RIGA - Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Unity), Latvian parliament speaker Inara Murniece (National Alliance) and the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on human rights and public affairs, Inese Laizane (National Alliance), voiced support to the rights of Crimean Tatars during the meetings with Refat Chubarov, the leader of Crimean Tatars, in Riga today.
Latvia will continue standing up for the Crimean Tatars' rights and will speak up for keeping the matter high on the international agenda, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Unity) said today during the meeting with Refat Chubarov, the leader of Crimean Tatars.
He said that Latvia will speak up for keeping the matter high on the international agenda and will urge to condemn the application in the Crimean territory of the legislation of Russia as an occupying power and persistent restrictions on the fundamental rights of the Crimean population.
Latvia remains firm in the non-recognition of the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and strongly advocates Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the foreign minister said.
He noted that Latvia has been closely following the human rights situation in Crimea and voices concern at the negative trend, especially the restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms of Crimean Tatars observed since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia.
Rinkevics called on the leader of Crimean Tatars to continue providing information to international organisations concerning the situation of Crimean Tatars and human rights violations in Crimea.
Chubarov expressed appreciation of Latvia's position on the issue of the annexation of Crimea and thanked Latvia for its support for Ukraine. The leader of the Crimean Tatars also informed the Latvian foreign minister about developments in Crimea and Ukraine. Chubarov voiced particular concern about human rights violations targeting Crimean Tatars, members of the opposition, human rights activists, journalists and lawyers, who are arbitrarily detained and persecuted.
The Latvian parliament speaker and the members of the human rights committee also assured Chubarov of Latvia's strong support to Ukraine's territorial integrity and continued practical assistance to the Ukrainian people. The Latvian lawmakers expressed concerns about the human rights situation in Crimea after its illegal annexation by Russia, the Latvia parliament's press service said.
"The principle of inviolability of the national borders is sacred and must be observed at all times. Latvia has always supported Ukraine. We do not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and never will," said Murniece.
Latvia is Ukraine's friend, as demonstrated also by practical cooperation, she said, mentioning trips by Ukrainian children to Latvia and medical treatment of Ukrainian soldiers here. It was on the Latvian initiative that the parliament speakers of the Baltic states and Nordic countries visited Kiev in February 2016, demonstrating the region's solidarity with Ukraine.
Laizane also stressed that the conflict in Ukraine may not disappear from the international agenda. The fight for national independence can be long, as shown also by Latvia's experience, she said.
During the meeting with the Latvian lawmakers, Chubarov again thanked Latvia for its significant support to Ukraine, including through the efforts to keep the matter on the European agenda.