“Today marks the 74th anniversary of the forced deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet authorities in 1944. On this day, we remember the tragic loss of life and tremendous suffering endured by the hundreds of thousands of children, women and men who were displaced from their ancestral homeland. Canada will never forget the tragedies of the past and will continue to speak out in defence of human rights and a rules-based order in Crimea and elsewhere.
“In December 2017, I attended the 24th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna, Austria, where I met with Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem Chiygoz, deputy chairmen of the Mejlis — the governing body of the Crimean Tatars — to discuss what Canada can do to better support their community. They conveyed the heartbreaking stories — but also the remarkable courage and resilience — of the Crimean Tatar people who continue to speak out in support of a free and democratic Ukraine.
“We are unreserved in our condemnation of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and are concerned by the deteriorating human rights in the Crimean peninsula under continued Russian occupation. Canada denounces the banning of the Mejlis, and expects Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.”
“Canada will continue to work closely with the Crimean Tatar community to find concrete ways to support and protect their human rights, and to address all ongoing human rights issues in Crimea.”