, we now resort to the creation of an international platform of discussion where the deliberations on the de-occupation of Crimea will take place and where international order could be restored.

The necessity to create the Crimea Platform came about in the process of addressing the consequences of Russia’s temporary occupation of the peninsula. These consequences range from violations of human rights, particularly Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, to mounting militarization, from environmental degradation to the stifling of trade in the Black and Azov Sea region.

First, it is in the international community’s interest to remedy the situation to restore the rules-based order and protect international law.

Second, the temporary occupation of Crimea and the activities of the occupation authorities in and around the peninsula have already sent shockwaves through the entire region and beyond.

That is why it is crucially important to bring international partners together to devise strategic responses to the challenges raised by the occupation of Crimea. This platform is an effort of Ukraine, as one of the founding members of the UN, to inspire the international community in improving international order and introduce a vision of a new international law system.

In order to secure a positive future for Europe and the world, we need to protect the international order based on the norms and principles of international law, including legal instruments designed after the Second World War to prevent future major international conflicts. We should care about the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the temporarily occupied Crimea.

 

Dmytro Voiuta

president of the NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach

Muhammed Umerov

Crimean Tatar activist, co-founder Q-hub – Crimean project and educational platform

Kadyr Tataris

Crimean Tatar activist, co-founder Q-hub – Crimean project and educational platform