Crimea: Russia continues to draft Crimean residents, UN report states

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Russian Federation Armed Forces have conscripted a record-high number of 3,300 local men from the occupied Crimea in its latest conscription campaign, a recent report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated.

With this latest figure, the total number drafted by the Russian Federation Armed Forces in Crimea during the occupation is reported to be at least 18,000 by Ukrainian media. It is also reported that some of the men conscripted were deployed to military bases across Russia. This includes conscripts drafted as part of this year's spring campaign as well as the previous drafts since 2017.

According to the OHCHR report, since 2017, 29 Crimean residents have been convicted of draft evasion, which is punishable up to two years imprisonment according to Russian law. This covers 4 men convicted in the first half of 2019, 22 in 2018, and 3 in 2017. Except one case in which the defendant was sentenced to a suspended prison term, all the other convicts were sentenced to fines ranging from RUB 5,000 to RUB 60,000 ($80-$902).

According to the international humanitarian law, “an occupying power is prohibited from compelling protected persons to serve in its armed or auxiliary forces or to exercise pressure or propaganda which aims at securing voluntary enlistment,” as stated in another OHCHR report on Crimea dated 2017. It means that the ongoing mandatory call-ups by the Russian state in Crimea are a violation of international humanitarian law. OHCHR highlights this point in its current report too and states “As an occupying Power, the Russian Federation must comply with international humanitarian law prohibiting the compulsion of protected persons to serve in its armed or auxiliary forces. No pressure or propaganda aimed at securing voluntary enlistment is permitted.”

Read the full report here.

Sources: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Report on the human rights situation in Ukraine 16 May to 15 August 2019, 17 September 2019; UNIAN Information Agency, UN reports on number of Ukrainians in Crimea forced to serve in Russian army, 17 September 2019; War Resisters' International, Crimea: UN Report highlights ongoing rights violations in Crimea, 11 October 2017.

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