International Human Rights Day and The Crimean Tatars
Once again, on December 10, 2000, we commemorate the International Human Rights Day. As Crimean Tatars, on this important day, we hoped and wished to report that some progress has been made in restoring our national and human rights, which were blatantly violated on May 18,1944. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
On the aforementioned day, the entire Crimean Tatar nation was brutally uprooted from their ancestral homeland (by the Soviet authorities) for their alleged cooperation with the occupying Nazi forces. It is a fact that during World War II, most of the able bodied Crimean Tatars were serving in the Soviet armed forces, defending their Soviet motherland. It is also a fact, that during the war the Crimean Tatars were also severely punished and mistreated by the German occupation forces.* Even though the Crimean Tatar people were totally exonerated by the Soviet Government's decree of September 5,1967, the plight of the Crimean Tatars continues as I write these lines. Even though the two arch enemies Russia and Germany, the two nations (Russia directly and Germany indirectly) responsible for the mass deportation of our people, developed friendly relations since the disintegration of the Soviet Empire, the Crimean Tatars still remain without a homeland. Despite all the political progress made in the past decade, the Crimean Tatar nation still remains as a divided nation. We, the Crimean Tatars are deeply saddened that more than half of our total population still remains in their place of exile, mostly in Uzbekistan, while the Russia and Germany continue to enjoy a friendly political-economic relationship.
Therefore, on this important day, the International Human Rights Day, we, once again appeal to world public to support the Crimean Tatar people in their peaceful struggle to regain their human and national rights. We also appeal to Government of Germany to grant the same recognition and support to the Crimean Tatar nation as she did to the Russian nation. We would like to emphasize strongly that the now defunct Soviet government unjustly punished our people for their alleged collaboration with the occupying German forces during World War II.
SUPPORT US IN OUR PEACEFUL STRUGGLE TO JOIN THE COMMUNITY OF NATIONS!
Mubeyyin Batu Altan
* Please see the attached list of Crimean Tatar villages destroyed by the Nazi Forces, prepared by Fikret Yurter, the President of the Crimea Foundation in New York. Mr. Yurter compiled this list through interviews with the Crimean Tatars who returned to Crimea from exile in Uzbekistan. The destruction caused by the Nazis is also documented by Alexandr M. Nekrich in a highly informative work on deportation of nationalities, The Punished People. He quotes Dr. Edige Kirimal: "Toward the end of occupation, in December 1943 and January 1944, the Germans burned down and destroyed 128 mountain villages in the southern and northern Crimea. In January 1944 the inhabitants of Argin, Baksan, and Kazal - the Crimean Tatar villages burned to the ground by the Germans - together with the inhabitants of Efendikoi, Kutur, and Neiman - Russian villages similarly burned - fled into the hills to join the partisans." (pp.23-24)
Crimean Tatar Villages
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ICC, P.O.Box 15078, Washington, DC 20003