Press release

Criminalization of Crimean Tatars Deepens Human Rights Crisis

Russia's Supreme Court upheld the banning of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and designated it as an “extremist organization."


Following the Russian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the banning of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and designate it as an “extremist organization,” Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The court ruling against the Mejlis is an endorsement of the wholesale repression and persecution of indigenous people in Crimea,” said Daniel Calingaert, acting president. “Russian authorities can now prosecute virtually all Crimean Tatar people inside the peninsula for their cultural, social, and political activities — a travesty of justice that is the latest human rights abuse in Crimea.”

In April 2016, the Russian Justice Ministry suspended the Crimean Tatars' highest ruling body, the Mejlis, citing "extremist activities." On September 29, 2016, Russia’s Supreme Court upheld the ban, adding the Mejlis to the list of “extremist organizations.”

Crimea is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016 and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016