Before the start of the The Second Parliamentary Summit of the Crimea Platform held in Prague, ombuds and representatives of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from more than sixty countries around the world met at an online conference entitled "The Battle for Crimea — The Battle for Human Rights". The Ukrainian Ombudsman — Commissioner for Human Rights of the Ukrainian Parliament — Dmytro Lubynets asked his Czech counterpart, Ombudsman Stanislav Křecek, to co-organize the conference. Together with the participants, they discussed current problems and human rights violations in occupied Crimea.
"The Czech Republic has traditionally been home to a large Ukrainian minority. That is why, already after the occupation of Crimea and especially following the Russian aggression last year, large numbers of Ukrainian residents have come and are still coming to us. I am glad that the Czech Republic has been able to provide them with safety and assistance," said Ombudsman Stanislav Křeček in his opening speech.
He also described his institution's involvement in helping the newcomers. In addition to volunteering at the assistance centres (KACPU), lawyers from the Ombudsman's Office have also trained social and community workers in cooperation with the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration. In information materials and videos in Ukrainian ombudsman informed newcomers about the assistance offered by the Czech Republic as well as about his possibilities to provide help, advice or assitance.
In individual cases, the ombudsman deals mainly with problems regarding the granting of temporary protection. "We have encountered cases of people coming from Crimea who have not been granted international protection by the Czech authorities, because they had Russian citizenship as well. We successfully discussed this with the Ministry of the Interior. The Ministry assured us similar cases should not happen again," Stanislav Křeček told the conference participants.
Ukrainian Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets introduced examples of human rights violations in Crimea, in particular the detention and illegal imprisonment of Ukrainian citizens on the peninsula. On the other hand, according to the Ukrainian ombudsman, deportation and displacement of Ukrainians is also taking place. At the conference, he therefore appealed to his ombuds counterparts from various countries to help Ukraine return home all deported, illegally displaced Ukrainian children, civilian hostages and prisoners of war.
Among others, Nasheli Ramirez Hernandez, Chair of the Mexico City Human Rights Commission and Regional President of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) for the Caribbean and Latin America, expressed her solidarity with Ukraine at the conference. Chris Field, Australian Ombudsman and President of the IOI, and Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman of the United Kingdom, assured their full support for the conference, which the Ukrainian Ombudsman will be hosting in Kiev on the eve of Human Rights Day on 7 and 8 December.