2014-04-01 15:38:18 - Wednesday 9 April 2014
17:00 – 19:00
Altiero Spinelli Building, Room A5F385
European Parliament, Brussels
1 April 2014, Brussels – Nearly a month ago, Russia invaded the Crimean peninsula under the pretext of defending minority rights. In the subsequent days, the concept of self-determination was given a new meaning. On the 16th of March a local referendum was held in Crimea, which enabled Russia to annex the autonomous Crimean region to its territory. The European Union and the United States punished this action by imposing sanctions, but the question is whether Crimea and its inhabitants are worth the fight?
Different ethnic groups in Crimea have demonstrated their reluctance to becoming part of Russia. Especially the Crimean Tatars, who make up 12% of the peninsula’s population, fear a repetition of the historic injustice that took place
under Stalin, given their pro-Ukrainian and pro-European attitude. Decades of negotiations with the Ukrainian government about accommodating minority rights have now vanished under the pretext of that same concept the Crimean Tatars and others were fighting for: the right to self-determination.
A matter of international peace and security, the Crimean crisis raises new questions about minority protection and the concept of self-determination. With a view to addressing these issues, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) will be convening a conference at the European Parliament in Brussels.
The conference will seek to analyze the situation of ethnic minorities in Ukraine before and after the outbreak of the current political crisis, giving special attention to the case of the Crimean Tatars. It will furthermore explore the role of the international community, notably the European Union, in contributing to a peaceful settlement of the crisis and enhanced minority protection.